[b-greek] Re: Word Order and Zero Anaphora

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Thu Oct 05 2000 - 16:24:18 EDT

A few additional observations. I don't think T. Givon is really suggesting
using bound verb morphology for compiling statistics on word order in Hebrew
or any other language such as NT Greek. Givon's main discussion of this
(pages 228-237) demonstrates how diachronic change can be used to explain
the statistical relationships between prefix or suffix verb morphology and
other patterns in clause constituent order.

Therefore the objection I raised is not really a criticism of T. Givon. It
would be a straw man objection since he isn't doing what I object to.
However it is still an intriguing question.


on 10/05/00 11:49 AM, clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:

> Givon* in his discussion of word order typology language universals suggests
> that the position of the pronominal inflection on a verb can be taken into
> consideration when discussing word order typology. His illustration is from
> Biblical Hebrew, where he contrasts the the prefix and suffix forms of the
> verb and seems to consider these as examples of SV and VS word order.
> If we were to take this idea over into Koine Greek where pronominal verb
> inflection is always appended to the end of the word this would have some
> serious ramifications for our understanding of the "unmarked" clause order
> in Greek.
> In other words, if we are doing statistics on VS and SV word order and every
> occurrence of zero anaphora** would count as an example of VS word order
> then this would have a big impact on our statistics.
> I have some serious reservations about this procedure. I question the use of
> verb morphological marking as a means of testing word order typology. It may
> be that there is some diachronic aspect of this problem I am not aware of.
> Perhaps pronominal verb suffixes were once independent words that became
> fused with the verb. However, this would not really change my mind on this
> subject even if it were true. I still think that looking at Hebrew or Greek
> pronominal inflections on the verb as word order "data" is wrong headed.
> S.E. Porter (Idioms, p292-3) alludes to this problem but does not really
> discuss it.
> --
> Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
> Three Tree Point
> P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062
> *page 218 #58 in:
> Givon, Talmy. Syntax: A Functional-Typological Introduction, (vols. 1)
> Benjamins, Amsterdam, 1984.
> **zero anaphora: A clause where the subject of the verb is ONLY indicated by
> the pronominal verb inflection, not by an independent pronoun, article or
> full noun phrase.

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