[B-Greek] Definition of "parsing"

Kevin Riley klriley at alphalink.com.au
Thu May 14 22:02:40 EDT 2009

Traditionally you parsed a word, phrase or sentence.  When you did so you
declined a noun/adjective/pronoun and *conjugated* a verb.  Other parts of
speech were often variable, depending on the language.  Participles are
conjugated and declined, but participles get weird in a number of languages.

All of this of course gets very complicated when you step outside of
Indo-European and similar languages and start looking at languages that may
not distinguish between verbs and nouns, and happily used things like 
conjugated' adverbs and 'declined' prepositions.  If you read early attempts
by missionaries to understand some of the languages in the South Pacific you
find them giving the 8 cases of the 'nouns' and trying to fit the 'verbs'
into the typical schema of Indo-European languages.  A 2 page attempt to
explain why the adjective 'old' is used with an 'understood' verb but 'new'
isn't can be enlightening - at least from a sociological point of view.  The
lesson for Greek is that we need to be careful to understand the language
from a Greek point of view, not that of our native language.  Knowing what
the Greek means is more important than be able to parse a word or sentence,
or even knowing what 'parse' means :)

Kevin Riley
-------Original Message------- 

From: Louis Sorenson 
Date: 15/05/2009 11:00:40 AM 

I've always understood it as follows: 
You parse a verb; you decline a noun/adjective/pronoun. Interjections,
adverbs, prepositions are indeclinable. Participles are both parsed and
declined -- according to this schema. Perhaps we should call them parclined
or deparsed. 
Louis Sorenson 

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