[B-Greek] The Unattractiveness of Attraction?

Stephen Baldwin stbaldwi at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 5 21:33:17 EST 2010

Hello Kevin:
My original [slightly facetious] response to you was intended for the wider community rather than moving the conversation off-list ;-)
Trust it is OK to re-engage the rest of the list [if indeed anyone else out there is interested in engaging!].
If I may be so bold as to query your example, is it a real case of "attraction"?
In your example, "what" is a relative pronoun isn't it? And if so, can be either singular or plural can it not since in English we plainly do not have distinct singular/plural forms of "what"?

As I understand it, is "attraction" simply evident in gender/case choices or does it occur [in NTG] in other forms?

Iver and George: Tak/Thanks for your responses. I will chase up your suggestions.

Steve [Baldwin]
stbaldwi at hotmail.com

Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2010 07:32:54 +1100
From: klriley at alphalink.com.au
To: stbaldwi at hotmail.com
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] The Unattractiveness of Attraction?


    Message body
    I was trying to think of an example when I came across one in an
    email this morning.  The subject was initially the importance of the
    extended family to individuals in some parts of the world.  Moving
    on to what mattered to the extended family, one person wrote "What
    was most important to the extended family were alliances with other
    families for mutual defense."  This is a good example of the use of
    'were' for 'was' because of the 'attraction' of the following plural
    noun. The basic thought was "alliances were needed ...", and this
    may have caused 'confusion' momentarily in the mind of the writer,
    resulting in the incorrect "What was needed were alliances ...". 
    Rather than two 'was'es, both dependent on 'what', the second 'was'
    is replaced by 'were' because of 'attraction' to the following
    plural noun.  I suspect we have all done similar things without even
    noticing.  Greek provides more opportunities than English by
    encoding not only number, but also gender.




    On 4/12/2010 3:50 PM, Stephen Baldwin wrote:

      Hello Kevin:

      That was almost a useful reply ;-)

      Would you care to expound further?





      > Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2010 15:47:58 +1100

      > From: klriley at alphalink.com.au

      > To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org

      > Subject: Re: [B-Greek] The Unattractiveness of Attraction?


      > Perhaps if you looked at some examples of how 'attraction'
      works in 

      > English it might make more sense in Greek. As a process, it
      is not 

      > unique to Greek.


      > Kevin Riley


      > On 4/12/2010 3:19 PM, Stephen Baldwin wrote:

      > > Ladies and Gentlemen:

      > > I am perplexed and perhaps a little cynical about the
      concept of "attraction" in Koine Greek.

      > > One example [among several] occurs in Philippians
      1:27-28 where, in Mounce's Graded Reader, he quotes Fee (NICNT)
      saying that the hHTIS in v28 refers back to the preceding clause
      refers back to the whole preceding clause (admittedly I do not
      have Fee's work, I am quoting Mounce quoting Fee) and is in the
      feminine because it is "attracted" to the gender of ENDEIXIS


      > > Preceding clause:


      > > [trust the transliteration attains the minimal
      acceptable standard]

      > > I have consulted my grammars -- I even hoped, after my
      recent questions whether A.T. Robertson might rise to the
      occasion, since there is precious little in any of my other works
      on this subject. Alas he sits on the table in accordance with
      Lightman's suggestion, awaiting a job holding down papers in the
      next tornado.

      > >

      > > So is this thing called "attraction" apparent or real?
      Perhaps I am uncomfortable with the terminology -- it is as if the
      words have a mind of their own rather than a writer deliberately
      choosing the appropriate and grammatically correct lexical form?
      If attraction is real, what purpose does it serve?

      > > Or is "attraction" a catch-all when all logical,
      semantic, and grammatical attempts to explain the case of a word
      have failed?

      > > "oh it is not a,b,c,d therefore it is 'attraction'"

      > >

      > > Any references, comments, clues welcomed!

      > >

      > > Rgds

      > > Steve Baldwin

      > > stbaldwi at hotmail.com

      > >

      > >

      > >

      > > 

      > > ---

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      > >

      > >

      > >

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