[B-Greek] Word order, prominence, and Acts 28:31

Elizabeth Kline kline-dekoning at earthlink.net
Sat Jul 2 13:22:12 EDT 2005


Hello Randall,

A few comments on your observations:

On 7/2/05 8:20 AM, "R Yochanan Bitan Buth" <ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il> wrote:

> Kline egrapsen:
> 
>> ACTS 28:30 ... KAI APEDECETO PANTAS TOUS EISPOREUOMENOUS PROS AUTON,
> 
> 
> 31 KHRUSSWN THN BASILEIAN TOU QEOU KAI DIDASKWN TA PERI TOU KURIOU
> IHSOU
> 
> CRISTOU META PASHS PARRHSIAS AKWLUTWS.
> 
> 
> 
> Prepositional phrases like META ktl. are outside of the clausal 'core'
> and
> 
> "naturally" have lower prominence than elements of the core.>
> 
> 
> 
> RB:
> 
> I am not sure that elements outside a core have naturally lower
> salience. This could get tricky with many a nuanced example. Sometimes
> the adding of an optional element carries natural salience. Not
> grammatical Focus, but unmarked salient information whose explicit
> mention is its natural markedness.

I am not sure either, note the quotes "naturally". I was citing from memory
some authority or other who was discussing passive constructions in Ancient
Greek where the agent is placed into a prepositional phrase:   hUPO agent.
This authority made an observation that datives, genitives and all
prepositional phrases are "naturally" side issues (low salience) in a
predication. I found this statement less than totally convincing because,
like you, I could immediately think of counter examples. The term "natural"
also needs to be defined so we make sure we are all talking about the same
thing.    

> 
> To this should be added another observation: The main verb APEDEXETO
> 'was receiving' precedes the participles KHRUSSWN and DIDASKWN.
> 
> Main verbs naturally have more prominence, however, this is mitigated
> here by some factors:
> 
> 1. the main verb is imperfect (imperfect is often used as
> backgrounding, scene/speech intro/setting, or scene fadeout, vis-a-vis
> the story elements in aorist, (or non-paragraph initial historical
> present).  

Assuming that an imperfect is used to introduce background information
within the discourse does not mitigate against that imperfect having
salience within its own clause. Clause salience and discourse
forground/background being distinct issues.


> 
> 2. the participles here provide material that can be called salient.
> 
> 3. the participles follow the verb

> Thus, the 'adverbial' participles are not Focus structures. That is,
> they are not grammatically signalled as Focal, nor are they pre-posed
> as backgrounding/contextualizing/topical clauses.

I would agree with all the Not and Nor statements here.

>Semantically they
> provide salient information and can be read as the UNMARKED highpoint
> of the overall sentence.

What semantic criteria are used to determine an UNMARKED highpoint of a
sentence? 
 
> 
> 
> Back to the META clause, one could argue that it, too, has an unmarked
> prominence by its being mentioned and by its explaining the main verb
> 'receiving'. The whole complex provides a 'fadeout' to the book,
> pointing out not only what Paul was doing, but that he was unhindered
> in doing it.

I am not sure what "unmarked prominence"  means. Paul's enthusiasm for the
preaching the gospel is not new information. I can think of one possible
reading that would give this META phrase salience. Paul is an old man worn
by the sufferings and hardships of his ministry and now he is in Rome
awaiting death. Under these circumstances the META phrase could be construed
as counter to all normal expectations and for that reason significant.

  
Thank you for another valuable contribution to this discussion.

Elizabeth Kline 





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