Reading Secondary Literature

As I’ve moved from analyzing pronouns to reading the secondary literature about them, I am utterly shocked by two things:

  1. How truly vast the literature on pronominal clitics is (both typologically across language and with reference to Greek)
  2. How embarrassingly unaware NT scholarship is of it.

Our discipline should really, really be ashamed.

It makes me want to be a linguist rather than a Biblical scholar.

Oh wait. That’s what I am.

8 thoughts on “Reading Secondary Literature

  1. I struggled with this issue for many years. Now I’ve become somewhat more resigned to the problem, but I do take heart at seeing your comments here! I hope your voice will help change the situation.

  2. Same thing (#2) is true in Hebrew studies (and Semitics in general).

    I was reminded of #1 when I set about to write an encyclopedia article on clitics in Hebrew (now posted on my blog*). I had to limit my reading severely or get lost in writing another monograph (when I haven’t finished my current two).

    *I’m about to submit the entry, so any comments are welcome but needed asap.

    1. I saw your posts on Hebrew clitics and have been wanting to read them more closely, but I haven’t had a chance just yet. Hopefully, I’ll have some more time this weekend. I’ll try to get you some feedback in the next few days.

      Right now, all I could do would be to point to Aaron Halpern’s dissertation: On the Placement and Morphology of Clitics (Center for the Study of Language and Information – Lecture Notes). It might be worth examining, though there probably isn’t time for that any more.

      I would be curious though what you think of Stephen Anderson’s ideas about treating cliticization in morphology rather than syntax.

      1. Mike,

        I must admit I was intrigued by Anderson’s arguments. As you know, I rather like minimalism (in its essence if not the faddish developments). But never did quite think that diminished place of morphology accounted for everything, so I am at the outset sympathetic to arguments like Anderson’s. And yet, in the end I thought (although I am no expert in clitic issues) that the shift to morphology in the case of cliticization wasn’t convincing. Their seem to me too many syntax-based features that are difficult to incorporate in morphology (or, at least, my notion of morphology).

        How’s that for a vague, data-less answer? The problem is that it would simply take a heck of a lot more work on clitics to evaluate his argument in depth.

        1. Sorry, that was a difficult question to answer in a blog post’s comment section.

          But I understand what you’re saying. I have Greek data where the clitic attaches to the wrong syntactic phrase for prosodic reasons, something that shouldn’t happen if the clitics were affixes.

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