manstey at portal.ca
Sun Feb 7 20:12:03 EST 1999
Thanks for the reponses to my question. Everyone thought 'he [is]' is better
than 'he is,' and one person suggested just 'he.'
Someone asked me to coment on what I thought the difficulty was. My thoughts
were as follows:
The word 'is' in the Enlgish sentence "He is a shield," is (verbally)
connecting the subject and object (somehow). The Hebrew construction of
topic-predicate as in magen hu' also connects the two so we understand the
antecedent of hu' (in this case Adonai) to 'be' a shield (somehow). So hu'
here seems different than when it is followed by a participle where it only
signifies the subject. In verbless clauses however it seems to signify the
subject *and* the verbal idea of "being equal to in some way," so it seems
justified to have hu' best interlinearised as "he is." This is the nearest
English equivalent to the full sense of hu' in this context. Does this make
While we are at it, I have another interesting problem, similar to this one.
Is Ps 1.2 is betorath "in a law of" or "in the law of"? The construct chain
is of course definite since Adonai is definite, but where does the "the"
belong. It seems to me that someone reading the interlinear should know that
this construct chain is definite by having "in the law of". Similarly, in
verse 1 we have a deeper problem, of definite nouns in poetry not marked
morphologically for definiteness. Is is best to have "in a seat of mockers"
or "in the seat of mockers" for bemoshav letsim. Again, I opt for the
second, since in context it seems that the chain is definite.
As you can probably imagine, problems like these multiply themselves
endlessly in interlinearising. Probably rather than a case-by-case method,
it would be better to work out principles for handling all of these various
types of problems, and have these principles based on both sound linguistic
arguments and the needs of the end-user, who simply uses the product with no
commentary on its methodology. Any comments on principles, linguistic
arguments or the examples above would be greatly appreciated, as I am
currently working on guidelines for other people also working on the
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