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".
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.
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!)
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.
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
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.