[B-Greek] Agent in JOHN 6:19b
iver_larsen at sil.org
Sun Mar 4 03:28:32 EST 2007
----- Original Message -----
From: "Elizabeth Kline" <kline_dekooning at earthlink.net>
> Iver Larsen wrote
> "GINOMAI does not allow an Agent, and the subject is never the Agent,
> but if there is an Agent involved, it can usually be derived from
> the context."
> JOHN 6:19 ELHLAKOTES OUN hWS STADIOUS EIKOSI PENTE H TRIAKONTA
> QEWROUSIN TON IHSOUN PERIPATOUNTA EPI THS QALASSHS KAI EGGUS TOU
> PLOIOU GINOMENON, KAI EFOBHQHSAN.
> Would it be fair to say that IHSOUN is the agent of PERIPATOUNTA EPI
> THS QALASSHS? I would be tempted to say that IHSOUN is also the agent
> of EGGUS TOU PLOIOU GINOMENON, i.e., that IHSOUN is an explict agent
> for both participles. The disciples were watching Jesus (an agent)
> walking on the sea and Jesus (an agent) drawing near to the boat.
You are right in implicitly pointing out that my first statement was too brief and categorical, and
therefore somewhat misleading. I hope that this was clarified in my follow-up message.
I agree that it is fair to say that Jesus is the semantic Agent for PERIPATEW (walk around). This
verb is an intransitive, morphologically active verb, semantically monovalent with one role: Agent.
It is in the same semantic class as "run" (TRECW).
For GINOMAI, the primary role is Patient, with the potential for an additional role of Agent, both
roles referring to the syntactic subject. It is a descriptive verb that does not focus on Jesus
walking on the water, but his position being at or changing toward the vicinity of the boat, so
"getting near the boat" would catch the meaning nicely.
By the way, predicate adjectives function very much the same way as descriptive verbs like "be" or
"become". In some languages you don't say "She is beautiful", you say "she beautifuls". The semantic
frame is the same: one Patient role. When you describe something, the thing you describe has the
role of Patient. In an African language that I am familiar with, you can put both person and tense
prefixes on adjectives in the same way they are attached to verbs.
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