Revisiting The Case of An Infinitive with Two Substantival Accusatives/Paul W. Cheung

Paul W. Cheung 張雲開




This paper focuses on the question of the syntactic parsing of ambiguous linguistic situations. The case examined is the Greek infinitive constructed with two substantival accusatives in the New Testament. It is found that while more often than not the subject would precede the object/predicate in the construction, what tells them apart is not the existence of a word-order rule. Instead, more fundamental linguistic processes are at work which allow a reader/hearer to discern the respective grammatical roles of the two accusatives. The conclusion is that while a plausible word-order pattern may be established, linguistic investigation would fare a lot better by focusing more on those fundamental linguistic processes than on the instituting of a word-order rule. A few remarks are also made regarding the statistical nature of linguistic samples.