noun phrase, etc.

Mark Beatty marksresearch at
Mon Mar 18 20:46:24 EST 2002

Dear Clay,

For my bullet proof specifications, look at my dissertation pages 123 to
129. Though I mostly discuss what you might call "predicates", the same
answer can be given for other constituents like noun phrases.

In case you cannot find your personal copy of my dissertation because it was
in high demand and you have been lending it out to multiple friends, a short
answer is "Greek is a head left, complement right, specifier left language.
Greek allows breaking economy for discourse/semantic purposes." Aside from
some parameter settings, this definition should get you from classic to
modern Greek as well as all the other 6,807 languages and all their historic

As you probably already know, economy is defined in Chomsky 1989:69 or
Radford 1997:149. In case you also lent those books out, the definition is
as follows: "Derivations and representations ... are required to be minimal
... with no superfluous steps in derivations and no superfluous symbols in

On the other hand, I would probably say that nobody can provide a
specification if you have presumptions that would not allow it. I recall
about 8 months ago I used the phrase "universal syntax" with the personal
meaning of "the principles true of all languages and the parameters
available that interact with these principles." There was some discussion
about how I was misusing the term and that I should have used "universal
grammar" and that there is no "syntax true of all languages." I recall I
answered by defining my terms precisely and then no one responded.

I read through a few of the discussions going on about word order and my
impression is the same as before (after some 5 months of not participating
in this discussion due to my employment demands). "Fronted" is used without
a consistent definition of what "fronted" means or any specification of
where a constituent is "fronted" from. "Prominent" is the cure all
explanation even though few attempt to list the dozens of definitions of

Anyway, if any one is interested, I putatively solved the 2000 year old
mystery of Greek Word Order in my May 2001 dissertation. I further applied
this to difficult sections of the book of Hebrews and solved problems that
others admitted they could not.

This is my contribution for now. Let everyone know that there is a whole
dissertation that answers Clay's challenge. Shoot at it all you want. Right
now I am busy in other endeavors. Perhaps in the future I will be able to
develop these ideas in a form that is more digestible--as well as test it
out to disprove, confirm, or improve it.

Thanks for the opportunity to specify.


Mark Beatty
Ph.D. From The University of Texas at Arlington
Ph.D. (ABD) at The University of Hawaii at Manoa
(Sorry, never had a chance to go to MIT.)

-----Original Message-----
From: c stirling bartholomew [mailto:cc.constantine at]
Sent: Thursday, March 14, 2002 3:48 PM
To: Biblical Greek
Subject: [b-greek] noun phrase, etc.

Can anyone show me a bullet proof specification for a
"Noun Phrase" in Hellenistic Greek? This is your big chance, MIT grads, show
your stuff.

If not then what you will need to do if you want to be able to locate every
"Noun Phrase" in your electronic GNT is have Dale W. go and tag each "Noun
Phrase" manually. What you will end up with is a list of what Dale decided
were "Noun Phrases." Simple, no? It is going to be a function of your GNT
database, not a function of your search engine.

I seriously doubt that anyone can write a bullet proof specification for the
"Noun Phrase" in Hellenistic Greek. I am certain that no one can write a
bullet proof specification for the predicate.

Natural languages do not submit to tidy little specifications. Nicholas
Wirth didn't design Koine Greek.



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