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textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

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textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Jul 08, 2014 6:05 pm

cb wrote:hi, interesting about dik's tragic word order - after having studied her earlier paper giving stats on word shapes in iambic tri (oh, i was going to link to my site http://www.freewebs.com/mhninaeide where i summarised this info, but my site has been deleted apparently, oh well) i got really excited when i saw dik's book on tragic word order in a bookstore in rome - i bought it and soon was very disappointed. the whole topic/focus approach seemed to be able to explain any word order whatsoever and so it didn't seem helpful to me at all. i'm probably too old-fashioned, i prefer dover's grk word order over the new books - it gave hard stats, and said this type of formation is common and this isn't, using criteria that everyone would apply consistently (nouns, verbs etc), but apparently this new pragmatics/topic-focus stuff is the way to go in explaining word order...

i really wonder though, if you put a made-up sentence in front of the new wave of word order specialists -- by taking a real sentence and switching around the order of the elements, without telling them, and then asking them to review it -- whether the new guys or the old guys would do a better job in explaining whether the word order is typical or not. i can't myself give a firm view on this because i haven't worked all the way through the new pragmatics/topic-focus stuff -- it's like when you start watching a movie and then switch it off after 10 minutes because you can't get into it -- and so i haven't given it a real chance really. i'd be open to being persuaded otherwise about this if people are strongly of the new view!

cheers, chad


I was mulling over some lines in Antigone[1] this morning and comparing it to Elizabeth Wyckoff's translation. It seems to me that Attic Tragedy is a genre not well suited for the kind of textlinguistics expounded in Stephan Levinsohn's Discourse Features of NT Greek (2nd Ed SIL 2000). Helma Dik picked samples from Attic Tragedy and did a lot of hard work to explain how this methodology might be used for this genre. But I am not convinced that it is a good fit. Prose narrative is much better material for demonstrating word order patterns.

Sophocles might appear to some of us to be working by same rule that Hemingway used (eliminate everything that can be assumed). Sophocles pushes this principle much further than Hemingway. The result is cryptic. The translations must paraphrase, there is no alternative, nobody could read it otherwise.

I think this approach to word order analysis has served its purpose in bible translation. Steve Runge is the current guy pushing this framework for biblical studies. The framework is now quite old and I suspect it will be either discarded or enveloped by a new framework.




[1]
ΧΟ. Ἀλλὰ θεός τοι καὶ θεογεννής,
ἡμεῖς δὲ βροτοὶ καὶ θνητογενεῖς.
Καίτοι φθιμένῃ μέγ<α κ>ἀκοῦσαι
τοῖς ἰσοθέοις σύγκληρα λαχεῖν
ζῶσαν καὶ ἔπειτα θανοῦσαν.
838

ΑΝ. Οἴμοι γελῶμαι. Τί με, πρὸς θεῶν πατρῴ-
ων, οὐκ οὐλομέναν ὑβρίζεις,
ἀλλ' ἐπίφαντον;
Ὦ πόλις, ὦ πόλεως
πολυκτήμονες ἄνδρες·
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby mwh » Wed Jul 09, 2014 12:17 am

C. S. Bartholomew wrote: Prose narrative is much better material for demonstrating word order patterns.

Well, yes. Doesn't that go without saying? The best way to learn the workings of Greek word order, in my opinion, is to read lots and lots of Greek prose, with close attention to the organization of the words. But then I’m an empirist. For analysis, the best place to go is Dover’s book, as mentioned by Chad. Dover (unlike Levinsohn et al.) is someone who knew Greek inside out, and had a fearsome intelligence to boot. It is a few years old now, but ancient Greek is not subject to fashion. For stylistic matters, if you have German, Norden’s Antike Kunstprosa is still unmatched.

As you seem to have come to recognize, you'd be better off without the SIL people. As I see it, there are two things undoing any value their work might otherwise have:
(1) They’re primarily focussed on the NT (for evangelical purposes). This means their data base is ludicrously small and arbitrarily chosen. To understand NT Greek you have to bring in a whole lot of other Greek. And there’s no such thing as NT Greek anyway. On the one hand there’s koine Greek. That should be the data base. On the other hand there’s Paul’s Greek, Mark’s Greek, etc. etc., none of which can be properly understood except in the context of a far wider body of texts.
(2) They’re excessively concerned with translation. Translation is useful for communicating what one takes something to mean, but it's is a purely ancillary activity. The aim in learning a foreign language is to understand without having to translate. You need to study the language on its own terms. People have been doing that with ancient Greek for centuries, from Apollonius Dyscolus on, and very successfully. Some people on these boards (not you, csb) seem to think they can simply deny established facts. But no new approach is going to invalidate or supplant those gains.

As for Sophoclean lyric, or any lyric, there’s no point in looking at it until you’ve mastered the basics of Greek word order—which is basically simple enough, when all’s said and done, especially when viewed from a syntactical and comparative linguistics perspective. Lyric verse is useful in indicating the limits of word-order abnormality, but first one has to know what’s normal. With tragic dialogue, as with lyric, what makes it interesting (from a word-order point of view, that is!) is (a) the interaction of language and meter and (b) the nature and extent of linguistic elevation (i.e. deviation from prose usage). With the Antigone passage you quote, the first steps would be to understand the meter and to understand how Greek lyric characteristically works. I fail to see much affinity with Hemingway; Sophocles certainly doesn’t “eliminate everything that can be assumed.” To translate it (or to paraphrase it, but all translation is a form of paraphrase) is to destroy it.

All this should be axiomatic. Sorry to sound so dogmatic, but there it is.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Markos » Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:58 am

mwh wrote: The best way to learn the workings of Greek word order, in my opinion, is to read lots and lots of Greek prose...you'd be better off without the SIL people...The aim in learning a foreign language is to understand without having to translate. You need to study the language on its own terms...To translate it (or to paraphrase it, but all translation is a form of paraphrase) is to destroy it.

All this should be axiomatic. Sorry to sound so dogmatic, but there it is.

It is all axiomatic, but don't apologize for saying it. I feel somehow it still needs to be said.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:56 pm

I spent some time looking at Helma Dik's book on Tragedy this morning. Wondering if I could run some sort of test where I would read the passages she discusses before reading her discussion, use the methodology she employs which I didn't learn from her and see if we come up with similar results.

That seems to be a point of contention. If every attempt at analysis comes up with a different reading then we conclude with Capt. Willard "I don't see any method at all."

