LINGUIST List 16.276
Fri Jan 28 2005
Diss: Historical Ling: Kappagoda: 'Semiosis...'
Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <takolinguistlist.org>
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Semiosis as the Sixth Sense: Theorising the Unperceived in Ancient Greek
Message 1: Semiosis as the Sixth Sense: Theorising the Unperceived in Ancient Greek
From: Astika Kappagoda <astikainternode.on.net>
Subject: Semiosis as the Sixth Sense: Theorising the Unperceived in Ancient Greek
Institution: Macquarie University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004
Author: Astika K Kappagoda
Dissertation Title: Semiosis as the Sixth Sense: Theorising the Unperceived in Ancient Greek
Subject Language(s): Greek, Ancient (GKO)
David G Butt
Christian MIM Matthiessen
It is assumed that Western intellectual thinking and writing originates in
the cultural practices of ancient Greece. In particular, the activity of
constructing theories has its first identifiable origins during the sixth
to the fourth centuries BCE in the Greek world. This thesis aims to
investigate what linguistic resources had been developed in ancient Greek
to enable this form of cultural activity, since the language of these texts
constructs such theories.
It is argued in this thesis that such linguistic resources had been present
in Homeric Greek. However, as the Greek world changed over the next four
centuries, these resources were recombined and further developed- in
particular, the simultaneous deployment of persuasion with description or
narrative– to result in the construction of theories, as in Herodotus'
explanation of the flooding of the Nile. Furthermore, this theorising
activity comes to have an influence on the activity of describing or
narrating events, so that such descriptions are modelled in terms of a
covert theoretical model, in order to construct understanding and conscious
knowledge. The historian Thucydides' account of the plague of Athens
demonstrates such a theorised description. Thus the meaning-making of
texts becomes a legitimate 'mental tool' for investigating and
understanding one's experience of the world.
A multi-stratal and multi-levelled linguistic analysis using the
theoretical framework of systemic-functional linguistics (SFL) was
performed in order to trace the diachronic development of theorisation.
This development is characterised in terms of an ensemble of features of
generic structure, rhetorical structure, and ideational lexicogrammar (and
its relationship to clausal semantics through metaphor). Since there is no
existing SFL description of ancient Greek, a major part of this thesis also
investigates how SFL theory might be applied to this language, in order to
support the linguistic analysis and enable textual intepretation.
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