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In English, for example, the distinction between 'restrictive' and 'non-restrictive' relative sentences has been recognised for decades already cf. Chomsky ; Loetscher ; Smith ; etc. Radford gives the following example of a restrictive relative sentence in his terms, 'relative clause' :. According to Radford , the function of the relative sentence in 2 is to restrict the class of men referred to in the sentence to the one whom they arrested. Radford distinguishes also a second type of relative sentence, namely, appositive relative sentences, a term which is often used synonymously with 'non-restrictive' also 'descriptive' and 'explanatory' for this type of relative sentence cf.

Comrie ; Lehmann ; Quirk et al. Compare his examples, which are repeated here as 3a-c :. Yesterday I met [ my bank manager, [who was in a filthy mood] ]. According to Radford , appositive relative sentences in English generally serve as parenthetical comments or afterthoughts which are set off in a separate intonation group from the rest of the sentence in the spoken language.

This corresponds to a remark by Lehmann that appositive relative sentences in languages generally have an ' Intonationsbruch ' ['breach in intonation'] between the post-nominal relative sentence and the antecedent-noun, whereas in restrictive relative sentences the intonation is continuous at this point. Appositive relative sentences in English are indicated by parentheses, a comma or a hyphen in the written language see examples [3a-c] above Radford In German, the writing convention is followed to use a comma after the antecedent in appositive as well as restrictive relative sentences Lehmann The notion of 'restriction' has also been used successfully in describing the function of relative sentences in a variety of other modern as well as ancient languages.

More recently, 'restriction' has also been used in describing the function of relative in sentences in the following languages: Dagbani, Crow and Lakhota Lehmann ; Persian and Turkish Comrie , ; and Dutch, Korean, Abkhaz, Basque, Lahu and Nama De Vries , The function of relative sentences in New Testament Greek. Danker describes its use in Galatians b. For he … is known to have worshipped the gods'] Smyth Lk e. Ac d. Xenophon's Anabasis 5.


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Ac c. Restrictive relative sentences. In older literature on the Greek NT, functional aspects of the relative sentence are not commonly discussed in terms of restriction, as in the case of modern languages see above.

Genitive case

Terms such as 'substantival', 'adjectival', 'cause', 'adverbial' 'concession', 'result', 'purpose' et cetera, are used instead. The notion of 'restriction' is also absent from the standard NT reference grammars of Blass and Debrunner [] , [] In the few cases where 'restriction' is used in older literature, it normally plays a relatively minor role in the overall description of the relative sentence.

For example, Burton states that 'all relative clauses whether adjective or adverbial may be distinguished as either restrictive my italics or explanatory. The former identifies , the latter describes. Burton gives the following example of a restrictive relative sentence:. However, the distinction between restrictive and explanatory relative sentences is not used in the major part of his discussion Burton Instead, the following categories are used: 1 Definite relative clauses, excluding those which express purpose, and those introduced by words meaning 'until'; 2 Indefinite or conditional relative clauses, excluding those which express purpose, and those introduced by words meaning 'until'; 3 Relative clauses expressing purpose; and 4 Relative clauses introduced by words meaning 'until'.

Another instance of the use of 'restriction' in older literature, albeit in slightly different terms, occurs in Dana and Mantey , who state under the heading 'Adjectival Clauses' that a relative sentence in their terminology, 'relative clause' is sometimes used 'to directly limit my italics or define a substantive, performing a pure adjective function.

Dana and Mantey also point out that the Greek articular modifying participle could also be used restrictively or non-restrictively. In more recent literature, the use of 'restriction' is more common. Young , for example, refers to restrictive relative sentences in his terminology, 'relative clauses' , but defines them as identifying a head noun see Du Toit for further information. The grammar of Wallace , which distinguishes substantival, adjectival and adverbial clauses as part of the syntactical function of dependent clauses, uses 'restriction' as one of the terms to define the function of adjectival clauses.

According to Wallace , , some adjectival clauses to which a group of relative clauses belongs restrict a noun, pronoun, or other substantive. Unfortunately, Wallace does not indicate which of his examples are instances where the relative sentence restricts the substantive, in contrast to 'describing' or 'explaining' it see Du Toit for examples. Voelz referred to briefly by Du Toit , broadens the application of the notion of 'restriction' to include also attributive participles. This is parallel to Comrie's example of the attributive phrase 'leaving on Flight ' in the English sentence 'Passengers leaving on Flight should proceed to the departure lounge' quoted above.

However, Voelz's statement that 'subordinate clauses headed by a relative pronoun are non-restrictive in their meaning' does not seem to be correct. Although the relative sentences in his examples 1 Pt , Lk ; Ac a. Evidence seems to show that there are, in fact, many examples in the NT where the relative sentence is restrictive in such cases cf.

He argues for regarding them as 'restrictive', despite the comma in the Greek text at the end of verse 14, which is taken by almost all English translations before as an indication of a non-restrictive clause cf.