I don't think this is going to work. Perhaps having Steve Runge host a virtual conference with H. Dik, R. Buth, S. Levinsohn, give them all 10 samples of text and see what they come up with. That would level the playing field. I haven't bothered to study Runge's work since he came along after my interest in this approach to things was past its peak and in decline.

After all the analysis is in, I am still prone to ask the question: So what?

I will continue to follow Helma Dik's general guidelines for reading Tragedy.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:02 am

Markos wrote:
mwh wrote: The best way to learn the workings of Greek word order, in my opinion, is to read lots and lots of Greek prose...you'd be better off without the SIL people...The aim in learning a foreign language is to understand without having to translate. You need to study the language on its own terms...To translate it (or to paraphrase it, but all translation is a form of paraphrase) is to destroy it.
All this should be axiomatic. Sorry to sound so dogmatic, but there it is.


It is all axiomatic, but don't apologize for saying it. I feel somehow it still needs to be said.

For me that's a bit of a catch 22. It is quite impossible for me to read lots of Greek prose and the word order is one of the main reasons. For that reason I do find Helma Dik's book worth dipping into now and them. It is incredibly hard going for me - it is not a book intended for people at my level at all. However, the textbooks intended for my level ignore the issue so she is my best alternative.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:30 pm

daivid wrote: It is quite impossible for me to read lots of Greek prose and the word order is one of the main reasons. For that reason I do find Helma Dik's book worth dipping into now and them. It is incredibly hard going for me - it is not a book intended for people at my level at all. However, the textbooks intended for my level ignore the issue so she is my best alternative.


Friend of my from Spain posted this 10 years ago. Apparently there are classics people from Spain doing functional linguistics.


ripped from b-greek archives
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/lists.ibi ... 30400.html

Although it does not cover specifically koiné, some list members may
be interested in this new book on the syntax of Classical Greek:
Crespo Güemes, Emilio; Conti, Luz; Maquieira, Helena. (2003).
Sintaxis del griego clásico. Madrid. XI + 502 pp. Hardcover. (In
Spanish)

It is a reader-friendly introduction to the syntax of Classical Greek
intended mainly for University students, written from a functional
perspective (a functionalism closer to Dik's than to Givon's, for
instance), but with the Classical philologist in mind, and it is much
more descriptive than speculative. Very clearly written, it avoids
all non indispensable jargon and gives well chosen examples, all of
them translated into Spanish. The ordering of the contents is not
quite the traditional arrangement one may find in classical manuals
like Kuehner-Gerth, Schwyzer, Smyth, or Krueger-Poekel-Cooper, but
readers may find it preferable at least for a number of syntactic
questions. It contains indexes of Greek words, main concepts and loci
citati.

--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Daniel Riaño Rufilanchas
Madrid, España


POSTSCRIPT:
OCLC shows the closest copy is Univ. of Chicago. Perhaps that is close enough. Now if I only was fluent in Spanish. I have a text book on linguistics (Generative) in Spanish. I will practice reading it while waiting on ILL to get Sintaxis del griego clásico.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Markos » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:22 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:I spent some time looking at Helma Dik's book on Tragedy this morning. Wondering if I could run some sort of test where I would read the passages she discusses before reading her discussion, use the methodology she employs which I didn't learn from her and see if we come up with similar results.

Hi, Clayton,

You can test what linguists claim about English and evaluate the results. Rutger Allan

http://www.brill.com/middle-voice-ancient-greek

claims that the difference between βούλομαι and θέλω is like the difference between "oak tree" and "oak" or "puppy dog" and "puppy." I asked a dozen fluent English speakers about these pairs and got no agreement about anything. Nobody said anything close to what Allan (who I don't think is a native born English speaker) said about "puppy dog" (that it is marked for indicating the essential "dogness" of the animal while "puppy" is "unmarked" for this.) Most people said that there is no real difference, or the differences are too subtle to be pinned down or that the differences are stylistic, not semantic.

I've run these tests several times and have concluded that in the real world language is too complex and fuzzy for the type of pseudo-scientific analysis that linguists like to do. It's not the claims are wrong, exactly, but they are too subtle, subjective and non-falsifiable to be of much use. One winds up arguing about the claims rather than the Greek that the Greek the claims are supposed to illuminate. But that's just me. Others find linguistic metalanguage helpful for learning Greek or (more often) interesting in its own right.

If every attempt at analysis comes up with a different reading then we conclude with Capt. Willard "I don't see any method at all."


For those of you in Yorba Linda:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WdNsltQXTVU
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby jeidsath » Sat Jul 12, 2014 10:46 pm

I think that I have as little patience for mumbo-jumbo as Markos, and see it in a lot of linguistic academic writing, but the following sentences are different:

1) She's a witch and he's an oak.

2) She's a witch and he's an oak tree.

In the first we have a character description, but in the second a man has been transmogrified.

Also:

1) He trailed behind the pizza delivery girl like a hungry puppy.

2) He trailed behind the pizza delivery girl like a hungry puppy dog.

More subtle, but I would think that the man in the first sentence is a beau. In the second he's just hungry.

How fluent would you have to be in English to see the difference between these sentences? But then again, thinking of Apocalypse Now, Joseph Conrad was Polish, and didn't learn English until his twenties.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:11 pm

Well said. It's always the context that matters.

As to βούλομαι and θέλω, I think βούλομαι is often used in a context where a preference between alternatives is implied and in those cases its meaning is close to prefer, although you could probably give a number of examples where there's no effective difference between the two. I didn't bother to look for any examples though. I don't know if the difference has anything to do with βούλομαι being a middle verb.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby mwh » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:24 pm

In response to daivid (see PS):
Yes I see the problem. What makes things difficult for English-speakers, as you’re aware, is that Greek is not a subject-verb-object (SVO) language like English but one whose word order has been described as "free." SVO, OSV, SOV, VOS, VSO, OVS are all perfectly fine. That’s the beauty of an inflected language. When reading it’s essental to register the case endings as you go along. (Eventually this will become unconscious, but meanwhile you have to stop and make sure you know exactly what each word ending is telling you.) Then the sentence structure unfolds before you. (Do not go hunting for the subject, or the verb; just take things in the order in which they come, or you’ll never learn to read with any fluency.) Get comfortable with that procedure, and the difficulties of reading Greek begin to fade away.

