[b-greek] Re: forground & background, boundry markers -Longacre's Model

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Sat Nov 03 2001 - 17:38:10 EST

on 11/3/01 8:08 AM, CWestf5155@aol.com wrote:

> But a marked feature is always a marked feature in the Kingdom of Narnia. It
> contributes meaning at some level and its contribution should be
> distinguished from a default form (unmarked form). We're looking at patterns
> here, and it would be a mistake to deconstruct the contribution of marked
> features because they don't invariably indicate the foreground.


I think this is a question dealing with some very abstract presuppositions
about how meaning functions it texts.

I would argue that meaning takes precedence over form. The semantic goal of
the text (meaning) often coerces the syntax, takes it captive and forces it
to perform grammatically against its will. Meaning is the bully and syntax
is the victim.

IMHO, you can begin analysis at the high level of textual meaning and then
after determining what the text means see how the syntax was used (often
coerced) to serve this end. You do not need to sort out all the low-level
stuff to read and understand the semantic goal of the text.

If we start at the formal level, there is a high risk of thinking that the
low-level formal language features can be converted into the high-level
meaning (semantic goal of the text) by a series of well defined
transformations. This does not work.

Why not?

The author has the freedom to break every rule in the book. He starts with
something he wants to say (the meaning) and the more brilliant and
innovative he is the more likely he will be to bend, break and torture the
normal rules of language to get it said. If we try to define a set of
transformations which will lead from surface structure to meaning we will
grow old in the process and fail. It can't be done.

This isn't really talk about NT Greek so I better stop now and go for a
walk. Gets dark early this time of year.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.

Warm greetings,


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

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