Predicative/attributive - position and function

Moon-Ryul Jung moon at
Mon Jan 22 20:49:17 EST 2001

> >[Moon]
> >
> >Carl,
> >
> >But  what can we gain by saying that PAS in NOUN PHRASE
> >PAS hO KOSMOS is in a predicate position? I guess that PAS is
> >called that way because its position relative to the noun
> >is the same as the position that KALON has
> >relative to the noun TO hALAS in SENTENCE KALON TO hALAS.
> >But PAS is not a predicate in the noun phrase. If you call
> >the position of some constituent "predicate position"
> >when that constituent is not a predicate, it would be
> >confusing.

> >I learned several foreign languages, but never heard of
> >"predicate position" in relation to noun phrases.
> >I wonder why understanding Greek noun phrases needs such a notion?
> I've learned several languages too, although not enough to become a
> linguist, but (1) I don't know any other language that uses the article in
> anything like the way Greek does; (2) I don't know any other language that
> consistently omits the verb in a "noun sentence". That is why some term
> referring to what is called traditionally "predicate position" seems
> helpful to me--at least as a pedagogical device for teaching beginning
> Greek--to point to the semantic difference made by positioning an adjective
> INSIDE an article, where it is the attribute of a noun which it qualifies,
> and positioning the adject OUTSIDE of the article-noun group, where it
> serves as a predicate word; 

So far so good. The notion of predicate position is useful to 
differentiate the two roles of an adjective: attributive and predicative.
As Iver noted in his response to my post, Greek is among the languages
adjectives are used as predicates without linking verbs. They could be
called "adjective-verbs" when used as predicates. My mother tongue, Korea,
is such a language as well. But Korean is different from Greek in that 
attributive adjectives are differentiated from predicative adjectives
by having different endings. (Korean is an "inflectional" language). In
this difference is marked by the position of adjectives. So, we need the
notion of attributive and predicative positions in Greek. 


(3) then the fact that PAS and demonstrative
> pronouns must also take this position normally or otherwise the semantic
> value of PAS and similar quantitative words is altered is added on.

My original question was whether it is recommendable to apply the notion
of "predicate position" to these cases, that is, NP's
where the modifiers are OUTSIDE OF the article-noun configurations. 
Yes, PAS and similar quantiative words can be placed OUTSIDE OF
the article-noun configurations. But it seems confusing to call that
"predicate position", because the word at that position is not a prediate
in the case of noun phrases.

For that matter, even in English "all" assumes that position. Only
difference seems that PAS can precede or follow the article-noun
configuration in
Greek. But that is simply because Greek is a language of free word order.

As Iver argued convincingly, PAS has two semantic meanings, one as a
quantifier ("all") and the other as an attritutive or descriptive
("whole"). PAS as a descriptive adjective is placed within the
configuration and PAS as a quantifier is placed outside of the
configuration. This situation is different from ordinary adjectives.
In this case, the position determines the function (either as an
adjective or predicative adjective). But in the case of PAS, the function
seems to determine the position. Moreover, both positions, i.e.
within and outside of the article-noun configurations, are RESTRICTIVE in
that they help determine the referent of the noun phrase.

So, the crude taxomony of positions (to be used pedagogically at least) I
would like to suggest is:

Predicative Position - the position of adjectives, nouns, and adverbials
                        used as predicates in sentences.
Restrictive Position - the position of adjectives, nouns, and adverbials
                        used as modifiers in noun phrase.
   - Attributive Position - the position of descriptive adjectives, nouns,
                         adverbials, i.e. within the article-noun
   - Quantitative Positionn - the position of demonstratives and
                         i.e. outside of the article-noun configuration.

Moon-Ryul Jung
Associate Professor
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea

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