[B-Greek] doubleplusunprettyful (was FOBOS in Eph 5-6

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Mon Apr 5 01:01:23 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mark Lightman" <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
To: "greek B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>; "Elizabeth Kline" 
<kline_dekooning at earthlink.net>
Sent: 5. april 2010 04:25
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] doubleplusunprettyful (was FOBOS in Eph 5-6

> Elizabeth wrote:
> <I am assuming at least some of you have taken
> a look at R.A. Hoyle's paper.>
> Hi, Elizabeth,
> Indeed I have. For those who have not, here is an excerpt,
> more or less chosen at random. From page 536:
> "I posit that unmarked relationships between elements
> in a text are understood
> in the light of the prototoypical relationships of those
> elements within the open scenario.
> It is clear that contraexpectation relationships
> are not prototypical, hence the fact that
> contraexpectation is frequently marked in Participle clusters,
> whereas almost all other
> semantic relationships are grammatically and lexically unmarked.:
> And here is an except from page 44 of George Orwell's 1984:
> "times 3.12.83 reporting bb dayorder doubleplusungood refs
> unpersons rewrite fullwise upsub antefiling."
> Now, let me ask you a question. Which of these prose
> specimens is easier to understand? Which is better written?
> Which corresponds more closely to something in the real world?
> Carl wrote
> <I do indeed believe that "grammaticalize" is a barbarism.>
> Interesting choice of a word, but I can think of none
> better. And Carl said this in the context of DEFENDING
> Linguistics. These are not isolated examples. "Count
> word?" Count is a verb or maybe a noun. To use it
> as an adjective is first to destroy language in order
> to make it more clear. What you are asking us to do,
> you and Steve R and maybe Carl, is this: In order to
> understand one language (Greek) which is beautiful and
> by definition non-barbaric, we are asked to learn another
> one (Linguisticspeak) which is barbaric and doubleplusunprettyful.
> That's too harsh. We all want the same thing here.
> If it will help me understand Greek any better, I will
> do ANYTHING. I'll stand on my head. There has to be
> something to do this stuff. Entire Departments of Linguistics
> cannot be wrong. Bear with me, Elizabeth and Steve, and Yancy
> and Iver. I'm trying to bellyfeel this stuff the best I can.

Hi, Mark,

Well, I didn't clearly understand your excerpt from p. 538, but that may be 
because I have not read the previous 537 pages. Hopefully the author has defined 
his terms.

In my view, it is a case of professional jargon that is not unique to linguists. 
When people do a ph.d., they are required to show that they know the jargon of 
their field and thereby they limit the number of people who will be able to 
understand what they write. Some people rewrite their thesis afterwards for 
general consumption, other people never regain their ability to speak in simple 

I agree with Elizabeth that much of what is found in Relevance Theory and 
Cognitive Linguistics is just common sense, but people have to invent new labels 
and describe it in new ways to get attention in the scholarly world. Like 
Elisabeth, I often don't understand what some SIL linguists are saying/writing. 
On the other hand, it can be useful to flesh out what we mean by "this is 
understood from context". What some people call a "scenario" is apparently 
similar to what was called a "script" by Bob Longacre decades ago, the pioneer 
of discourse linguistics. It is part of pragmatics, rather than grammar, but 
pragmatics was not invented in the early days of Bob Longacre. Once the scene 
has been set, you have certain expectations and you are to use that setting to 
interpret the text. The scene can be very general, like this is a text from the 
NT. Or it can be more specific, like this is on the topic of fear in relation to 
who fears what in which culture.

Iver Larsen 

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