Re: Bible Windows - mostly off topic

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sun May 14 2000 - 21:16:24 EDT

Hello Carl,

Does his thread seem a little familiar to you?

Does me.

on 05/14/00 3:01 PM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

> My one big question, Clay, regarding the sort of database that you
> envision: do you think that there's enough consensus regarding a
> "Functional" approach to grammar?

Probably not a whole lot of consensus.

I am currently reading Simon C. Dik "Functional Grammar", (3d ed. 1981)
because Randall Buth recommended it. Anyway this is my first exposure to
"Functional Grammar" as an academic theory. However, many of these ideas are
not new to me. I absorbed the essential ideas of "functionalism" working in
a systems architecture group in the late 80's.

> I know how you despise theory,

Not at all. Theory is great.

> but do you
> think a "Functional" approach to grammar that is independent of theory is
> in plain view somewhere or even on the horizon?

I don't think you will ever get beyond morphology without embracing some
sort of theoretical model. I don't see anything wrong with embracing such a
model. Even the existing tools embrace a theoretical model but since it has
been around for several millennia we don't think of it as theoretical model
any more.

Building a database according to a model which is likely to be defunct
before you get the database finished is a problem which is always raised in
these discussions. But what are the alternatives? The alternative is to
keep on limiting ourselves to the analysis of the first two layers in the
communication model (i.e., phonology, morphology ) and ignoring the higher
layers including syntax (syntactical functions), semantics, and pragmatics.

For the purposes of exegesis the top layers are where the big payoff comes.
The fact that no one is willing to "risk" building a database for these
higher layers of the communication model means that we must do all of our
analysis at these higher levels the same way A. T. Robertson did before we
had personal computers. We must do it manually. This means we will have a
great deal of trouble finding the time to look for significant patterns at
these higher levels across a large corpus.

I know there are people building databases for research projects which
include information in the semantic and pragmatic layers. But I suspect that
these databases are not general purpose enough to be useful for mass
distribution, otherwise they would have been packaged and marketed with one
of the leading products.

Enough on this topic.

We have been around this barn before several times.

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

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