[b-hebrew] Zech 6:8
kgraham0938 at comcast.net
kgraham0938 at comcast.net
Mon Nov 21 14:04:40 EST 2005
Herman:dear kelton, Steve, others interested,
In Biblical Hebrew, there is no visible nominative, genitive, dative,
accusative, ablative or any other kind of case ending for which we usLatin words, because they are Latin/Greek, i.e. Indo-European terms.
Let alone a "datival accusative". Imagine we would suppose there were
indeed case endings someday in Hebrew (which is likely), like in Arabic there still are in poetry for example, then we could easily prove that in the biblical phase of Hebrew they died out.
Response: Well actually, the accusative is visible in Hebrew. )T is definitely the sign for the direct object. A dative accusative is just a label for when we find a pronominal object where we would expect a prepositional object. You go on to say
Herman:We have for example words like לילה láyla "night" with penultimate
stress, which is in fact ליל layl/leyl, with what we could term a
"locative" case ending suffixed. The same thing we see in הביתה
habbáyta "home". לילה layla has a fossilised/ossified
((?)PS what word would we use in English? It's not my native language)
"locative" ending, so it had once meant "at night", but because לילה
"at night" was apparently used more often in the language than ליל
"night" in its normal form, eventually לילה became the normal word for
We can thus say that case endings were/are no longer there when most
> > > texts were composed.
Response: The word in english is just as you say it. It means "night". In regards to what you said above, even though there are'nt any markers to illustrate case, however from a syntatic standpoint I think we can see nouns functioning as nominatives, genitives, and accusatives.
Herman:Why all this? Isn't this all purely academic?
Response: No, I think it is for clarification. I think it helps because it illustrates how words are functioning in a sentence. In my mind it is good to have ways of communicating Hebrew in a familiar way.
Herman:I think not; once we establish, like traditional grammars do, that את
is the particle for the object, which in Greek/Latin is usually given
expression for nouns with the accusative, we tend to move on a little
too enthusiastically, and end up with a particle that expresses
"accusative", which is nonsense for Hebrew. As a result, we mix up
source language and Hebrew too, when we translate, because often our
languages are described by means of the same traditional Greek/latin
Response: But if that is what we are familiar with, then I see no problem with describing Hebrew under those titles if that is how the syntax of a sentence operates. It helps clarify how the words are functioning under titles that we are familiar with.
Herman:Like Steve asked, if you translate אתי "to me", don't you turn a
Hebrew direct object into an English indirect object? (of course, he
didn't use Latin case names ;) ) Well, that is exactly where the two
languages have little or nothing to do with each other: an ancient Israelite wouldn't have an idea what we are talking about: to him, the
את [et] in אתי [oti] is simply a preposition, like על [(al] or other
prepositions. There are examples where it seems not to matter whether
or not את [et] is used in case of a definite noun that has the
function of object. But in case of ויוזעק אתי wayyaz(eq )oti here,
the only alternative is a suffix: ויזעק� י wayyaz(aqeni (or something
like that). Here it is את [et], a preposition, not strictly speaking a
direct object, which most likely would have been with a suffix (if we
would want to define it all in these terms).
What we should do, we have to look at the actual way the
particles/prepositions work in the Hebrew language, without importing
these foreign categories. The word את first of all seems so have a
complicated way of suffix attachment; we have both אותי oti and אתי
itti (etc.), which seems to be the same word את. In the case of אתי
itti the usual meaning is "with me", whereas אותי oti is commony
understand as "me (object)". Can we then say that אותי "must" always
expresses an object "me"?
Response: Well that's just it, the verb Z'Q means to "cry out." Normally it takes the preposition 'EL following it when it is addressing someone. But this time it is followed by )T. If you take )T as a preposition "with" I don't think it would make much sense. So it is best to leave it untranslated, take the pronoun as a DDO. Since 'T normally functions as a DDO I think that is your best option.
Herman: That might be what we had our grammar books teach us. However, these books are based on the very MT we use and were we find this example of אתי oti that doesn't fit our grammars exactly.
Now we can do two things; we can adapt our MT to our grammars and find
all sorts of complex explanations using "datival accusatives" and
things like that; or we can adapt our grammars to our MT, saying,
apparently the grammars have missed this example where את [et] (אתי
oti) introduces the addressed person as a complement to the verb הזעיק
hiz(iq.I prefer the latter alternative.
Response: Well that would make sense, but I have never seen anyone propose that idea before. But there are other instances of this type of situation, so I would not argue that the grammars missed this example, just labeled it in a mannar that could be understood.
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