Introduction to Grammar and Verbless Clauses


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  • Note – see Hewett 2009: 11 for 6 types of sentences.
  • Introduction to Grammar and Verbless Clauses

    1. 1. Introduction to Grammar and Verbless Clauses J. Brian Tucker, Ph.D. Michigan Theological Seminary 10th September 2009 No sound yet
    2. 2. 3.1. Introduction: Terminology and Concepts <ul><li>These introductory sections are preparatory and will be covered in-depth in your textual hermeneutics class. If you have questions about some of these concepts, that class is the first port of call. </li></ul>
    3. 3. 3.1.1. Lexical/Word Categories <ul><li>Word categories = lexical categories. </li></ul><ul><li>Why is this important? </li></ul><ul><li>Often in class I will ask you to give me the lexical category for a word, I am asking you to tell me if the word is a noun, verb, adjective, conjunction, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Hints: if asked this question: check the spelling of the word it may give you a hint. This is a function of its morphology, s.v. </li></ul><ul><li>Other helpful information: syntax focuses on the way words function in relation to other words in the sentence or clause, s.v.. </li></ul>
    4. 4. 3.1.2. Morphology <ul><li>Morphology deals with spelling patterns within a lexical category. Memorize: A morpheme is a minimal word/spelling unit with associated meaning . </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A sound that has a possible grammatical meaning is called a morpheme. The letter s in “cats” is not a word, but it is a morpheme because it signals plurality (“cats”). Some morphemes are combination of letters, such as –ed , which signals past action: I lov ed cats yesterday, and I will love them tomorrow. When the letter a is attached to the front of a word, it becomes more than a meaningless phoneme; it becomes a morpheme and might signal a negation of the word’s meaning: I once was a theist, but I am now an a theist’ (Hewett 2009: 1-2). </li></ul>
    5. 5. 3.1.2. Morphology <ul><li>Morphology is concerned with discerning predictable patterns of spelling, i.e. singular, plural, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Inflection: ‘refers to changing the form of a word to changes its grammatical property correlations: i.e. altering the spelling to denote number (singular vs. plural), gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter), tense (past vs. present)’ (Kunjummen 2009: 17-18) . Case is also inflected: ‘nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative’. </li></ul><ul><li>For nominals I will ask you for GNC. That stands for gender, number, and case. So, you might answer, ‘masculine, singular, nominative’ s.v. </li></ul>
    6. 6. 3.1.3. Syntax <ul><li>‘ Syntax deals with how words combine with other words to generate meaning (i.e. grammatically valid) phrases, clauses, and sentences’ (Kunjummen 2009: 18). </li></ul><ul><li>Syntax is concerned with ‘the internal rules by which a language functions’ (Kunjummen 2009: 18). </li></ul><ul><li>Position of a word in a sentence is most helpful in determining its syntactical function in English but in Greek ‘the spelling pattern’ is that which will ‘tell us if a Greek word is a noun or a verb’ (Kunjummen 2009: 18). </li></ul><ul><li>Memorize: Whether a Greek word is a noun or verb is shown mainly be spelling patterns – how the word ends . </li></ul>
    7. 7. 3.1.4. Lexical Categories and their Properties <ul><li>This section introduces you to the properties of the primary lexical categories you will work with in your study of Greek. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Nominals <ul><li>Noun-like entities: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and the article. All of these will have GNC [gender, number, case]; except 1 st and 2 nd person pronouns which are not distinguished for gender. So, make sure you can identify a nominal’s GNC before you conclude you know the word. </li></ul><ul><li>Memorize: Case is the truly distinguishing features of a Greek nominal . </li></ul>
    9. 9. Substantive <ul><li>‘ All nouns are substantives’. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A word other than a noun, when used like a noun, may be referred to as a substantive’ (Kunjummen 2009: 18). E.g. an adjective could do this, so could a participle. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Noun <ul><li>‘ A noun is a naming word. We could define a noun simply as the name of a thing/entity’ (Kunjummen 2009: 19). </li></ul><ul><li>It can be the subject of the sentence or the object of a verb and it can be singular or plural. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Number <ul><li>Singular (The boy is shy) and plural (the boys caught frogs at the river), will be your concern in this class (Hewett 2009: 3). </li></ul><ul><li>Memorize: Not only verbs, nouns, and pronouns, but Greek adjectives and the article also have distinct forms to distinguish one (singular) and more than one (plural). </li></ul>
    12. 12. Gender <ul><li>‘ Nouns, adjectives, and pronouns may be masculine, feminine, or neuter in gender’ (Hewett 2009: 39). </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: grammatical gender does not equal ontological gender. </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The gender of Greek nouns is fixed and should be learned when the meaning of the nouns is learned’ (Hewett 2009: 39). </li></ul><ul><li>Hint: the article will be listed with the Greek noun so you can learn the gender as you learn the word’s ‘meaning’. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Case <ul><li>‘ Case is the marking of noun-type words to indicate grammatical function’ (Kunjummen 2009: 19). </li></ul><ul><li>The cases in Greek: nominative, vocative, genitive, dative, and accusative. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nominative = subject </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vocative = direct address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Genitive = possession </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dative = indirect object </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accusative = direct object </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Adjective <ul><li>‘ An adjective is a word that describes a noun, as in “the good apostle,” “evil servants,” and “the gift is beautiful ,” . A Greek adjective agrees with the noun it modifies in gender, number, and case’ (Black 2009: 42). </li></ul>
    15. 15. Adjective <ul><li>Remember: Keep the final picture in mind or you will get lost in these grammatical details. </li></ul>
