[b-greek] Re: Topic Prominence Marking: Jn 19b-27

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Wed Nov 07 2001 - 15:07:21 EST

on 11/7/01 11:32 AM, Iver Larsen wrote:

> Not necessarily. Participant reference is specific to the language. Hebrew
> uses many more proper names than English does, so we translators have
> learned many times to translate a proper name from a Hebrew text with a
> pronoun. It has little to do with topical prominence, just a feature of
> Hebrew participant reference.
> Similarly, Greek uses lots of pronouns where English requires a proper name.
> In Greek narratives it is common for the main participant to be referred to
> by a pronoun or just a pronominal affix in the verb. But that does not mean
> that a pronoun always refers to the main character. One has to distinguish
> between the main characters in one section as opposed to a different
> section. And there may be two main/major characters. Participant reference
> is a fascinating discourse study topic, but can be complex.
> An idiomatic translation into English from Greek will often use a proper
> name or noun phrase rather than a pronoun. Otherwise, the reader cannot keep
> track of the participants. Mark 9:14-21 is a section we commonly use in
> demonstrating this kind of thing to prospective Bible translators.
> Just take a look at the following section from KJV and see if you can follow
> the participants:
> "And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth
> with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they
> should cast him out; and they could not.
> He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be
> with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought
> him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he
> fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long
> is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child."
> Iver Larsen


Very good points all of them.

You know this example from the KJV reminds me of a comment made by MacPhee
(That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis) and I quote from memory:

"Women speak a language without nouns . . . they will say 'Put this in that
over there . . .'".

So referential encoding isn't only language dependent, according to MacPhee
it is also gender dependent. Of course MacPhee could be wrong about this.



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

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