[b-greek] Re: Instrumentality

From: Mike Sangrey (mike@sojurn.lns.pa.us)
Date: Thu Oct 26 2000 - 13:54:54 EDT

"Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu> responding my request for a
description of why an author might choose one way to signify
instrumentality over another said:
> I frankly doubt that we can answer adequately/definitively why an
> author would choose one over another. A particular author may have a
> preference, another author might deliberately vary means of
> expression;

True enough! In fact, as you would most certainly agree, this applies to
a wide range of topics (witness the scalar discussion). However, I would
view the different ways of expressing instrument as overlapping ellipses,
like a Venn diagram.

My question, then, was to generate a list, associate nuances with each
item, and to do so in a forum where expert to sub-novice can see. It was
not meant to convey that one could mechanically pigeon hole any specific
To illustrate what I'm looking for: You mentioned "simple dative" first
in your short list. Did that come to mind first because it is the most
prominent in your thinking or was it simply because that was the most
general (the assumption feeding into this is that someone who has read a
lot of Greek would have a feel for it)? If it was the most general, then
would that not imply that dative expressing instrument GENERALLY carries
the least precision? That is, it is the most fuzzy with addition of a
preposition homing in on more precise semantics?

In short, I'm sort of looking for what "shapes" or "sculpts" the different
semantics while at the same time understanding that there is some
(substantial??) overlap.
Mike Sangrey
Landisburg, Pa.
               It's OK to think differently, just think together.
               Sooner or later that will bring out our faults;
               then we can deal with them...together.

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