Tuesday, October 20, 2009

One of the greatest things I’ve learned today in my Greek class is the difference between semantics and pragmatics when it comes to Greek linguistic study. What I mean is this. The lexical, grammatical (=unchanging, uncancelable) form of the verb is the semantic category. It cannot change. This grammatical form of a verb may have “meaning” but it is impossible to know what the verb really means a part from a context. This is where pragmatics fits in. In my class today, we heavily hit this issue and observed how the Greek verbal form (semantic lexeme) is used in a particular context to denote a particular meaning (pragmatic value). This is how we find out the meaning of a verb form—not inherent within the form itself but in its usage in the context.

If I were to walk up to a complete stranger and say “I got it!” he would have absolutely no idea what I’m saying. But if I were to answer a question you asked me: who will go to the grocery store and buy milk and I answer: “I got it!” it makes perfect sense! The way in which a verb is used in context is its pragmatic function in the discourse. This is precisely why the context is king (Or, as I learned from my mentor and friend, Dr. Varner, Kontext is King!) We then proceeded to observe Mark 1, 2 and 12 in understanding how Mark uses the verbal forms in his narrative structure. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we’ll observe more from other genres (epistolary literature and Revelation). God is good to me in allowing me to be here. I am tremendously humbled.


Jason Alligood said...

Good stuff bro! I'm using this truth in one of my papers. Good to hear it affirmed as I write. Going to class Thurs - Sat of this week myself. I'll be praying for you!

Anonymous said...

Well my left hand seems to be quite challenged...keeps typing y for t. Sorry!

Way to go son!!

Anonymous said...

Not sure what happened to my earlier comment...but it went something like this...

I heard that by God's grace you hit it out of the park today with your presentations!

Way to go son, and thank you God for your abundant goodness to Geoff!!



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