Unlike in English, the word order makes little semantic difference. Obviously it makes some, and that’s where it gets interesting, but it’s not a simple matter, or one that can readily be reduced to formula (rules such as “What comes first has salience” only get you so far—only as far as what comes first, in fact). Which is probably why conventional textbooks don’t say much about it (except for attributive/predicative use of the article and for proclitics and enclitics, which aren't really words at all)—it doesn’t fit into the accidence-and-syntax framework that they all use, where there’s right and wrong and little inbetween. Dover’s book could be your guide when you get to that stage. And/or you could get into pragmatics, which has definite advantage over tradiitonal approaches when it comes to elucidating word order. That’s more Dik’s orientation, but she’s developed her own analytical methodology which you have to get on top of, and she’s dealing with tragic dialogue, where word order is slightly deviant. Simon Slings, an excellent Greek scholar, pioneered pragmatics for hellenists, who were shamefully late in taking to it; this was in the early 90’s, and if you have institutional affiliation or access to an academic library you could read his introductory article Written and Spoken Language, a good starting-point.

Less advanced than Dik, and linguistically traditional, would be something like Susan Stephens’ Greek Prose Composition. I seem to remember she has an early chapter on word order (though it might not say much more than I said in my first para. above, which is the all-important one). I don’t myself like the organization of the book (which is much the same as Smyth’s when it come to types of clauses and sentences—I don’t like that either), but you might find it useful.

Word order does matter, but as a rule it’s subtle. Plato is said to have rejuggled the words of the first sentence of the Republic multiple times before he was happy with it. Κατέβην χθὲς εἰς-Πειραιᾶ μετὰ-Γλαύκωνος-τοῦ-Ἀρίστωνος …—16 possible permutations already, any one of which would be perfectly acceptable, and with precious little difference between them.

PS I wrote the above this morning but didn’t get to post it until now, 12 hours later, in which time I see this thread has been busy!.
Briefly and quickly:
to C.S.B.: I don’t know the book but it sounds as if it could be good. Thanks for the reference.
to Markos (whose cherry-picking of my original post was a little distortive): for the difference between βούλομαι and θέλω LSJ is a better guide than anyone giving false English analogs, which I see no value in pursuing.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:15 am

Word order: Finnish is an inflected language and also has "free" word order, but clearly some word orders are more marked than others. With the risk of pursuing false analogues, I'll still give a few examples. The focalized word I give in italics – note that in the OVS example, it's the last word of the sentence.

SVO: Pekka söi aamiaisen. "Pekka ate breakfast" ("default", unmarked word order)
OSV: Aamiaisen Pekka söi. "Pekka ate breakfast (although he didn't eat lunch)"
VSO: Söi Pekka aamiaisen. "Pekka did eat breakfast (although you claim he didn't)"
OVS: Aamiaisen söi Pekka. "It was Pekka who ate the breakfast (and not someone else)".
SOV: Pekka aamiaisen söi. A strange word order, probably acceptable only in poetry (but common there).
VOS: Söi aamiaisen Pekka. Even stranger than SOV, but certainly also common in poetry.

But what strikes me is that while these distinctions are clear in everyday speech and in prose, in poetry they are blurred – not only is word order is much freer in poetry, but in poetry all six would tend to mean by default the same as the unmarked SVO, and you would need to give more context to make these fine distinctions (or, to put it another way, you could use any of the six to say what would require SVO in prose/everyday speech). Word order in poetry seems to be a very delicate business to me.

I'm sure it doesn't work the same for Greek, but it would be nice to do the same kind of exercise in Greek.

Needless to say, when I want to impress with my Finnish writing, I do a lot of juggling with word order.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby mwh » Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:13 am

I think that's a good point, and it does work the same (more or less) in Greek.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:57 pm

mwh wrote:In response to daivid (see PS):
Yes I see the problem. What makes things difficult for English-speakers, as you’re aware, is that Greek is not a subject-verb-object (SVO) language like English but one whose word order has been described as "free." SVO, OSV, SOV, VOS, VSO, OVS are all perfectly fine. That’s the beauty of an inflected language. When reading it’s essental to register the case endings as you go along. (Eventually this will become unconscious, but meanwhile you have to stop and make sure you know exactly what each word ending is telling you.) Then the sentence structure unfolds before you. (Do not go hunting for the subject, or the verb; just take things in the order in which they come, or you’ll never learn to read with any fluency.) Get comfortable with that procedure, and the difficulties of reading Greek begin to fade away.

Unlike in English, the word order makes little semantic difference. Obviously it makes some, and that’s where it gets interesting, but it’s not a simple matter, or one that can readily be reduced to formula (rules such as “What comes first has salience” only get you so far—only as far as what comes first, in fact). Which is probably why conventional textbooks don’t say much about it (except for attributive/predicative use of the article and for proclitics and enclitics, which aren't really words at all)—it doesn’t fit into the accidence-and-syntax framework that they all use, where there’s right and wrong and little inbetween. Dover’s book could be your guide when you get to that stage. And/or you could get into pragmatics, which has definite advantage over tradiitonal approaches when it comes to elucidating word order. That’s more Dik’s orientation, but she’s developed her own analytical methodology which you have to get on top of, and she’s dealing with tragic dialogue, where word order is slightly deviant. Simon Slings, an excellent Greek scholar, pioneered pragmatics for hellenists, who were shamefully late in taking to it; this was in the early 90’s, and if you have institutional affiliation or access to an academic library you could read his introductory article Written and Spoken Language, a good starting-point.

Less advanced than Dik, and linguistically traditional, would be something like Susan Stephens’ Greek Prose Composition. I seem to remember she has an early chapter on word order (though it might not say much more than I said in my first para. above, which is the all-important one). I don’t myself like the organization of the book (which is much the same as Smyth’s when it come to types of clauses and sentences—I don’t like that either), but you might find it useful.

Word order does matter, but as a rule it’s subtle. Plato is said to have rejuggled the words of the first sentence of the Republic multiple times before he was happy with it. Κατέβην χθὲς εἰς-Πειραιᾶ μετὰ-Γλαύκωνος-τοῦ-Ἀρίστωνος …—16 possible permutations already, any one of which would be perfectly acceptable, and with precious little difference between them.
.


Thanks for all the advice. I'll check out Susan Stephens’ book. I had not heard of her before.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Sat Jul 19, 2014 5:19 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:Word order: Finnish is an inflected language and also has "free" word order, but clearly some word orders are more marked than others. With the risk of pursuing false analogues, I'll still give a few examples. The focalized word I give in italics – note that in the OVS example, it's the last word of the sentence.

SVO: Pekka söi aamiaisen. "Pekka ate breakfast" ("default", unmarked word order)
OSV: Aamiaisen Pekka söi. "Pekka ate breakfast (although he didn't eat lunch)"
VSO: Söi Pekka aamiaisen. "Pekka did eat breakfast (although you claim he didn't)"
OVS: Aamiaisen söi Pekka. "It was Pekka who ate the breakfast (and not someone else)".
SOV: Pekka aamiaisen söi. A strange word order, probably acceptable only in poetry (but common there).
VOS: Söi aamiaisen Pekka. Even stranger than SOV, but certainly also common in poetry.


