5 case system vs. 8 case system

vince-s at juno.com vince-s at juno.com
Fri Oct 23 23:30:32 EDT 1998

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew wrote,

>If we postulate a syntactical function X and this syntactical function 
>can be
>performed by any of the following morphological categories: genitive
>substantives, accusative substantives or adverbs. Then why do we call 
>syntactical function a genitive of Y, or an accusative of Z rather 
>than just
>calling it X? 
>I think there is a question here that is rather more pressing than the 
>5 case
>or 8 case question. There are syntactical functions that map to 
>morphological classes. Mass confusion is caused by labeling these as 
>Genitive of this or Accusative of that. Because the same function can 
>performed by different cases, or even other parts of speech. An 
>noun can perform the same syntactical function as an adverb which has 
>no case.
>The syntactical function should be given an independent status and a 
>which is permanent. It should not change its name 5 times when it 
>shows up
>linked to a different morphological categories. 
>So what is the "face value" of the genitive? 
>Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
>Three Tree Point
>P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062


I believe that Guthrie/Duvall's Biblical Greek Exegesis addresses this
issue adequately.  It teaches two different methods of diagramming
sentences, grammatical and semantic.  The grammatical diagram serves as
the foundation for the semantic diagram.  The semantic diagram is
concerned with identifying the meaning of each grammatical component. 
Since the concern of the semantic diagram is with meaning, rather than
syntax, two different grammatical structures that accomplish the same
thing will be labeled the same.  For example SOU (gen. of possession) and
SOS, -H, -ON (possessive adjective) would both be labeled semantically as

The book starts students out with 54 semantic categories to use in
diagramming, but more could certainly be added.

Vince Setterholm

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