Re: greek word order
|From:||Raymond Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, September 27, 2001, 5:46|
At 3:02 pm -0400 26/9/01, Vasiliy Chernov wrote:
>On Mon, 24 Sep 2001 20:27:15 +0000, Raymond Brown [snip]
>>There is, perhaps, a tendency toward subject-object-verb; but exceptions
>>are common. Topic will be fronted (as in modern German) and an element
>>will be shifted to the end for focus.
>I seem to remember that while reading portions from New Testament in Greek,
>I noticed that word order never sounded too odd to my Russian ear.
>Which may mean that at least in late Koine the main rule was to put the
>focus last, rather than to front the topic, unless it was a contastive one.
Possibly - Welsh does this and every so often people list all the apparent
similarities of structure between Welsh (and/or modern Celtic langs) and
the Semitic languages :)
The simple truth is that Greek New Testament is no guide to ancient Greek
word order, I'm afraid, tho it might shed light on what was happening
during the Koine.
The styles of writing and standard off Greek varies considerably. Luke has
quite a lucid style and the Johannine writings, apart from the Apocalypse,
are also reasonably well written; the latter, however, is somewhat 'rough'
and heavily Semitic. Indeed, the Semitic influence throughout the Greek NT
is very evident. This is probably for two reasons: the writers themselves
were from Jewish backgrounds and either had Aramaic as their L1, or were
bilingual in Greek & Aramaic (e.g. Paul); secondly, some writers, at least,
(probably all) were influenced by the Septuagint which, tho the Greek
version of the Jewish scriptures, was strongly Semitic in flavor, partly
because the translators - as is often the case with scriptures - aimed to
be as literal as possible.
So the word order in the Greek NT will probably shed as much light on word
order in both Biblical Hebrew and contemporary Aramaic as it does on Koine
Really during the Hellenistic period, Koine Greek was being subjected to
all sorts influences from speakers who were either bilingual or had Greek
as their L2 or even L3.
A mind which thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language.
[J.G. Hamann 1760]