This from Plut. Caes. 23.2
ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν εἶχεν ὀνομαστήν πρῶτος γὰρ εἰς τὸν ἑσπέριον ' Ὠκεανὸν ἐπέβη στόλῳ, Καὶ διὰ τῆς Ἀτλαντικῆς θαλάττης στρατὸν ἐπὶ πόλεμον κομίζων ἔπλευσε: καὶ νῆσον ἀπιστουμένην ὑπὸ μεγέθους καὶ πολλὴν ἔριν παμπόλλοις συγγραφεῦσι παρασχοῦσαν, ὡς ὄνομα Καὶ λόγος οὐ γενομένης οὐδὲ οὔσης πέπλασται, κατασχεῖν ἐπιθέμενος προήγαγεν ἔξω τῆς οἰκουμένης τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἡγεμονίαν.


Striped down to its basics the first bit seems to me to be
ἡ στρατεία τὴν τόλμαν εἶχεν. The expedition daring had.
That is SOV.

So have I misread it or is this a sign that word order is different in Ancient Greek (and if so what emphasis is implied) or is it that maybe even though Plutarch is writing pose he is giving it a poetical sound?
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jul 19, 2014 6:53 pm

Plut. Caes. 23.2
ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν εἶχεν ὀνομαστήν (here) πρῶτος γὰρ εἰς τὸν ἑσπέριον ' Ὠκεανὸν ἐπέβη στόλῳ, Καὶ διὰ τῆς Ἀτλαντικῆς θαλάττης στρατὸν ἐπὶ πόλεμον κομίζων ἔπλευσε: καὶ νῆσον ἀπιστουμένην ὑπὸ μεγέθους καὶ πολλὴν ἔριν παμπόλλοις συγγραφεῦσι παρασχοῦσαν, ὡς ὄνομα Καὶ λόγος οὐ γενομένης οὐδὲ οὔσης πέπλασται, κατασχεῖν ἐπιθέμενος προήγαγεν ἔξω τῆς οἰκουμένης τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἡγεμονίαν.

(shouldn't there be some punctuation between ὀνομαστήν and πρῶτος?)

daivid wrote:So have I misread it or is this a sign that word order is different in Ancient Greek (and if so what emphasis is implied) or is it that maybe even though Plutarch is writing pose he is giving it a poetical sound?


Sure it must be different. I just wanted to give an example in my own language into what sort of thing I think we a dealing with, since it's the one I know best, and perhaps also open a debate as to how these things work in Greek in comparison. My examples of course only apply to Finnish. Now while Finnish has "free" word order, it's still doesn't mean you could do anything. SVO is the "normal", unmarked order, and in these examples OSV, VSO, OVS carry a special nuance; SOV and VOS (at least in this example) are ungrammatical (or almost) in prose. But in poetry you could argue that word order is really "free" – still not completely free, but so free you could use any of the six, even the "ungrammatical" ones; also, in poetry, the six different examples don't necessarily carry the nuances they would have prose/every day speech (although they still could). What I mean that added "freedom" in word order in poetry also means that the analysis of word order becomes much trickier in poetry than in prose.

I'm still not sure if I've been very clear.

Now I'm not even sure what the unmarked word order is in Greek, and I think it's a subject of debate even among specialists. Maybe SOV? If that's the case, ἡ στρατεία τὴν τόλμαν εἶχεν would be more or less default, certainly not poetic. Anyway, if "default" word order in prose is debated even in Greek prose, what a difficult question word order must be for poetry.

Now, as far as I see, all the following reformulations are grammatical (if not, someone please correct me). But they certainly have some difference in meaning – I can't pinpoint the differences, but I'm sure they are there. Finnish is no help here, except maybe to show what sort of thing to look for. (But compare for example "I have never seen him" vs. "Never have I seen him" or the (I think only marginally grammatical) "Him I have never seen").

ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν εἶχεν ὀνομαστήν
ἡ δὲ στρατεία ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς τὴν μὲν τόλμαν εἶχεν ὀνομαστήν
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν τὴν τόλμαν ἡ μὲν ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία
ἡ δὲ στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν εἶχεν ὀνομαστήν ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς
τὴν δὲ τόλμαν ὀνομαστήν εἶχεν ἡ μὲν ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία
εἶχεν δ᾽ ὀνομαστήν τὴν τόλμαν ἡ μὲν ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:36 pm

daivid wrote:
This from Plut. Caes. 23.2
ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν εἶχεν ὀνομαστήν πρῶτος γὰρ εἰς τὸν ἑσπέριον ' Ὠκεανὸν ἐπέβη στόλῳ, Καὶ διὰ τῆς Ἀτλαντικῆς θαλάττης στρατὸν ἐπὶ πόλεμον κομίζων ἔπλευσε: καὶ νῆσον ἀπιστουμένην ὑπὸ μεγέθους καὶ πολλὴν ἔριν παμπόλλοις συγγραφεῦσι παρασχοῦσαν, ὡς ὄνομα Καὶ λόγος οὐ γενομένης οὐδὲ οὔσης πέπλασται, κατασχεῖν ἐπιθέμενος προήγαγεν ἔξω τῆς οἰκουμένης τὴν Ῥωμαίων ἡγεμονίαν.


Striped down to its basics the first bit seems to me to be
ἡ στρατεία τὴν τόλμαν εἶχεν. The expedition daring had.
That is SOV.

So have I misread it or is this a sign that word order is different in Ancient Greek (and if so what emphasis is implied) or is it that maybe even though Plutarch is writing pose he is giving it a poetical sound?


ἡ δὲ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν εἶχεν ὀνομαστήν

Helma Dik (Word Order Tragic Dialogue p38):
setting —> topic —> focus —> verb —> remainder

ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς limits στρατεία which is the topic. τὴν τόλμαν is focus. εἶχεν has no particular (neutral) salience. Not sure what to do with ὀνομαστήν. Possible focus constituent since it doesn't have an article.
Last edited by C. S. Bartholomew on Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jul 19, 2014 7:51 pm

What's exactly the difference between topic and focus? I'm sure I have read about that but I don't remember. Can you give an example in English?

One more reformulation:
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν

Does this topicalize ὀνομαστήν?
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:06 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:What's exactly the difference between topic and focus? I'm sure I have read about that but I don't remember. Can you give an example in English?

