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Attributive vs. Predicate

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Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:38 pm

Smyth 911:

A predicate substantive or adjective may often be distinguished from an attributive ( cross912) in that the former implies some form of εἶναι be. Thus, πρεσβευτήν and εὐτυχῆ in 910. After verbs signifying to name or call, εἶναι is sometimes expressed ( cross1615)

Smyth 914:

Under adjectives are included participles: ὁ μέλλων (attrib.) πόλεμος the future war, ταῦτα εἰπὼν (pred.) ἀπῄειν saying this he went off, ὁρῶ σε κρύπτοντα (pred.) I see you hiding.

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Putting these together, how does ταῦτα εἰπὼν ἀπῄειν or ὁρῶ σε κρύπτοντα "impl[y] some form of εἶναι be"?
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby daivid » Mon Feb 11, 2013 3:48 pm

pster wrote:Smyth 911:

A predicate substantive or adjective may often be distinguished from an attributive ( cross912) in that the former implies some form of εἶναι be.
----------------------

Putting these together, how does ταῦτα εἰπὼν ἀπῄειν or ὁρῶ σε κρύπτοντα "impl[y] some form of εἶναι be"?

Ummm "I see you to be hiding"? sort of.

I think the operative word is "often". Where there is an implied εἶναι then then the adjective
is certainly a predicate but where there is no obvious εἶναι then one needs to look for other signs.
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Mon Feb 11, 2013 4:25 pm

"Often" applies to the distinguishing from attributive not to the presence of εἶναι.
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby daivid » Mon Feb 11, 2013 7:37 pm

pster wrote:"Often" applies to the distinguishing from attributive not to the presence of εἶναι.


Rereading it, it still seems to me that often applies to both together.

But you may be right.

However, if Smyth really intend that you should be able to spot a εἶναι in "ὁρῶ σε κρύπτοντα"
then to use his rule you need to learn to spot something which is just as hard as the original problem.
If so it strikes me that Smyth isn't giving helpful advice here.
I hope it will turn out that it is not so.
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby spiphany » Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:44 pm

ὁρῶ σε κρύπτοντα is arguably an indirect statement: I see that you are hiding (verbs of seeing taking a predicate complement rather than an infinitive)

I'm honestly not sure how helpful it is to make a strict distinction between predicate and attributive, particularly when you're dealing with particles and such -- all it really comes down to in the end is how they function in the context of the sentence & in relation to other words: are you using the adjective to assert new information, possibly an action or change of state (predicative) or are you making it a quality of the noun that in some way further defines precisely what you're talking about (attributive). A predicative adjective can form a sentence all by itself, an attributive adjective is merely an adjunct to a noun and there's some other verb which is more important.
It's the difference between: I see the man hiding and I see the hidden man.

To further complicate this: theoretically, because the example is an anarthrous construction (no article), it could be either predicative or attributive. However:
The fact that κρύπτοντα agrees with "σε" probably pushes it in the direction of being a predicative adjective because it's hard to use modifiers with pronouns (the whole point of pronouns is that they're shorthand for noun phrases, and that it's clear what is being referred to -- modifying a pronoun with an attributive adj is possible but generally rather odd)
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:43 pm

Thanks to both of you.

Spiphany, you seem to start out by saying the distinction is problematic, but then you draw the lines quite clearly in terms of function. The problem is that Smyth builds on it. And seems to treat it as though it is unproblematic. It is actually later sections that really have me confused, but I've been driven back to get clear on fundamentals.

Daivid, you may be right. If the implication isn't universal, then Smyth's construction is poor.

I got frustrated because the English use of participles is different and seems to just confuse matters vis a vis the copula.
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:47 pm

Smyth 1150:

A predicate noun has no article, and is thus distinguished from the subject: καλεῖται ἡ ἀκρόπολις ἔτι ὑπ' Ἀθηναίων πόλις the acropolis is still called ‘city’ by the Athenians T. 2.15.

I don't remember ever learning this.

