Prominence in Passive Construction with hUPO in Mk 1:9

Wayne Leman wayne_leman at
Wed Sep 26 18:10:25 EDT 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "c stirling bartholomew" <cc.constantine at>

> Well I went and looked at Levinshon and just as I suspected this subject
> somewhat complex. It would appear that using Pronominal Verb Inflection in
> Mk 1:9b is just the normal thing to do after the subject was introduced in
> Mk 1:9a with a full noun phrase. So it is perhaps a little bit risky to
> statements about relative prominence based on this issue. There is really
> good reason why a full noun phrase or a pronoun should be used in Mk 1:9b
> since there has been no interruption of the flow of thought and the
> from Mk 1:9a is still well in mind.

Clay, I still think you were on the right track, although the track may be
more than just two rails perfectly spaced. The very fact that there is no
good reason to have a full noun or pronoun after a participant is introduced
in a discourse or re-introduced after a certain span is an important
discourse fact. It reflects cognitive strategies of economy and greater need
("motivation", which results is a kind of "prominence") on other information
(such as individual events) than participants once participants have been

A big part of the problem in reading different authors writing from
different time periods from different linguistic models is that the
terminology gets confusing. Sometimes the same term, such as "prominence" or
"focus" gets used differently by different authors. Not to worry, too much,
at least. It's just one of the risks of study. The main thing, IMO, is that
we work at getting the crucial concepts accounted for, and that you are
doing. Terminology is nice, and much formal education traditionallly
consists of drilling it into the brains of students, but, behold, desire the
greater gifts <g>, which are the concepts themselves behind the terms.

> So my whole line of argument concerning this isn't in accord with the
> **Givon/*Levinshon model of participant reference.

I've studied under Givon and what you've said about levels of participant
marking are right in line with what he says in class as well as in his

I like the messages I've seen from you recently.

Wayne Leman
Bible translation website:

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