One more reformulation:
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν

Does this topicalize ὀνομαστήν?


I don't think so. Fronting ὀνομαστήν would give it marked salience but wouldn't make it the topic. The topic is defined differently by various practitioners. In a sentence like this from Plutarch the topic is the subject of the verb. It might be thought of as the entity about which the sentence makes a predication. But not all would agree with that.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:13 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:What's exactly the difference between topic and focus? I'm sure I have read about that but I don't remember. Can you give an example in English?

One more reformulation:
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν

Does this topicalize ὀνομαστήν?


I took ὀνομαστήν to simply be an adjective qualifying τόλμαν as in notable courage

topic would be the thing already mentioned or at least understood while the focus is the new stuff.
The British expedition hasn't been mentioned before but in the previous line he talks about Caesar's crossing the Rhine into Germany so, I guess, expeditions sre the theme and hence the British expedition as an example of the same is the topic while the focus is the courage that makes this expedition special.
Does that sound right?
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:15 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Paul Derouda wrote:What's exactly the difference between topic and focus? I'm sure I have read about that but I don't remember. Can you give an example in English?

One more reformulation:
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν

Does this topicalize ὀνομαστήν?


I don't think so. Fronting ὀνομαστήν would give it marked salience but wouldn't make it the topic. The topic is defined differently by various practitioners. In a sentence like this from Plutarch the topic is the subject of the verb. It might be thought of as the entity about which the sentence makes a predication. But not all would agree with that.

Ah. Would ὀνομαστήν be the focus then?

I'd translate "Celebrated (indeed) was the daring of the expedition against the Britons."
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:21 pm

daivid wrote:I took ὀνομαστήν to simply be an adjective qualifying τόλμαν as in notable courage

I don't know; but just to annoy you, compare: :)
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν τὴν τόλμαν ἡ μὲν ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία

(In these reformulations I'm particularly unsure as to what to do with the μὲν. If it seems misplaced, ignore it)

EDIT: There's no question ὀνομαστήν is an adjective qualifying τόλμαν in all my reformulations. What I wonder is whether there's some linguistic term to describe what happens to the word when we juggle with the word order.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:58 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
daivid wrote:I took ὀνομαστήν to simply be an adjective qualifying τόλμαν as in notable courage

I don't know; but just to annoy you, compare: :)
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν ἡ ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία τὴν μὲν τόλμαν
ὀνομαστήν δ᾽ εἶχεν τὴν τόλμαν ἡ μὲν ἐπὶ τοὺς Βρεττανοὺς στρατεία

(In these reformulations I'm particularly unsure as to what to do with the μὲν. If it seems misplaced, ignore it)

EDIT: There's no question ὀνομαστήν is an adjective qualifying τόλμαν in all my reformulations. What I wonder is whether there's some linguistic term to describe what happens to the word when we juggle with the word order.


The way a word like ὀνομαστήν gets moved away from the word it qualifies is the sort of thing that makes real Ancient Greek such a shock for me compared to text-book ancient Greek so this is more of a question than an answer.

First in the original, it seems to me, ὀνομαστήν has been rather starkly from its expected position next to τόλμαν so it is probably already emphasized the way Plutarch wrote.

Your two examples are quite marked in that they break the topic —> focus —> verb default order by bringing the verb to the front. In her book on Herodotus she did deal with just such an example but I can't remember her verdict. I have a fuzzy recolection that this puts the emphasis on the verb.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Mon Jul 21, 2014 7:12 pm

questions with postponed interrogatives, Helma Dik (WO in Gk Trag Dialogue p138ff)

H. Dik gives much more treatment to questions than S. Levinsohn. While Dik's framework is vastly different than Levinsohn's they agree on one point. In questions the interrogative (WH) word is in focus. "Normally" the WH word will be clause initial. Dik has an extensive discussion of postponed interrogatives which I have only just begun to understand.

This morning I was reading some lines in Eur.IA and stopped to consider the clause in line 844a. It might be understood as a Topic-Focus articulation where ὁ γάμος as topic and the interrogative τίν' in focus.

Euripides IA line 884
Klyt.
ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν' εἶχε πρόφασιν, ὧι μ' ἐκόμισεν ἐκ δόμων;

But the marriage for which he brought me from home,
what was the reason for that? David Kovacs 2002.

What I am not certain about is what to do with πρόφασιν. If we take out the interrogative and make it a predication ὁ γάμος εἶχε πρόφασιν then πρόφασιν would be in focus. For that reason it looks to me as if τίν' πρόφασιν is functioning as a focal constituent.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Mon Jul 21, 2014 8:48 pm

I'm a bit at a loss with this focus/topic framework. It sounds logical to me that ὁ γάμος is the topic, but can it be the focus as well, at the same time? Because I think that fronting ὁ γάμος has very marked salience. I'd (over)translate:

ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν' εἶχε πρόφασιν, ὧι μ' ἐκόμισεν ἐκ δόμων;
"And the marriage, for which he took me from home, what was its reason?"
"How about the marriage – what was its reason?"

The speaker wants enquire about a new item or totally change the subject, that's the point of fronting ὁ γάμος. Shouldn't this sort of analysis be able to distinguish between this and, say, the much less marked τίνα πρόφασιν εἶχε ὁ γάμος; ?

So could we say that in this example ὁ γάμος is both topic and focus? (Sorry, I haven't had the time or the possibility to look up anything myself)
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:24 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
This morning I was reading some lines in Eur.IA and stopped to consider the clause in line 844a. It might be understood as a Topic-Focus articulation where ὁ γάμος as topic and the interrogative τίν' in focus.

Euripides IA line 884
Klyt.
ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν' εἶχε πρόφασιν, ὧι μ' ἐκόμισεν ἐκ δόμων;

But the marriage for which he brought me from home,
what was the reason for that? David Kovacs 2002.

What I am not certain about is what to do with πρόφασιν. If we take out the interrogative and make it a predication ὁ γάμος εἶχε πρόφασιν then πρόφασιν would be in focus. For that reason it looks to me as if τίν' πρόφασιν is functioning as a focal constituent.


Given the context it seems to me that Clytemnestra already knows the reason for the supposed marriage - to get her to bring her daughter so that Iphigenia can be sacrificed.

Could the translation be
And the marriage, what purpose did it have - by that means to get me to come from home?

The marriage proposal has up till this moment been in Clytemnestra's mind the purpose of her journey. That really the proposal was never intended to be a real marriage and its only purpose was to get Iphigenia up north is a new and shocking revelation .