And somehow this prompts me to ask: Can we say that εἰπὼν and κρύπτοντα are necessarily predicate simply because they have no article? So spiphany when you say that because it is anarthrous, it can be either, is that correct? As you can see, I don't know matters anarthrous very well, but can you give me any example of an attributive participle without an article?
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby spiphany » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:09 pm

Just so we're clear, Smyth 1150 is talking about a situation where you have two nouns, not a noun (or pronoun) & an adj. So it's not immediately relevant for the issue we were discussing (determining whether an adjective is predicative or attributive). But it's relevant in a larger way to the general problem of how we decide what makes a word "predicative" or "attributive".

Ok, so the thing is, in beginning Greek we learn a set of rules about how to tell whether an adjective is attributive or predicative. I'm assuming you're familiar with them, but I'll list them for illustrative purposes. Rules which all depend on the relationship of the adjective to any articles in the sentence. eg:
ὁ ἀγαθός ἀνὴρ = attributive
ἀγαθός ὁ ἀνὴρ = predicative
ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός = predicative
ὁ ἀνὴρ ὁ ἀγαθός = attributive
And that if you have two nouns, the one with the article will be the subject, and the one without will be predicative.

But what if you have no article at all -- ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός or ἀγαθός ἀνὴρ? This sort of thing happens sometimes, even in prose, and more often in drama or poetry.
Right. And what if you have two nouns, neither of which has an article, or both of which have an article? How do you decide which is predicative and which is attributive? You no longer have these nice tidy rules telling you which thing is which, so what do you do -- you look at context, right?

This is part of what I was getting at with my comment that I'm not sure looking for rigid distinctions is terribly useful. Yes, in the end you can usually look at a sentence and explain why a particular usage is attributive or predicative, and how it affects the meaning. But it really is about meaning, about language as something used to communicate ideas, not as a code which can be deciphered by checking off a list of rules and paragraph numbers.
I'm not saying that this is is what you're doing. But one problem with Smyth -- as useful as his grammar is for a ton of things -- is that his approach seems to encourage this sort of attitude. It's not his fault, it's simply the way linguistics was done in his day. And there are limits to it. I think you're running up against those, and I guess I was trying to say that I'm not sure it's worth breaking your head over, that going in circles from one cross-reference to another in Smyth isn't likely to lead to enlightenment. It's great for working out the mechanics of Greek, but in the end it can't tell you why a particular author chose to express something the way he did.
However -- I'm not really a classicist, but rather a literary scholar. As much as I enjoy talking about the finer points of Greek grammar, you're not going to find me publishing an edition of Plato, ever. So it's possible there are aspects to this discussion which are relevant to someone working in a traditional textual criticism/philological framework, but which I'm missing because these issues are simply not important to me.

BTW there's a short review of Stéphanie J. Bakker's The Noun Phrase in Ancient Greek here: http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2010/2010-05-17.html
I haven't read the book, but the review summarizes the author's points fairly well -- she's working within the framework of modern discourse linguistics, so the theoretical background is quite different than someone like Smyth. I don't know if you'll find the review helpful, but obviously I'm sympathetic to the author's approach of looking at meaning in context rather than abstract rules.
IPHIGENIE: Kann uns zum Vaterland die Fremde werden?
ARKAS: Und dir ist fremd das Vaterland geworden.
IPHIGENIE: Das ist's, warum mein blutend Herz nicht heilt.
(Goethe, Iphigenie auf Tauris)
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:28 pm

Thanks spiphany. I forgot about poetry. My attitude at the moment is that I don't care about poetry. I've decided that I am just going to focus on the grammar for historians. Even philosophy annoys me.

Yeah, I don't recommend others spend a bunch of time with Smyth, but at this moment, I'm too deep into it to stop. And 1150 was worth some trouble. I did not know that. (I'm actually semi-stalled on about six Smyth sections at the moment. :? )

I'll have some more thoughts later. But if you come up with a prose example with no article yet with an attributive participle, let me know. :mrgreen:

Thanks.
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:28 pm

spiphany wrote:Just so we're clear, Smyth 1150 is talking about a situation where you have two nouns, not a noun (or pronoun) & an adj. So it's not immediately relevant for the issue we were discussing (determining whether an adjective is predicative or attributive). But it's relevant in a larger way to the general problem of how we decide what makes a word "predicative" or "attributive".



Correct. That's why I said, "somehow this prompts me to ask".

spiphany wrote:
But what if you have no article at all -- ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός or ἀγαθός ἀνὴρ? This sort of thing happens sometimes, even in prose, and more often in drama or poetry.
Right. And what if you have two nouns, neither of which has an article, or both of which have an article?