    16. 16. Article <ul><li>‘ Greek has no indefinite article (Eng. “a” or “an”). When Greek wants to indicate that a noun is definite, it places the definite article in front of it.’ (Black 2009: 29-30). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A noun that has an article is called an arthrous noun. A noun that has no article is called an anarthrous noun’ (Black 2009: 30). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ The Greek article is a set of forms, not just one, and has greater variety of functions’ (Kunjummen 2009: 19). </li></ul>
    17. 17. Conjunction <ul><li>‘ Conjunctions connect words of the same category, as well as like phrases, and clauses’ (Kunjummen 2009: 20). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A coordinating conjunction joins two independent clauses’ (Hewett 2009: 9). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Steve went to school to teach, but Ellen went to church to sing. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. and, also, but, for </li></ul></ul><ul><li>‘ A subordinating conjunction joins two clauses or sentences by making one clause dependent on another’ (Hewett 2009: 9). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Regina stopped at the shoe store while on her way to school. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. because, in order that, when, while. </li></ul></ul>
    18. 18. 3.1.5. The Sentence and Its Constituents
    19. 19. What is a Sentence? <ul><li>‘ A sentence is a unit of discourse with completeness of thought, without unfulfilled linguistic expectations’ (Kunjummen 2009: 20). </li></ul><ul><li>Or, ‘it consists of one or more clauses and expresses a complete thought’ (20). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A clause is defined as consisting of a subject , about which something is stated, and a predicate , which states something about the subject’ (20). </li></ul><ul><li>E.g. Subject [The quick brown fox] Predicate [jumps over the lazy dog] </li></ul>
    20. 20. Clause Constituents <ul><li>‘ The term constituent refers to component parts of a discourse unit such as phrase, clause, or sentence’ (Kunjummen 2009: 20). </li></ul><ul><li>These include the following: subject, intransitive verb, subject complement, transitive verb, direct object, indirect object, direct object complement, a second direct object (Hewett 2009: 11). </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A clause (or a simple sentence) has two primary constituents: subject and predicate ’; these may have smaller constituent parts (Kunjummen 2009: 19). </li></ul>
    21. 21. Subject <ul><li>Think of the subject as a word or group of words that have a specific relationship to the main verb (see Kunjummen 2009: 20). </li></ul><ul><li>The only way to really identify the subject is via morphology [endings] and syntax [agreement with verb] rather than meaning or the existential situation (20-21). So, know the morphology and pay attention to verb-subject agreement [e.g. they see not they sees ] and you should be okay. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep in mind: the noun inflects/declines differently based on its role as subject, direct object, or indirect object (20). </li></ul>
    22. 22. Predicate <ul><li>‘ Predicate = Clause – Subject’ This is a helpful formula to keep in mind! </li></ul><ul><li>Remember: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Predicate is what is stated about the subject </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>When subject has modifiers, this whole noun phrase is part of the subject not the predicate. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Normally, the predicate has a verb [except in verbless clauses]. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The predicate is ‘that part of the sentence (normally the verb and its object) that predicates (asserts) something about the subject’ (Hewett 2009: 4). </li></ul>
    23. 23. Equative Clauses <ul><li>‘ Sentences of the type A is X (e.g. We are students) are equative’ (Kunjummen 2009: 21). </li></ul><ul><li>There is a subject and a predicate but not an object, s.v. . </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Greek is able to form equative sentences without any verb (so the “be” verb in its correct form has to be inserted in translation)’ (21). </li></ul><ul><li>Point: Thinking about this will get you out of the mind-set that Greek is a code. There is quite a bit of flexibility in translation from Greek to English. Word-for-word translation is not possible, nor the goal, it results in non-communicative and non-sensical final products. </li></ul>
    24. 24. Subject Complement <ul><li>‘ Complements are those words or phrases which contribute what is required to complete the meaning of another’ (Kunjummen 2009: 21). </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complements are essential, adjuncts are not, see fn.14. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Direct objects are verb complements. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prepositions can have object complements. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ The subject complement is essentially the predicate element of an equative clause’ (21). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nouns and adjectives which form predicates are not objects, they are subject complements. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(S) Plymouth (V) is (SC) a town. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    25. 25. 3.1.6. Word Order and Meaning <ul><li>‘ Word order is completely irrelevant for identifying the subject of a Greek sentence’ (Kunjummen 2009: 21). </li></ul><ul><li>The subject and the object in a Greek sentence will be marked differently by spelling and will not rely on word order to construe meaning . </li></ul><ul><li>Point: Don’t stress out about getting your words in the exact right spot in your English translation. That will come with time. Also, don’t think too much concerning if there is some deep philosophical difference between The man is happy and Happy is the man. Save that for another course; just make sure you are clear about which is the subject and which is the subject complement and life will be good or good will be life! </li></ul>
    26. 26. 3.1.6. Word Order and Meaning <ul><li>Your translation can be right if it looks like either of these two, so relax… </li></ul>
    27. 27. 3.1.7. Attributive and Predicate Uses of the Adjective <ul><li>‘ In the sentence, This short poem is beautiful , “short” and “beautiful” are both adjectives, and both say something about the noun “poem”. However, syntactically they function differently. The first, “short”, modifies the noun. Its syntactic role is described as attributive. The other “beautiful”, is part of the predicate (i.e. the assertion) and so, is said to be predicative. The roles are switched in, This beautiful poem is short ’ (Kunjummen 2009: 22). </li></ul><ul><li>Point: Make sure you understand the difference between these two, a word to the wise is sufficient… </li></ul>
    28. 29. Conclusion