[b-greek] Re: Fronting

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Wed Oct 17 2001 - 13:35:56 EDT

on 10/16/01 10:38 AM, Wayne Leman wrote:

> I would think that EGENONTO likely marks progression points on the
> narrative time line. The passage of time is probably the most salient
> feature of narrative discourse genre, so it is not surprising that EGENONTO
> would be positioned where readers can spot it quickly in relation to what is
> stated that occurred at that point in time.


I would accept your first statement without blinking. The function of
EGENONTO is to mark progression points on the narrative time line. Your
second statement causes me to blink.

>The passage of time is probably the most salient
> feature of narrative discourse genre . . .

Every one who responded to this "fronting" thread yesterday seemed to agree
on this point that EGENONTO is prominent (salient) and has significant
semantic content. At the risk of appearing to be obstinately obtuse I am
going to disagree with both of these propositions.

Since EGENONTO marks progression points on the narrative time line, it must
come early or first in a new narrative segment. The position of EGENONTO in
the narrative segment has to do with narrative architecture and has little
to do with prominence, salience or semantic content.

A new scene in the narrative will often be marked early in the narrative
text by the passage of time. This isn't particularly interesting or
significant information in most narratives. What is significant in the
narrative segment is who is doing the action and what is being done.

I don't think that EGENONTO has more than a moderate or low level of
semantic content when it links two narrative segments. All it is saying is
"this happened next." What is going to rivet the attention of the reader is
what happened and who did it and who was it done to.

In terms of NEW and OLD information, EGENONTO falls into a category that I
don't hear you guys talking about. It is NEW but it is also information that
can be ASSUMED. When reading a narrative, the reader will assume that the
time line will move forward so the reader isn't going to take much notice to
constituent between narrative units that says in effect: "now after that
this happened." The reader will be expecting these transitions and read over
them without much notice. Information that can be ASSUMED is similar to OLD
information in its level of discourse prominence.

My conclusion is that EGENONTO at the front end of a new narrative segment
is neither prominent nor does it carry a lot of new information (semantic
content). It functions as a connector between the narrative segments and is
for that reason an item of low interest to the reader. It must be placed
early in the narrative segment to fulfill its function as a connector (like
a conjunction) and for that reason its position tells us nothing about its
significance. We don't get excited about KAI when it is clause initial, do


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

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