As I said, I almost never encounter the no article situation reading prose. As for the case of both having an article, we can read it either way.

spiphany wrote:
This is part of what I was getting at with my comment that I'm not sure looking for rigid distinctions is terribly useful.



I'm not actually looking for rigid distinctions. All I'm trying to do is understand some sections of the single best grammar in English where the author proceeds as though his distinctions are clear. If he said, it's not always clear, then I would have no problem with it. But he invokes a distinction, then when I go back to get clear on it, I get confused. (See new example below the dotted line!)

spiphany wrote:
Yes, in the end you can usually look at a sentence and explain why a particular usage is attributive or predicative, and how it affects the meaning. But it really is about meaning, about language as something used to communicate ideas, not as a code which can be deciphered by checking off a list of rules and paragraph numbers.


I think this is a little fast. I would say that it is a matter both of semantics and syntax, and also pragmantics.

spiphany wrote:I'm not saying that this is is what you're doing. But one problem with Smyth -- as useful as his grammar is for a ton of things -- is that his approach seems to encourage this sort of attitude. It's not his fault, it's simply the way linguistics was done in his day.


I was under the impression that the approach today is even more formal, ie with more focus on syntax and even less on semantics. Indeed, isn't the most devestating critique of modern linguistics a la Chomsky that the exclusive focus on some kind of Cartesian innate grammar, pigheadedly ignoring semantic matters and especially pragmatic matters because they don't measure up to some crude positivistic conception of science, has doomed it to failure? So, I'm not sure that there is less semantics in 19th century works than 20th century.

spiphany wrote:
And there are limits to it. I think you're running up against those, and I guess I was trying to say that I'm not sure it's worth breaking your head over, that going in circles from one cross-reference to another in Smyth isn't likely to lead to enlightenment. It's great for working out the mechanics of Greek, but in the end it can't tell you why a particular author chose to express something the way he did.
However -- I'm not really a classicist, but rather a literary scholar. As much as I enjoy talking about the finer points of Greek grammar, you're not going to find me publishing an edition of Plato, ever. So it's possible there are aspects to this discussion which are relevant to someone working in a traditional textual criticism/philological framework, but which I'm missing because these issues are simply not important to me.

BTW there's a short review of Stéphanie J. Bakker's The Noun Phrase in Ancient Greek here: http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/2010/2010-05-17.html
I haven't read the book, but the review summarizes the author's points fairly well -- she's working within the framework of modern discourse linguistics, so the theoretical background is quite different than someone like Smyth. I don't know if you'll find the review helpful, but obviously I'm sympathetic to the author's approach of looking at meaning in context rather than abstract rules.


Well, as for her methodology: It seems to me that she has more abstract rules than Smyth. So, to repeat what I said above, I just don't see the 20-21st centuries as being closer to semantic concerns than the 19th. When she writes, "a definite article is appropriate if the speaker presents the referent in question as unequivocally relatable to an available cognitive structure that is relevant in the given discourse", I just don't see how that qualifies as "looking at meaning in context rather than abstract rules". It seems to be about as abstract as one can get. The 19th century folks seem to be more knowledgeable about the texts, less burdened by modern lingusitic fads, and so actually closer to the semantics.

As for the content of her book: It seems interesting. If it were on Thucydides, I would be more interested. I looked on JSTOR and couldn't find any reviews of it yet. And it is hard to really understand the rules that she comes up with from that review. The reviewer does a good job, but it is just too short to really press it. Although, it certainly enriched my perspective on where the current state of our knowledge is.

----------------------------------------------------

OK, now for some meaning in context:

1320 Smyth says:

The genitive to denote quality occurs chiefly as a predicate.

ἐὼν τρόπου ἡσυχίου being of a peaceful disposition Hdt. 1.107, οἱ δέ τινες τῆς αὐτῆς γνώμης ὀλίγοι κατέφυγον but some few of the same opinion fled T. 3.70....

