[b-greek] But What about Prepositions?

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Mon May 21 2001 - 13:00:43 EDT

This is a branch off from: " Grammars, Who Needs them?"

But What about Prepositions? If one is setting out to reevaluate the
semantic significance of the case forms then it seems like prepositions
would need to get similar treatment.

Rather than stating this in absolute terms, which gets people upset, perhaps
it would be less stressful for the traditionalists if it was stated in terms
of a klien (sp?). Lets say there is a range (klien, sp?) that represents the
semantic contribution that a given constituent makes to its context. The
range would look something like:

Most Semantic Contribution <- - - - - - -> Least Semantic Contribution

Now lets ask the question that Waltke/O'Conner raise in their Hebrew Syntax.
Are prepositions semantic wild cards? Their answer is NO, they are not. Then
what can be said about the semantic contribution that a preposition makes to
its phrase, clause and paragraph?

If you look in the lexicons you will see a long list entries for EIS, EN,
PROS. How can a form like EN have so many semantic functions and still have
any definite semantic function at all? Why do Waltke/O'Conner raise the
question: Are prepositions semantic wild cards? Because it is a very logical
question looking at the evidence.

Rather than try to resolve the Waltke/O'Conner question, it might be more
useful to just state the problem in less absolute terms. We might formulate
a rule something like this:

The semantic contribution of a constituent to its context will be inversely
proportional to breadth of its range of use.

In other words, EIS, EN, PROS are going to fall on the right side of the
klien because they have a very broad range of use.

Most Semantic Contribution <- - - - - - -> Lest Semantic Contribution

Now Back to Case Forms

My main objection to some recently published grammars is that they say just
the opposite. They say, for example, that the Genitive case falls on the
left side of the klien, that the Genitive case makes a major semantic
contribution to its context. The Genitive case has a very broad range of use
and for that reason I conclude that it makes very little semantic
contribution to its context.

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

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