Discourse Spans (hierarchy)

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sun Mar 07 1999 - 16:02:28 EST

Richard Young (intermediate NT Greek, p252) lists four types of
discourse spans: grammatical, lexical, informational and teleological.
I have one little problem with this list. I don't think the members of
the list are the same sort of thing. I would suggest reworking the list
by grouping informational and teleological spans separately from
grammatical and lexical spans. What is the point? Who cares?

I think that discourse structure is primarily semantic. For this reason
I would say that the best place to start searching for a discourse span
is in the realm of information and teleology. However, the
implementation of a span in NT Greek will involve markers at the
grammatical and lexical levels. These markers serve to set off the
boundaries between topic (informational) and purpose (teleological)
spans in the discourse.

What I am suggesting is a differentiation between what is used to mark a
span (grammatical and lexical markers) and what actually identifies the
substance of the span, information and teleology. I think what is
called for is some sort of hierarchy which represents this distinction.

In the actual performance of discourse analysis I would choose to look
first for groupings at the informational and teleological level and then
ask myself how have grammatical and lexical markers been used to set off
these groupings. I have tried to illustrate this in my pervious posts on
discourse structure in Luke.

Additional note:

Both Richard Young and Stanley Porter (Idioms) spend most of their time
talking about the first two categories (grammatical and lexical) because
these are most obviously connected with Greek Grammar which is the
subject of their books (and b-greek). However, I think that spans at
the informational and teleological level must be considered when talking
about how discourse is marked in NT Greek, otherwise we end up
overlooking the question of what these grammatical and lexical markers
are doing.

There may be one or two people on this list which will appreciate this
point. For the rest of you, reach up with the little finger of your
right hand to your favorite key.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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