If that is on the right lines then the marriage is the topic the given and the πρόφασις is the new and hence the focus.

But my Greek is too shaky for me to feel I am on solid ground in suggesting this.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:43 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:I'm a bit at a loss with this focus/topic framework. It sounds logical to me that ὁ γάμος is the topic, but can it be the focus as well, at the same time? Because I think that fronting ὁ γάμος has very marked salience. I'd (over)translate:

ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν' εἶχε πρόφασιν, ὧι μ' ἐκόμισεν ἐκ δόμων;
"And the marriage, for which he took me from home, what was its reason?"
"How about the marriage – what was its reason?"

The speaker wants enquire about a new item or totally change the subject, that's the point of fronting ὁ γάμος. Shouldn't this sort of analysis be able to distinguish between this and, say, the much less marked τίνα πρόφασιν εἶχε ὁ γάμος; ?

So could we say that in this example ὁ γάμος is both topic and focus? (Sorry, I haven't had the time or the possibility to look up anything myself)


If the conventional order is topic -> focus ->verb then γάμος
is where we would expect if it is the topic.
If so, then being in that position should not give it marked salience.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:21 am

I've been trying to find a basic introduction to topic and focus, whatever I can find with Google. Doesn't look like an easy task. The Wikipedia article on "focus" is worthless, as it fails to fulfil the basic mission of an encyclopedia article, which I think is to explain the concept to someone who doesn't already know it. The one on "topic" doesn't inspire confidence, as it claims that the subject of "The little girl was bitten by the dog" is not "the little girl" - obviously a confusion between the concepts of subject and agent. The articles on "Information structure" and "topicalization" were a bit more helpful.

Apparently fronting and topicalization are almost the same thing. But is it so by definition, or are there other means of topicalization than fronting? Or is it so only for English? As for focus, I still haven't quite grasped the concept.

daivid wrote:If the conventional order is topic -> focus ->verb then γάμος
is where we would expect if it is the topic.
If so, then being in that position should not give it marked salience.

Perhaps I'm totally mixed up with the concepts. But isn't the whole point of topicalization to give marked salience?

τίνα πρόφασιν εἶχε ὁ γάμος; -> "normal" word order
ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν' εἶχε πρόφασιν; -> marked word order, to topicalize ὁ γάμος and give it marked salience

daivid wrote:Could the translation be
And the marriage, what purpose did it have - by that means to get me to come from home?

Well, πρόφασιν isn't really "purpose", it's rather "claimed reason" or even "pretext". I'm not sure how you get "by that means"; as a masculine, ὧι must refer to γάμος.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby daivid » Tue Jul 22, 2014 1:53 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
daivid wrote:If the conventional order is topic -> focus ->verb then γάμος
is where we would expect if it is the topic.
If so, then being in that position should not give it marked salience.

Perhaps I'm totally mixed up with the concepts. But isn't the whole point of topicalization to give marked salience?

It I understand the distiction correctly (and it is more than possible I don't), most sentences will have a topic and a focus. In a continuting story the topic will what has been talked about up to that point. The focus is the new information.
It does start to get bit tricky when deciding which is the topic of the first line of a story/article (or whatever) as nothing has been written that establishes the theme. However, there are things expected/taken as read/given which usually mean it is possible to say what is topical and what is out of the ordinary and therefore the focus.

To take an example, the first line of Chariton's love story is:
Ἑρμοκράτης, ὁ Συρακουσίων στρατηγός, οὗτος ὁ νικήσας Ἀθηναίους, εἶχε θυγατέρα Καλλιρρόην τοὔνομα, θαυμαστόν τι χρῆμα παρθένου καὶ ἄγαλμα τῆς ὅλης Σικελίας:

Hermocrates, the general of the Syracusians, the one who defeated the Athenians, had a daughter Callirhoe by name...
To me it is obvious that Hermocrates is the topic. Chariton is writing for an educated audience who would know of Hermocrates ( or at the very least feel they ought to know of him) while the reader may be expected to be much more hazy about whether he had a daughter at all. Hence the daughter is the focus though of course, having been introduced she quickly becomes the topic.

However, in the bit I translated, as far as I can see, the word order is quite conventional. Nothing is given marked salience but nonetheless there is both a topic and a focus.


Paul Derouda wrote:τίνα πρόφασιν εἶχε ὁ γάμος; -> "normal" word order
ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν' εἶχε πρόφασιν; -> marked word order, to topicalize ὁ γάμος and give it marked salience

daivid wrote:Could the translation be
And the marriage, what purpose did it have - by that means to get me to come from home?

Well, πρόφασιν isn't really "purpose", it's rather "claimed reason" or even "pretext". I'm not sure how you get "by that means"; as a masculine, ὧι must refer to γάμος.

I was I admit struggling with that translation and I no longer remember which I was trying to connect ὧι to.
What I was more focused on was seeing the relative clause as an instrumental dative and to play that aspect up.
The thing is, the line does not express what might be expected for Clytemnestra to say. I would have expected her to say.
"So was the marriage just a pretext, just a means by which to get me to come from home" but that is not what the Greek says. I wonder if Euripides has intended the question to be a somewhat confused combination of what she believed to the case up to this point and what she is being forced unwillingly to see as the reality.

I have great trouble in trouble in translating πρόφασιν as pretext. Being a rank beginner that doesn't signify very much but even David Kovacs translated it as purpose. I wonder if Clytemnestra is intended to be so confused as to start her sentence intending to say one thing and changes the word in midstream.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:22 pm

Sorry, my post was unclear. I don't think πρόφασιν means "pretext" here, it was just a lame attempt to give the larger sense of the word, which according to LSJ is often "alleged motive", whether falsely alleged or not. Kovacs translates "reason", maybe it's not really that different from "purpose". I think πρόφασις often implies that the speaker distances himself from the assertion, but does not always imply total disbelief like "pretext". But I suppose neither "purpose" or "reason" is an exact equivalent, so probably the difference in nuance I thought I was seeing between the two English words doesn't really exist.

Thanks for the Chariton example, that was helpful. I think understand this a bit better.

I wonder if Euripides has intended the question to be a somewhat confused combination of what she believed to the case up to this point and what she is being forced unwillingly to see as the reality.

Yes, I think so. I think what Clytaemestra is really means is (almost) "How about the marriage, was even that a lie?", which is not exactly what she's saying (which I think is "And [the story about] the marriage, for which he took me from home, what was the reason for it?"). I think you're right that ὁ γάμος is the new item she wants to inquire about and therefore topic, while πρόφασιν (or τίνα πρόφασιν) is the focus. So I think I'm finally getting it.

