[B-Greek] prepositions and cases - Silvia Luraghi 2003

Elizabeth Kline kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 9 13:18:46 EDT 2010

On Apr 8, 2010, at 7:24 PM, Michael Aubrey wrote:

> Fundamentally speaking, Luraghi is making a claim about how humans cognitively connect things in their minds. This is far more Lakoff than Fillmore with a little bit of Martin Haspelmath and Ronald Langacker thrown in. The idea of cognitive space is discussed here (“The geometry of grammatical meaning: Semantic maps and cross-linguistic comparison.” In: Tomasello, Michael (ed.) The new psychology of language, vol. 2. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 211-242:  http://www.eva.mpg.de/lingua/staff/haspelmath/publications_haspelmath.php ). While the concept of semantic roles originated with Fillmore, cognitive linguistics has taken in new directions. 

There seems to be as many flavors of cognitive linguistics as there are of functional linguistics. I am not thrilled to death with Luraghi's framework. Her "mental maps" are interesting. Her semantic analysis looks somewhat "retro" like a species of structuralism,  the sort of thing you find in Waltke-O'Conner (Hebrew Syntax). I am quickly loosing patience with her book, it seems to be making a great deal of fuss out of explaining fairly simple and intuitive notions. In other words the cost of processing is grossly disproportional to the rewards. 

I am also skeptical about her mappings of the metaphorical extensions. For someone reading Attic or Koine these mappings would encourage a student to wander into the nether world of etymological speculation which has been fertile ground for all sorts of ludicrous nonsense among students of biblical greek. I am not denying that there is a spacial idea associated with the prepositions, but the spacial idea as a "basic meaning" extended to more abstract meanings is not IMO the best approach to semantic analysis. Binary oppositions and componential analysis are also "old school". 

I suspect one could find a better treatment of prepositions and cases somewhere. Perhaps start with  Blake (Case, 1995). 

Elizabeth Kline

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