TIP of the day: Plain meaning/ analytic reading - grammar - word and phrase classes

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Mon, Feb 8 2016 7:52 PM

1. By "plain meaning/analytic reading" I basically mean applying everything our reading teachers and eventually literature and writing teachers tried to teach us. So far I have concentrated on the meaning of the words themselves which require the following skills:

  • identify the lexical items which may or may not correspond with "words"
  • resolve any homographs i.e. know your are looking at the right word
  • identify the applicable lexical sense
  • resolve deixis i.e. determine the meaning of words that only ave meaning in context
  • identify figurative language and any applicable changes in sense
  • review the choices made above in context
  • review the choices made above for connotations - both those of the original author and those we may unconsciously carry into the text.

If that is all we did, we would have a string (or bag) of words with little meaning. To start to mold the string into meaningful units we have to look at grammar and syntax.

2. The first step is to identify the parts-of-speech or word classes to which the words belong so that we know what possible functions/positions they can take in a sentence. The concept of word class is not precise and is usually limited to the "major" word classes i.e. recognizing that there are uses that are well covered by any of the classes. That sentence included an example of a minor class "existential there".

Three criteria are usually given for determining word classes:

  1. meaning of the word (sometimes offered as a replacement test (I typed a forum post. I wrote a forum post. I composed a form post but not I octopus a forum post)
  2. form or shape of a word offered as a word derivation rule (singing, crying, laughing but not iting)
  3. position/environment of the word in a sentence. (I cut the fish vs. That was a low cut).

Word classes are the highest level of a morphology search - well almost. You will note that the morphology system is the highest level.

A sampling of the various systems offered in Logos shows both how differently word classes may be assigned within a language and how different language required different word classes.


 3. In order to diagram sentences or reach the clause visualization resources in Logos we also need to under the basic kinds of phrases. Although there is still significant variation, it is more consistent within a linguistic theory that words classes. A typical set of phrase classes:

  • noun phrase (NP)
  • verb phrase (VP)
  • adjectival phrase (AdjP)
  • adverbial phrase (AdvP)
  • prepositional phrase (PP)

or if you prefer a fuller example:

4. Another set of classes you learned which is heavily used in the Logos visualization is clause classes. They are sometimes taught as types of conjunctions. The standard set taught for English include

  • coordinating
  • subordinating
  • correlative
  • adverbs of conjunction

However, much finer distinctions are made in the Logos clause visualizations.

