Linguistic puzzle

Bryan Rocine brocine at
Thu Jun 10 07:02:43 EDT 1999

Dear Matthew,

How about et?  No, not for "extra terrestrial"  ;-)   I am
simply transcribing the particle.  IOW, just leave it
Hebrew.  It's not going to get translated, anyway, right?
It also seems that no matter how you designate the particle,
your translator software is going to require a brief
paragraph in which you explain the particle, so the
translator can cross reference standard grammars as well as
other literature.  et is therefore appropriately neutral.
If not et, my vote is for na (nota accusativi).  The term is
just inaccesible enough in meaning to encourage a translator
to do a little study of the particle (beginning with the
note of explanation in your software), yet it is still
common in  the standard grammars.  It also helps you
software makers to make a transition in your explanation of
the particle to the latest analyses of the particle as a

BTW, I am jealous.  It seems as though you have received a
nice response to your query, but off-list.  I would have
enjoyed and benefitted from reading the responses.  Of
course, it is the list members priviledge to respond
off-list, but I wonder why they do so on an issue such as
this where the discussion itself could be beneficial to all.
Is it just a bit too messy on-list?  Do the respondants shun
the time and work of having to answer further questions?  If
that's the case, I understand.  I think we all understand
that time is scarce for getting involved in long threads.
Respondants might just say that they're too busy to carry on
after their initial (much appreciated) response.

Shalom and good blessings to your work!

you wrote:
> Gday all,
> Since the first-prize for the linguistic puzzle we posed
has not yet been
> claimed, I thought I'd update you all on the leading
contenders so far, to
> see if this may stimulate some more creative responses.
There are currently
> five contenders:
> 1. tm transitivity marker
> 2. ve verbal extension marker
> 3. na non-agent marker
> 4. do direct object marker
> 5. am affectedness marker
> Some notes would be appropriate. Our original choice was
tm - transitivity
> marker, which most people associated with verbal valency
(ie transitive
> verbs) rather than the more technical idea of the
efficiency of transferring
> the effect of the verbal action to the nominal unit. So we
are happy to
> ditch this since it seems a bit misleading. Choice 2 has
been suggested
> since it covers all the cases where 'et  introduces verbal
complements and
> adjuncts, direct objects and indirect objects and
adverbials. This is an
> improvement in our view on the traditional definite direct
object option.
> Choice 3 was suggested by Michael Malessa who is writing
his dissertation on
> 'et. His idea is similar to choice 1, and Michael pointed
out three examples
> where 'et is not a verbal extension marker. Both choice 1
and 3 have been
> influenced by an article by W. Randall Garr,
"Affectedness, Aspect and
> Biblical 'et", Zeitschrift für Althebraistik 4 (1991),
119-134.  Several
> people thought it best to stick with the traditional
direct object tag,
> since it is too troublesome to cover all the exceptions to
this, and there
> are not enough to warrant a change. This is choice 4. We
have come up with
> option 5 to replace option 1, as a more
readily-understandable version of
> what 1, 2, and 3 are aiming for. But we would also like
people's feedback on
> this option.
> But the bets are still on if anyone else wants to
contribute. If you missed
> the original problem, the goal is to find a two-letter
abbreviation that
> captures whatever it is that is present in (most if not)
all of the 7000+
> uses of 'et in the MT.
> With regards,
> Matthew Anstey

B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

(office) 315.437.6744
(home) 315.479.8267

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