But how about

τίνα πρόφασιν εἶχε ὁ γάμος;

How would you analyse that? As far as I see, ὁ γάμος is still the topic and πρόφασιν (or τίνα πρόφασιν) is the focus; in that case fronting ὁ γάμος would not change either, but would only emphasize the fact that ὁ γάμος is the topic.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:48 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:
But how about

τίνα πρόφασιν εἶχε ὁ γάμος;

How would you analyse that? As far as I see, ὁ γάμος is still the topic and πρόφασιν (or τίνα πρόφασιν) is the focus; in that case fronting ὁ γάμος would not change either, but would only emphasize the fact that ὁ γάμος is the topic.


Euripides IA line 884
Klyt.
ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν' εἶχε πρόφασιν, ὧι μ' ἐκόμισεν ἐκ δόμων;

But the marriage for which he brought me from home,
what was the reason/pretext for that? David Kovacs 2002.


I don't know if ὁ γάμος is fronted here. I think H. Dik considers clause initial Topic the default or unmarked position. The focus constituent is by default toward the end of the clause, so fronting τίν' πρόφασιν would give it marked salience. The focus constituent has natural salience. That is what focus means, the focus is the most salient (or newsworthy) constituent in the predication. But marked salience is something over and above natural salience. For me the distinction between natural and marked salience is a constant source of confusion while reading practitioners of this framework (Dik, Buth, Levinsohn) because the authors don't always tell you what kind of salience they are referring to.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby Paul Derouda » Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:33 am

But you said earlier that in questions the interogative is in focus and the question word is "normally" clause initial - wouldn't that apply here as well? In this case, I think this certainly supports the idea that ὁ γάμος is fronted as the topic and would then acquire marked salience and not just natural salience, as it would as a clause final topic. (I now think that τίνα πρόφασιν should probably be taken together as the focus, not just τίνα.)

But in the end it boils down to how well we know the language. Only if we have a natural feeling for the language we can say if a given word order is marked or not; I can imagine that it's possible to come to conclusions that would be very strange for a native speaker with this sort of framework if one is not careful.

My instinct (for what it's worth), regarless of any theoretical framework, is that ὁ γάμος is fronted in the example, it doesn't feel like the "natural" word order to me. My feeling isn't worth very much of course, but the way I understand it, the framework actually seems to work quite well here.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:03 pm

Paul Derouda wrote:But you said earlier that in questions the interogative is in focus and the question word is "normally" clause initial - wouldn't that apply here as well? In this case, I think this certainly supports the idea that ὁ γάμος is fronted as the topic and would then acquire marked salience and not just natural salience, as it would as a clause final topic. (I now think that τίνα πρόφασιν should probably be taken together as the focus, not just τίνα.)

But in the end it boils down to how well we know the language. Only if we have a natural feeling for the language we can say if a given word order is marked or not; I can imagine that it's possible to come to conclusions that would be very strange for a native speaker with this sort of framework if one is not careful.

My instinct (for what it's worth), regarless of any theoretical framework, is that ὁ γάμος is fronted in the example, it doesn't feel like the "natural" word order to me. My feeling isn't worth very much of course, but the way I understand it, the framework actually seems to work quite well here.


Paul,

You are right. The question word is "normally" clause initial. But if it were not a question then ὁ γάμος would not have marked salience in clause initial position. Helma Dik has a different take on "postponed interrogatives" which I may not be able to explain well. She claims that locating the interrogative after a constituent which would "normally" be clause initial, e.g. topic, does not reduce the salience of the question word. She gives many examples from Plato, Tragedy. Dik cites Givon[1] language users "attend first to the most urgent task." If the most urgent task is to give a point of orientation that will precede the question word. The topic gives a point of orientation, many questions do not require a topic and in these the question word will be clause initial. The topic has natural salience. According to Dik having a topic before the question word doesn't alter the salience of either the topic or the question word.

According to H. Dik, setting is another type of pragmatic function that gives a point of orientation and it is found before the question word. So you might find both setting and topic before the the question word.



[1] T. Givon, Topic Continuity in Discourse ..., 1983, p20
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jul 23, 2014 7:46 pm

exceptions are inevitable:

Soph. El 1398-1402

Ἠλέκτρα
ὦ φίλταται γυναῖκες, ἅνδρες αὐτίκα
τελοῦσι τοὔργον: ἀλλὰ σῖγα πρόσμενε.
Χορός
1400
πῶς δή; τί νῦν πράσσουσιν;
Ἠλέκτρα
ἡ μὲν ἐς τάφον
λέβητα κοσμεῖ, τὼ δ᾽ ἐφέστατον πέλας.
Χορός
σὺ δ᾽ ἐκτὸς ᾖξας πρὸς τί;

One way of looking at this; perhaps we have two clauses in 1402:

σὺ δ᾽ ἐκτὸς ᾖξας You rushed outside. (A statement) σὺ TOPIC, ἐκτὸς ᾖξας FOCUS.
πρὸς τί; Why was that?

H. Dik talks about this on page 146. Her explanation is not as simple as my suggestion.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Jul 24, 2014 6:28 pm

When you venture beyond the safe, simple examples into more dubious territory the topic - focus way of doing things begins to fall apart. This morning I was looking for another question and found an intersting one in Euripides IA 890:

Klyt. σὺ δὲ τάδ', ὦ γέρον, πόθεν φὴις εἰδέναι πεπυσμένος;

But you, old man, where is it you say you heard these things?

The question word πόθεν "where" is in focus and is preceded by the topic τάδ "these things" which is all fine and good but what about the the fronted pronoun and vocative constituent σὺ δὲ ... ὦ γέρον? I discovered that H. Dik disucsses this example on page 159. She suggests we have two levels of topics here in hierarchical relationship. I don't follow that.

The pronoun+vocative redirects our attention to a matter which wasn't being discussed. The former topic was the marriage hoax perpetrated by Agamemnon, now the topic is the source of the information offered by the old man.

