From: clayton stirling bartholomew (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Oct 06 2000 - 02:18:19 EDT
Just a few more comments on this.
on 10/05/00 9:08 PM, Wayne Leman wrote:
> . . . it is not necessary, of
> course, to have an underlying word order to detect what is clause-initial.
> That much is quite simple.
A clause initial what? If the main verb is clause initial do we say that it
is filling the pragmatic "slot" in clause initial position? I don't think
so. If the main verb is clause initial in a Koine Greek clause we say that
the pragmatic "slot" in clause initial position empty or null. This is in a
sense assuming what we are trying to prove, I will admit, but lets drop that
issue and digresses a bit shall we?
Keep in mind that when I talk about marked and unmarked word order patterns
that I am not just thinking SV or VS or SVO or VSO or VO or OV. I am also
thinking about pragmatic patterns as well.
For example, if we say that Old Information (OI) normally precedes New
Information (NI) then we are making a statement about an unmarked word order
relative to pragmatic function. If the unmarked pattern in Koine Greek is
OI -> NI then a clause which begins with NI is going to be a marked word
order clause is it not?
This is a logical problem, you don't need to gather any data at all to
understand this issue. In Kantian terms this is analytic.
If we proceed from the OI -> NI pattern, assume that we have an agreement on
this pattern, then we can ask ourselves questions about the positions of
Subjects and Objects.
Givon states the pragmatic Subject of a clause is rarely New Information
(NI). His argument for this is quite convincing. If that is the case then we
might conclude that in a unmarked NT Greek clause the pragmatic Subject is
likely to appear prior to the constituent which presents the NI. The main
verb of a clause is not as likely to present NI as some constituent in the
complement but it is possible for the main verb to present the NI.
Therefore, in a clause where the main verb presents the NI we would say that
SV word order is unmarked. If the main verb presents NI and we have VS word
order than we have to find out why, because this is a marked word order and
there is going to be some reason the author chose to do this.
According to Givon, the most likely place for New Information (NI) is in the
complement (e.g., direct object, indirect object, etc.). A clause were
the NI is presented in the complement should have both the Subject and the
Main Verb prior to the complement. This says nothing about the VS or SV
patterns, it just says that the complement will follow both Subject and Main
Now I don't claim that this is a proof of anything at all. The assumption
that OI -> NI is the unmarked pragmatic constituent order in K. Greek needs
to be verified first. I am just showing how one might proceed starting with
discourse pragmatics to make statements about marked and unmarked
constituent order in K. Greek.
There are a number of other pragmatic patterns that could be observed but
Old Information ---> New Information pattern is fairly easy to nail down so
it is a good place to start.
Thanks for your comments Wayne,
Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062
B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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