[b-greek] Semantic Minimalism?

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sun Jun 25 2000 - 17:15:32 EDT

In today's discussion of EN TWi ONOMATI MOU I used a term which may not be
familiar to some of the new list members.

What is Semantic Minimalism?

It is an axiom* which probably cannot be proven. However Semantic Minimalism
is assumed by a fair number of linguists to be a valid starting point for
doing semantic analysis in natural languages.

Semantic Minimalism:

The semantic contribution of any constituent to its context will be the
LEAST required by that context.

This applies to all kinds of constituents, not just words but also markers
for case, aspect, number, time, person, etc. and at higher level phrase,
clause and paragraph level constituents.

This principle seems to be well understood by some people in the realm of
lexical semantics but then they seem to completely forget it when the get
into the semantics of the case system or the verb aspectual system or when
discussing the used of relational words like prepositions, particles, etc.

Like I said at the beginning, Semantic Minimalism is an axiom* and you will
be hard put to find an extended defense of it in the NT Greek literature. So
there is probably little to be gained by arguing about it. If you reject the
axiom then you will probably end up going in the direction of
"fat semantics" which is the standard fare in expository and theological
dictionaries and also in the most popular first year grammars and a number
of intermediate grammars.

"Fat semantics" is what you will find reading most any semi-technical and
popular level works on NT studies. It is the mainstream approach to NT

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

*If someone thinks they have a proof for Semantic Minimalism I am all ears.

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