It appears that accounting for two clause initial constituents in front of a question word finds the textlinguistics in disagreement. Dik reports that another practitioner Luigi Battezzato[1] has a different analysis. People who read Italian will find numerous publications by Battezzato on similar topics here:
http://www.sns.it/en/didattica/lettere/ ... attezzato/


Κλυταιμήστρα
ὁ δὲ γάμος τίν᾽ εἶχε πρόφασιν, ᾧ μ᾽ ἐκόμισεν ἐκ δόμων;
Πρεσβύτης
885
ἵν᾽ ἀγάγοις χαίρουσ᾽ Ἀχιλλεῖ παῖδα νυμφεύσουσα σήν.
Κλυταιμήστρα
ὦ θύγατερ, ἥκεις ἐπ᾽ ὀλέθρῳ καὶ σὺ καὶ μήτηρ σέθεν.
Πρεσβύτης
οἰκτρὰ πάσχετον δύ᾽ οὖσαι: δεινὰ δ᾽ Ἀγαμέμνων ἔτλη.
Κλυταιμήστρα
οἴχομαι τάλαινα, δακρύων τ᾽ ὄμματ᾽ οὐκέτι στέγω.
Πρεσβύτης
εἴπερ ἀλγεινὸν τὸ τέκνων στερόμενον, δακρυρρόει.
Κλυταιμήστρα
890
σὺ δὲ τάδ᾽, ὦ γέρον, πόθεν φῂς εἰδέναι πεπυσμένος;
Πρεσβύτης
δέλτον ᾠχόμην φέρων σοι πρὸς τὰ πρὶν γεγραμμένα.


[1] Luigi Battezzato ‘Pragmatica e retorica delle frasi interrogative in Euripide’, Materiali e Discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici 44 (2000) page 147.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Wed Jul 30, 2014 8:03 pm

Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus 147-150

Ὦ παῖδες, ἱστώμεσθα· τῶνδε γὰρ χάριν
καὶ δεῦρ' ἔβημεν ὧν ὅδ' ἐξαγγέλλεται.
Φοῖβος δ' ὁ πέμψας τάσδε μαντείας ἅμα
σωτήρ θ' ἵκοιτο καὶ νόσου παυστήριος.

My children, let us rise. What we came to seek, this man promises of his own accord. And may Phoebus, who sent these oracles, [150] come to us as savior and deliverer from the pestilence. R.C. Jebb


Luigi Battezzato applies a Topic-Focus analysis to OT 149-150. I wouldn't choose this as a text to illustrate Topic-Focus articulation. Φοῖβος is the topic. ὁ πέμψας τάσδε μαντείας limits Φοῖβος. The optative ἵκοιτο which has arguments joined by καὶ is treated as a predication with both σωτήρ and νόσου παυστήριος in focus. This analysis makes a certain amount of sense but it also invites confusion. Transforming the text into a predication or treating a wish as if it were a statement might seem like an innocent procedure but I am not sure about that.


[1] The language of Sophocles, Luigi Battezzato (2012)
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Jul 31, 2014 7:20 pm

Soph. OT 445-446

Οἰδ
κομιζέτω δῆθ᾽· ὡς παρὼν σύ γ᾽ ἐμποδὼν 445
ὀχλεῖς, συθείς τ᾽ ἂν οὐκ ἂν  λγύνοις πλέον.

Yes, lead him away. As long as you are here,
you will be a stumbling block and vexation. (adapted from David Grene 1942)

This might be used to illustrate clause final focus. The topic is the presence of Teiresias, παρὼν σύ and the focus is what that presence entails, ἐμποδὼν ὀχλεῖς. But it isn't a strong example since there are no significant constituents that separate the topic from the focus.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Aug 01, 2014 10:26 pm

Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus 463

Χορός

τίς ὅντιν᾽ ἁ θεσπιέπεια Δελφὶς εἶπε πέτρα
ἄρρητ᾽ ἀρρήτων τελέσαντα φοινίαισι χερσίν;
ὥρα νιν ἀελλάδων
ἵππων σθεναρώτερον
φυγᾷ πόδα νωμᾶν.


The clause beginning with ὥρα νιν analysis as a Topic-Focus articulation:

ὥρα is the topic νιν νωμᾶν the focus, everything else limits the focus constituent.
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby mwh » Wed Aug 20, 2014 7:33 pm

C. S. Bartholomew wrote:
Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus 147-150

Ὦ παῖδες, ἱστώμεσθα· τῶνδε γὰρ χάριν
καὶ δεῦρ' ἔβημεν ὧν ὅδ' ἐξαγγέλλεται.
Φοῖβος δ' ὁ πέμψας τάσδε μαντείας ἅμα
σωτήρ θ' ἵκοιτο καὶ νόσου παυστήριος.

My children, let us rise. What we came to seek, this man promises of his own accord. And may Phoebus, who sent these oracles, [150] come to us as savior and deliverer from the pestilence. R.C. Jebb


Luigi Battezzato applies a Topic-Focus analysis to OT 149-150. I wouldn't choose this as a text to illustrate Topic-Focus articulation. Φοῖβος is the topic. ὁ πέμψας τάσδε μαντείας limits Φοῖβος. The optative ἵκοιτο which has arguments joined by καὶ is treated as a predication with both σωτήρ and νόσου παυστήριος in focus. This analysis makes a certain amount of sense but it also invites confusion. Transforming the text into a predication or treating a wish as if it were a statement might seem like an innocent procedure but I am not sure about that.


[1] The language of Sophocles, Luigi Battezzato (2012)

Certainly a wish is not a statement but surely the fact that the verb is optative not indicative makes no difference to a topic:focus analysis? (Naturally it would make a difference to a more broadly pragmatic analysis.) Battezzato doesn’t actually use the term "predication," but if he did, he’d only be using the conventional term for the non-subject/non-topic elements of the sentence. I don’t see any objection to his using this sentence to illustrate topic and focus elements. At the same time I don’t see that anything is gained by analysing it so.

My disagreement with Battezzato here would be that he treats the sentence as having two main clauses, whereas I would take it as having only one, σωτηρ and νοσου παυστηριος both being predicative with the single main verb ικοιτο. The function of αμα … τε … και is to link these two predicates (“arguments,” if you will), and ικοιτο falls outside of them (syntactically speaking). As in “This sentence is simultaneously difficult and easy.”
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:45 pm

Soph. Oedipus tyrannus 564

Ἐμνήσατ' οὖν ἐμοῦ τι τῷ τότ' ἐν χρόνῳ;

Did he make any mention of me at that time?

τῷ here construes with ?

τότ' alone or
τότ' ἐν χρόνῳ
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Re: textlinguistics and Attic poetry/tragedy

Postby mwh » Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:53 pm

In prose it would be εν τω τοτε χρονω, "in the then time." τω τοτε is attributive with χρονω, cf. e.g. οἱ νῦν βασιλεῖς. Unusual to have it brought forward ahead of the preposition.

(This will be my last post for a while, if I can stick to my resolve.)
Last edited by mwh on Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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