I have uploaded my paper, “Argument Structure in Hellenistic Greek” to two places. You can read it here at Greek-Language.com at the following location:
You can also view it at Academia.edu.
This paper is an updated version of one I presented at a national meeting of the SBL in the late 1990s. A slightly updated version was published by Forum, the journal of the Westar Institute in 1999 under the title “From the Lexicon to the Sentence: Argument Structure in Hellenistic Greek.”
This latest version lays out my proposals for information that should be included in an electronic lexicon of Hellenistic Greek. Serious advances in digital technology have made it possible to include information about syntactic and semantic relationships that would have been impractical only a few years ago, and in the context of the work that Jonathan Robie and I are doing on using XML to structure and query databases, I decided it was time to make my most recent proposals easier to locate.
Have any of you read the following article in the current issue of the Journal of Greek Linguistics? It sounds interesting, but it costs $30 to download. Is it worth the money?
The Greek Perfect through Gothic Eyes: Evidence for the Existence of a Unitary Semantic for the Greek Perfect in New Testament Greek
Post a comment if you have read it.
I have added Mike Aubrey’s thesis, The Greek perfect and the categorization of tense and aspect, to the bibliography at Greek-Language.com. When I finish reading it I’ll add some comments, but I wanted to go ahead and get it listed since it clearly meets the criteria for inclusion.
Mike Aubrey has uploaded his anxiously awaited thesis to Academia.edu:
The Greek perfect and the categorization of tense and aspect: Toward a descriptive apparatus for operators in Role and Reference Grammar
Click on the title to download a copy or read it online.
Mike has posted two reflections on his blog that you will find very helpful as you read his thesis. I’ve included links to those reflections below along with what he says about their value:
If you’re a Greek student/scholar. I would encourage you to read the two posts dedicated to discussing my thesis. This is because it’s not a work that’s oriented toward biblical scholars [or] to classicists. It’s a work by a linguist for linguists. The two posts I’ve put up […] on my blog are designed to provide some orientation for people whose primary interest is Greek rather than linguistics proper.
Part I: Challenges in language analysis: thesis prefatory material
Part II: Thesis Prefatory Material: A Narrative Account
Here’s the abstract that Mike included on Academia.edu:
This thesis attempts to expand the theoretical and methodological basis for operators within Role and Reference Grammar for purposes of language description, using the Greek perfect as a test case. This requires first examining the current theoretical and methodological approach to tense and aspect in RRG and its strengths and weaknesses. Here I demonstrate that while some areas of RRG have a well-developed and robust set of theoretical and descriptive tools for language description, operators such as tense and aspect are distinctly lacking in this regard. To that end, I propose a model for tense and aspect operators that attempts to fill in the gaps that exist in RRG while also maintaining the integrity and spirit of the linguistic theory. This involves three steps. I begin with a survey of the broader typological literature on tense and aspect in order to establish a set of morphosyntactic tests for the evaluation and categorization of operators. This is followed by an application of the proposed morphosyntactic tests to a particular grammatical problem: the Greek Perfect in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the tests. I then concluded with a synthetic model for tense and aspect operators that both satisfies the theoretical and typological claims of the broader literature and also validates the existing structure of the Role and Reference Grammar framework, thereby furthering the goals of RRG as a useful theoretical model for language description.
I encourage you to take the time to look at Mike’s work.
I had the privilege this Sunday of hearing a spectacular sermon by Rev. Stephanie Ford on the Magnificat. When the text was read before the sermon I noticed something that raised for me a question about translation and cultural assumptions.
The translation being read rendered Luke 1:48 as
God has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.
It is the second of these lines that concerns me. The Greek text reads:
ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν μακαριοῦσίν με πᾶσαι αἱ γενεαί
Does the verb μακαρίζω really mean “call blessed” here? In the ancient world one did not “call” someone blessed, but simply bless that person. It was a speech act. That act of making a positive statement about someone’s future was to bless that person (μακαρίζω).
The interpretive difference this raises has to do with who is doing the blessing. To translate μακαρίζω as “call [someone] blessed” suggests that it is not the speaker who is doing the blessing. The speaker is simply reporting the fact of “blessedness.” In both Classical and Hellenistic Greek, though, it appears to me that the subject of μακαρίζω is the person doing the blessing, not someone else reporting about the blessing.
This issue did not come up in the sermon, which addressed more pressing matters and related the Magnificat fabulously to issues of justice that still should concern us in the 21st century.
Do you want to learn to say “Merry Christmas” in Greek? View this post from 2010 to hear the phrase and read a little explanation.
I wish all of you a beautiful and joyous Christmas.
In case you want to say “Happy Thanksgiving” in Ancient Greek to any of your friends, here’s the way to do it.
Εὐτυχής ἡμέρα τῶν εὐχαριστιῶν
Εὐτυχής does not mean “happy,” but the expression εὐτυχής ἡμέρα τῶν εὐχαριστίων would be the equivalent phrase to “Happy Thanksgiving.” The adjective, εὐτυχής has an implication of success or good fortune.
This weekend I met with Mike Aubrey, Jonathan Robie, Randall Tan, James Tauber, Andy Wu, and several others to think about the future of Greek Computational Linguistics. Four of these I had previously known only through the Internet. It was nice to finally meet them in person. The other, Jonathan Robie, was my co-presenter at SBL.
If you want to see some of what is to come in the presentation that Jonathan Robie and I will make at SBL on Monday afternoon, check out the following posts on the B-Greek forum:
If you won’t be in San Diego, you can still participate in the discussion through the B-Greek forum!
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, check out this earlier post.