Jump to content

Greek N clause with no Subject

Λύχνις Δαν

Recommended Posts

Hi ya,


  Acc 12.0.1

  Mac 10.11.6


  I was looking at Wallace Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, at his description of missing elements in his description of the nominative. One example he lists is a missing subject in Mark 10:13.


“Καὶ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παιδία ἵνα αὐτῶν ἅψηται· οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐπετίμησαν αὐτοῖς.”
(Μάρκον 10·13 Novum Testamentum Graece (New Testament in Greek))


  I had a search for Null Subjects so I ran that and found that this verse was not found. Looking at the syntax chart I see this :




  There is no Subject in the chart in the first clause. I was expecting a null subject indicating the embedded subject in the verb προσέφερον, perhaps cataphoric referring to αὐτοῖς in the following clause. There is no really obvious antecedent that I can see back to the beginning of the chapter.


  Part of the reason I ask is the statement in the guide that :


Clause—The most complex type of constituent, consisting of a subject and


  yet in this case there is Subject in this N clause.


  Due to the prohibition on searching for an initial NOT element I am having difficulty constructing a search for more examples, if there are any.




Edited by דָנִיאֶל
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Daniel, if I understand correctly, this is just part of the following general question: should we insert a Null subject whenever an overt subject is not found in the GNT?


I subscribe to the general theory that a clause has a subject and a predicate.


My problem is a practical one: as it is completely normal for GNT to have no overt subject, should I add a Null every time? This would mean to add thousands of them.


I used a practical rule. I didn't insert the placeholder whenever the Greek verb is a finite verb, that allows anyone who knows the grammar to understand what the subject is: singular or plural; first, second, or third person.


Whenever the verb is not finite, that is, whenever it is a infinitive or a participle, there are two possibilities.

First: the subject is the same as that of the matrix clause. In this case, I didn't insert the null. The exception is for attributive participles in the nominative, where I needed to mark the antecedent. In such cases, I inserted 01 or 02 or whatever is needed.

Second: the subject is different. In this case, I inserted the null.


It is still possibile to search for predicated without an overt subject using NOT in the second column of the Greek construct, and then marking search in both directions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanx for the explanation Marco. It is really useful to know these things about the way the syntax is tagged so that one can use the database properly. I had wondered given the propensity for Greek subjects to be embedded how it might be handled. I agree it would be a lot of them.


And thanx for the search tip about the NOT cases. I'll see how that works out.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Marco,


I tried the search suggestion and adding search both directions leads to a search like this finding cases where the subject follows the predicate and where it precedes it.




And trying it without the predicate does not work. So I am having trouble finding clauses without any subject, without regard to whether the predicate might be before or after the subject.




Any other ideas how this can be done ?


Also, I had a look at the Hebrew syntax and I'm pretty sure I'm seeing null subjects for finite verbs. Do the Hebrew and Greek syntax databases differ in this regard ?




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, they do differ. My theoretical position is slightly different. In my model, the justification for null subjects derives from something called the extended projection principle, which in a nutshell is the claim that every clause has a subject. So we include null subjects not only with finite verbs, but also with infinitives, etc. the result is thousands of null subjects in the Hebrew database -- wherever an overt subject is missing, we insert a null subject.


Early on the two databases went different directions in this regard.

Edited by Robert Holmstedt
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Create New...