Here is the whole quote from Th. 3.70:

οἱ δ᾽ ἐπειδὴ τῷ τε νόμῳ ἐξείργοντο καὶ ἅμα ἐπυνθάνοντο τὸν Πειθίαν, ἕως ἔτι βουλῆς ἐστί, μέλλειν τὸ πλῆθος ἀναπείσειν τοὺς αὐτοὺς Ἀθηναίοις φίλους τε καὶ ἐχθροὺς νομίζειν, ξυνίσταντό τε καὶ λαβόντες ἐγχειρίδια ἐξαπιναίως ἐς τὴν βουλὴν ἐσελθόντες τόν τε Πειθίαν κτείνουσι καὶ ἄλλους τῶν τε βουλευτῶν καὶ ἰδιωτῶν ἐς ἑξήκοντα: οἱ δέ τινες τῆς αὐτῆς γνώμης τῷ Πειθίᾳ ὀλίγοι ἐς τὴν Ἀττικὴν τριήρη κατέφυγον ἔτι παροῦσαν.

Why is that predicate?

Thanks in advance.
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:43 pm

I think I just figured it out. I'm so dumb. It's because oligoi is an adjective. I'm so used to it being a substantive. All I had to do was read it off the syntax! :mrgreen:

Don't worry, I'll probably come up with another puzzle shortly!

UPDATE: OK, not so dumb after all. Is oligoi predicate also? It seems there would have to be another article if it were attributive. So is oligoi predicate??
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Re: Attributive vs. Predicate

Postby pster » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:03 pm

Here is the whole Smyth section:

The genitive to denote quality occurs chiefly as a predicate.

ἐὼν τρόπου ἡσυχίου being of a peaceful disposition Hdt. 1.107, οἱ δέ τινες τῆς αὐτῆς γνώμης ὀλίγοι κατέφυγον but some few of the same opinion fled T. 3.70, ταῦτα παμπόλλων ἐστὶ λόγων this calls for a thorough discussion P. L. 642a, θεωρήσατ' αὐτόν, μὴ ὁποτέρου τοῦ λόγου, ἀλλ' ὁποτέρου τοῦ βίου ἐστίν consider, not the manner of his speech, but the manner of his life Aes. 3.168, εἰ δοκεῖ ταῦτα καὶ δαπάνης μεγάλης καὶ πόνων πολλῶν καὶ πρα_γματεία_ς εἶναι if these matters seem to involve great expense and much toil and trouble D. 8.48.

a. The attributive use occurs in poetry: χόρτων εὐδένδρων Εὐρώπα_ς Europe with its pastures amid fair trees E. I. T. 134, λευκῆς χιόνος πτέρυξ a wing white as snow (of white snow) S. Ant. 114.

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So there are seven examples. Five predicate and two attributive.

Hdt. 1.107: clearly predicate because of the copula.

T. 3.70: not sure why it is predicate. LSJ tell us:
b. in Philosophic writers, τις is added to the Art. to show that the Art. is used to denote a particular individual who is not specified in the general formula, although he would be in the particular case, ὁ τὶς ἄνθρωπος the individual man (whoever he may be), this or that man, opp. ἄνθρωπος (man in general), ὁ τὶς ἵππος, ἡ τὶς γραμματική, Arist.Cat.1b4, 8; τὸ τὶ μέγεθος, opp. ὅλως τὸ μέγεθος, Id.Pol.1283a4, cf. S.E.P.2.223; but in “ἑνὸς γὰρ τό γε τὶ φήσεις σημεῖον εἶναι” Pl.Sph.237d, the Art. is used as in Il. cc. s.v. ὁ, ἡ“, τό” B.1.5: later ὅ τις (or ὁ τὶς) much like ὁ δεῖνα, δεῦρο ὅ τις θεός, ὄφθητί μοι in a general formula of invocation, PMag.Par.1.236; αἴρω σε, ἥ τις βοτάνη ib.287; εἰς τήν τινα κρείαν (leg. χρείαν) ib.289.

P. L. 642a: clearly predicate because of the copula.

Aes. 3.168: clearly predicate because of the copula.

D. 8.48: clearly predicate because of the copula.

E. I. T. 134 and S. Ant. 114: I looked these up and both seem pretty clearly attributive.


So it is really just this Thucydides quote that is the problem. The LSJ is quite perplexing. And it's not easy to track down the examples. And if we stare at the context and the meaning of it, it really looks attributive because it tells who exactly fled. :(
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