Relative clauses and genitive constructions in Semitic

Porter's arguments are not discussed in any detail here. The issue illustrates, however, one of the challenges involved in the interpretation of ancient written texts, where phonological data is not available as is the case in modern languages. Furthermore, punctuation was variable and not fixed in early Greek manuscripts, with relatively fixed punctuation not occurring until well after development of the codex. Secondly, there are no manuscripts of this portion of 1 Thessalonians that predate the major codexes Porter Du Toit , applies the notion of 'restriction', as used in the literature on modern languages, to relative sentences in the NT and points out its usefulness in the light of the many correspondences between Greek and modern languages in this regard.

He argues, however, for a modification in the use of the term and proposes the use of 'identification' instead. This view was influenced by the work of Ebert on English, who argues that, viewed within a speech-act model, restriction was only typical of a specific subgroup of relative sentences that are normally classified as 'restrictive', namely, relative sentences describing 'types', and that their real function was that of identification.

Identification could, however, take place by means of restriction, amongst others. Compare her example given in 6 :. Ebert In 6 the relative sentence does not restrict the class of unspecified girls as such, but rather identifies who the girl is for a more detailed discussion of Ebert's ideas, see Du Toit [, ].

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The argument by Du Toit , still seems to be valid. Compare the sentence in 7 :. Free relatives are usually discussed in literature on the NT as part of the 'substantival' use of the relative sentence cf. Wallace Matthewd. Boyer ]. Compare the following example:. John b. Luke b. Appositive relative sentences. Since the term 'identifying' seems preferable in the case of relative sentences normally referred to as 'restrictive', the term 'appositive' will be used here for a function of relative sentences that is often referred to as 'non-restrictive' cf.

Porter ; Voelz ; etc. The term 'appositive' seems appropriate in view of its inherent notion of 'apposition', and is often used in literature on modern languages for example, Lehmann ; Radford ; etc. A few of the older Greek grammars, such as Burton and Dana and Mantey , distinguish an appositive in their terms, 'explanatory' and 'defining', respectively function of adjectival relative sentences.

According to Burton, an explanatory relative sentence, in contrast to a restrictive one, 'adds a description to what is already known or has been defined adequately', as in 10 :. Young defines appositive relative sentences in his terms 'non-restrictive' as ' describing my italics a head noun. Unfortunately, Wallace does not indicate which of his examples are 'describing' or 'explaining' cf.

Some NT grammars refer to a function of the relative sentence, which could also be classified as 'appositive', namely, instances where the relative sentence is used in parenthetical expressions. However, this usually plays only a minor role in their description of relative sentences. According to Blass and Debrunner ] , parenthetical relative sentences occur in two situations in the NT, firstly, where the structure of the sentence is not interrupted, as in 11 :. The parenthetical nature of the relative sentence in 11 corresponds to the one in Radford's English example, which is quoted in 3a above and repeated in 12 :.

Secondly, a relative sentence could be inserted into direct discourse of which it does not form part, as in the example in 13 :. A further perspective on appositive relative sentences is provided by Du Toit , , , whose view is influenced, amongst others, by the work of Loetscher on appositive in his terminology, 'non-restrictive' relative sentences in English. Loetscher points out that relative sentences in discourse typically provide background information, and identifies the following ways in which this is done, namely, as 1 parentheses which he defines as 'expressions which are typically inside another sentence, but are not intrinsically bound to it, i.

His examples of the three uses are given in 14a, b and c , respectively:. Loetscher Du Toit , defines the function of appositive relative sentences in NT Greek also as providing background or additional information for an antecedent.

Relative clauses - Syntax - Khan Academy

This could be expressed in the form of a parenthesis, explanation, concession or some combination of these , or as an afterthought. This definition seems valid in the examples of Blass and Debrunner [] , quoted in 11 and 13 above. In both cases the appositive relative sentence could be interpreted as giving background information for their antecedent in the form of an explanatory parenthesis.

The above examples of the relative sentence's appositive function refer to instances where the antecedent is a nominal expression. Appositive relative sentences can also have a sentence as antecedent, as in 15 :. Du Toit , In this interpretation, the function of the relative sentence corresponds to that in the English example from Radford , which is quoted in 3c above and repeated in 16 :.

In this case the translation would be: 'God raised this Jesus to life, of whom all of us are witnesses.

Language Hebrew (Modern)

It is often difficult in practice to distinguish between different functions of the relative sentence in contexts that are not transparent in this regard. In NT and Classical Greek and English only appositive sentences can have nominal elements as well as sentences as their antecedent.


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Identifying relative sentences, on the other hand, have only nominal elements as their antecedents. Adverbial and pseudo-adverbial relative sentences. Relative sentences introduced by relative adverbs of time, place and manner occur often in the NT without an overt antecedent. In such cases, these free relatives function like an adverb and qualify a verb.

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Ac a. Mt b. The status of temporal sentences such as the one in [17a] as a type of relative sentence is supported by Blass and Debrunner [] , who regard temporal sentences in general as 'only a special class of relative clause that exhibit the same constructions' so also Boyer ; Lehmann ; cf.