Linguistic puzzle

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Thu Jun 10 23:56:45 EDT 1999

Given that the intended audience is those with limited Hebrew and 
maybe limited technical English, I would go for no.4 "do", as the 
concept of direct object is easily understood. I hope this will be 
distinguished by case or something else from the word "do".

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: Linguistic puzzle
Author:  manstey at at internet 
Date:    09/06/1999 10:34

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
on behalf of Summer Institute of Linguistics.
BART (Biblical Analysis and Research Tool) Software Development 
Carl Follingstad, Coordinator  cfollingstad at
Todd Hoatson, Programmer Todd_Hoatson at 

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