[B-Greek] some lingustic questions on Jn 7:8
iver_larsen at sil.org
Thu Jan 29 01:15:16 EST 2004
> >Well, I think that if you do a comprehensive study of nouns modified by
> >hOUTOS you will find that the default, unmarked position is to
> >have hOUTOS follow the head noun, and there is no reason for that order
> >to "stand out" if we look at the Greek rather than the English.
> >When it is fronted, it indicates emphasis on that part of the meaning
> >of the noun phrase that is carried by hOUTOS, that is, THIS x is
> >contrasted to another x.
> >In the normal position hOUTOS is not contrastive, but serves as a back
> >reference to an already introduced concept. (The rules for the order of
> >noun plus demonstrative and noun plus adjective are not the same, but
> >that is a bigger topic.)
> HH: Daniel Wallace seems to agree with you. He says (Greek Grammar Beyond
> the Basics, 306, 308) that in the order article-adjective-noun (the first
> attributive position) the adjective receives greater emphasis than the
> substantive. He is quoting A. T. Robertson. When the order is
> article-noun-adjective (second predicate position), he says the emphasis
> seems to either equally placed on both noun and adjective or is slightly
> heavier on the noun.
Thanks Harold. I don't have a copy of Wallace's GGBB and live in a small
town in Africa far from any library. However, the quote listed here raises
another question. I hinted at this in my parenthesis above, but now it seems
I ought to enlarge on the parenthesis.
IF the quote was taken from a section describing demonstratives, which I
suspect, it is correct, except that it should, IMO, have been worded using
"demonstrative" rather than "adjective". (And it would be better to not use
the misleading terms "attributive" and "predicate" position, since both are
attributive in the sense that the adjective or demonstrative is part of the
noun phrase and modifies the head.) Demonstratives should not be lumped
together with adjectives, because that will bring confusion. Demonstratives
function quite different from normal adjectives in several respects.
IF the quote referred to adjectives in general, it would be incorrect,
because there the situation is much more complex. For normal adjectives you
have two orders in arthrous constructions (the case is different and simpler
for anarthrous constructions):
2: article-noun-article repeated-adjective
In the GNT the significance of the order varies from one author to another.
Let me quote an excerpt from my article on word order in the GNT:
"Matthew almost always places the adjective before the noun and following
the article , and Peter always does so. This is then the basic order by
these writers. We cannot draw any conclusion about emphasis from this
pattern. However, if the noun precedes the adjective  in Matthew, we
might expect the noun to be relatively more prominent than the adjective.
Mark is the opposite. His basic pattern is that the adjective follows the
noun . (The article is then repeated before the adjective, following the
usual rule.) We cannot draw any conclusion from this pattern. But when Mark
moves the adjective in front of the noun , we might expect emphasis on
The other New Testament authors use both patterns much more equally. Luke
has a tendency to prefer  the adjective before the noun. (This applies to
Acts as well.) The same applies to Paul, James, and the author of Hebrews.
John, on the other hand, prefers  the adjective after the noun, and this
applies to Revelation as well. In Revelation the tendency is stronger than
in the Gospel."
It is possible that these individual differences reflect the difference
between a native speaker of Greek and a person who is speaking Greek with a
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