Re: diagramming vocatives

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Thu Apr 29 1999 - 14:54:14 EDT

Micheal W. Palmer wrote:
> Perhaps I can state my point more clearly from a different angle. All
> vocatives refer to the addressee. The fact that the addressee is sometimes
> also the referent of a different word or phrase--one which does have a
> syntactic function (subject, object, adverbial, adnominal) within the
> clause--does not imply to me that the vocative has a syntactic function
> different from any other vocative. Take your example from Luke 1:3., for
> example. KRATISTE QEOFILE refers to the addressee as would any other
> vocative. The fact that SOI also refers to the addressee does not change
> the syntactic function of KRATISTE QEOFILE. It does create the interesting
> semantic relationship of a coreferrence between KRATISTE QEOFILE and SOI.


I think a few more words on this may serve to clarify the point of
difference here.

The question seems to come down to the distinction between a semantic
category and a syntactic category. Rather than try an answer this
question I will ask another question.

Is "direct object" a category of syntax or semantics?

Not so fast!! Stop and think about it.

The direct object of a NT Greek clause can be encoded (morphologically)
in several different ways. So how can we define the direct object?
Well, we end up saying something like "it is the recipient of the action
described in the main verb." At this point "direct object" is being
defined in terms of semantic function so why do we call it a category of

The whole point of this is to cast some doubt on the notion that there
is a neat and clean line of demarcation between semantic and syntactical

Now back to vocatives. If a vocative functions to limit or define some
constituent within a clause then why do we say that the vocative has no
syntactical function in that clause?

You will no doubt answer that the vocative does NOT limit or define the
constituent but is mearly coreferential with the same constituent. At
this point in the discussion we do reach an impasse, so let us leave it
as such.

I think if we go any further with this we will just start repeating
ourselves and recovering the same ground to no advantage.

Thanks Micheal,

You always force me to think about what I am doing which is why we are
on this list isn't it.

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

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