Appositional Clause: A clause, usually relative but also subordinate or infinitive, that is viewed as functioning epexegetically or to otherwise offer further nuance to another component of the same sentence.  This is sometimes a more subtle implementation of the explanatory clause; where a clause is clearly explanatory in intent, it is labelled as explanatory; where a clause is merely offering more information but is not clearly explanatory in nature, it is usually labelled as appositional within LSGNT.  For the sake of consistency, some non-clausal sentence fragments in LSGNT are labelled as appositional clauses because of their perceived force as opposed to their obvious structure. (References: BDF n/a; Wallace n/a; Smyth n/a.)
Adverbial Clause: A clause which is functioning adverbially. Adverbial clauses usually are participial clauses which have been marked as adverbial clauses due to their force. (References: BDF n/a; Wallace p. 662; Smyth n/a.)
Correlative Clause: A clause initiated by either a correlative adverb, pronoun or conjunction. It obviously demonstrates correlation and is dependant upon an independent clause for its contextual meaning. (References: BDF §64(4), 106, 304, 436, 453(1); Wallace p. 194, 319, 658, 662, 672, 761, 769; Smyth §340, 346.)
Casus Pendens Clause: An classic Semitic construction, it is found Greek under the name of a suspended nominative phrase, often called the nominative absolute, or simply as a form of anacoluthon.  (References: BDF §466(2-4); Wallace p. 49, 51, 53, 654, 726, 760, 765, 769; Smyth §941, 3008e.)
Explanatory Clause: A subordinate clause offering explanation of some aspect of the immediate sentential or paragraphic context. In LSGNT, only clauses which are overtly explanatory—e.g., some of those clauses which include the use of γὰρ or ὅτι—are annotated in this way. Where a participial or otherwise relative clause expresses further clarification of the author’s intended meaning, this occurs most often epexegetically and is therefore marked as appositional.  (References: BDF §480(6); Wallace p. 459-460; Smyth §988-990, 2808-2809, 2811.)
Infinitival Clause: A dependant clause in which an infinitive is the main verbal component. (References: BDF §388-410; Wallace p. 587-611; Smyth §1845-1849, 1984-2038.)
Object Clause: A clause which is functioning as the object of a verb. It is often initiated with an interrogative pronoun or interrogative adverb in conjunction with a verb expressing perception, knowledge, or lack thereof. (References: BDF n/a; Wallace p. 454-458, 678; Smyth §2065, 2186 c, 2207-2219, 2705 b, 2220, 2221-2233.)
Predicate Clause: In clauses with more than one predicate, this annotation denotes the parts of each predicate element. For reasons of economy, this annotation denotes both true compound predicates—i.e., two verbs with distinct and exclusive objective elements—and those in which the objective elements are compounded upon the same verb. (References: BDF §127-130; Wallace n/a; Smyth §900-1017.)
Participial Clause: A dependent clause, often but not exclusively with relative force, in which the main verbal component is a participle and the subject is omitted. (References: BDF §411-425; Wallace p. 612-655; Smyth §454-479.)
Relative Clause: A clause which is often initiated with a relative pronoun and which serves one of several functions in the sentence. It often serves to show relation between a word in the sentence and another idea or object and to clarify ambiguities in the clause on which it is dependent. The relative clause may also serve as part of the sentence instead of merely clarifying part of it. In LSGNT, when this occurs, the annotations serve to clarify the role of the relative pronoun with respect to the clause in which it occurs as well as to clarify the role of the relative clause itself within the greater sentential structure. (References: BDF §293-297; Wallace p. 478, 659-660, 688; Smyth §560-580.)
Sentence Clause: Text found between two major marks of punctuation within the Nestle-Aland text. Major punctuation marks are the full-stop/period and the question mark. Where the sentence is divided into multiple independent clauses which are joined by conjunctions or by asyndeton, the individual parts are referred to as sentential segments. (References: BDF §458; Wallace n/a; Smyth §902.)
Subordinate Clause: A clause which offers nuance to the main clause.  It does not contain a complete statement and therefore must always be in relation to an independent clause. (References: BDF §453-457; Wallace p. 19, 657, 667-670, 674; Smyth §2189-2635.)
Vocative Relative Clause: A relative clause which is used in addressing a certain group. One example of this may be found in James 4:13: "οἱ λέγοντες σήμερον ἢ αὔριον πορευσόμεθα εἰς τήνδε τὴν πόλιν καὶ ποιήσομεν ἐκεῖ ἐνιαυτὸν καὶ ἐμπορευσόμεθα καὶ κερδήσομεν". (References: BDF n/a; Wallace n/a; Smyth n/a.)
Segment Clause: When two clauses of the same type are juxtaposed by a conjunction or in an asyndetic relationship, each clause is called a segment clause in LSGNT. (References: BDF n/a; Wallace n/a; Smyth n/a.)

Albert L. Lukaszewski, The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament Glossary (Lexham Press, 2007).

In the next post we'll start putting this information to practical use.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 24 2016 11:01 PM

MJ. Smith:
A sampling of the various systems offered in Logos shows both how differently word classes may be assigned within a language and how different language required different word classes.

Logos wiki now has Word Class for Logos Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin Mophologies:

=> https://wiki.logos.com/Morphology_Codes#Word_Class

Adverb, Article, Indeclinable, Interjection, Interrogative, and Numeral have initial @ letter assignments that depend on language.

Keep Smiling Smile

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