Accent question - Deut 8:8

Henry Churchyard churchh at usa.net
Tue Aug 22 13:36:55 EDT 2000



>> Subject: Parsha question - Deut 8:8
>> From: Al Silberman <alfred.silberman at lmco.com>
>> Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 07:55:47 -0400

>> Can someone provide insight into why the accents break up this
>> verse into: "A land of wheat - and barley; vines, fig trees and
>> pomegrantes. A land of oil olives - and honey."  I.E. there is a
>> servant accent on the first "land", no accent on the second "land"
>> but tied to the next word by a maqaf.  Instead of: "A land of -
>> wheat and barley; vines, fig trees and pomegrantes. A land of - oil
>> olives and honey."  I.E. pashta (disjunctive accent) on the first
>> "land" with wheat and barley tied together; tipexa (disjunctive
>> accent) on the second "land" with oil olives and honey tied
>> together.

> Subject: Re: Parsha question - Deut 8:8
> From: Raymond de Hoop <rdehoop at tref.nl>
> Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2000 14:28:19 +0200

> What you see in Deut 8:8 is that the words which belong together by
> status constructus are also kept together by the conjunctive accents
> and by the maqqeph. So, you may the text (more or less) as follows:

> A-land-of-wheat  and-barley,
> vines-and-fig-trees  and-pomegrantes;
> a-land-of-oil-olives  and honey.

Yes, but logically "land" (_'eres._) has an equally strong connection
with every noun that follows, so the grammatical construction doesn't
by itself explain why the closest noun ("wheat", "oil") should be
singled out from among the others.  This is actually one of the cases
in which the accentual parse shows a discrepancy from strict logical
and/or syntactic constituency.  I discuss such syntactic-accentual
constituency discrepancies to some degree in chapter 3 of my
dissertation (see URL in the .sig at end), and Mark Aronoff, in his
1985 article ``Orthography and Linguistic Theory: The Syntactic Basis
of Masoretic Hebrew Punctuation'', _Language_ (vol. 61, pp. 28-72),
systematically collects and discusses examples of such discrepancies
(though he doesn't give quite enough weight to prosodic factors as an
explanation).

In this case, the accentual discrepancy from the logical/syntactic
structure seems to be mainly for reasons of prosodic balance; compare
the accentual parse of Deuteronomy 8:8 below (where "1" = _silluuq_,
"2" = _'athnah._, "3" = the d1 accents of Cohen 1969, and "4" = the d2
accents of Cohen 1969) with a quasi-syntactic parse of Deuteronomy 8:8
given below (where "V" stands for the whole Biblical verse, "C" stands
for a complete noun compound or _smikhut_, and "A" stands for the part
of a noun compound which is in morphological "absolute state"):

Deu 8. 8

  [1[2[3[4  'E6rEc HiT:Ah_4  4]
        [4  uw$.`orA3h  4]3]
      [3[3  w.gE6pEn uwt.'enA3h  3]
        [3  w.rim:o2wn  3]3]2]
    [2[3  'E8rEc-ze6yt SE3mEn  3]
      [3  uwd.bA1S;  3]2]1]

  [V[C  'ErEc
       [A  HiT:Ah uw$.`orAh w.gEpEn uwt.'enAh w.rim:own  A]C]
    [C  'ErEc
       [A  ze6yt SEmEn uwd.bAS;  A]C]V]

Here the accentual parse seems to be produced by taking the two
noun-compound constructions as the two natural halves of the verse (so
that the _'athnah._ is placed on the last word of the first compound),
and then dividing the first compound in half pretty much arbitrarily
(for prosodic balance).  All further divisions are low-level; the
final result is a verse divided into three main parts, with the first
two parts more closely connected (i.e. a constituency pattern
[[ A B ] C ]), with each of these three parts also having an internal
sub-constituency pattern [[ A B ] C ], as can be seen in the following
diagram (which must be viewed with a non-proportional -- i.e.
fixed-width -- font):

                                     / \
                                   /     \
                                 /         \
                               /             \
                             /                 \
                           /                     \
                         /                         \
                       /   \                         \
                     /       \                         \
                   /           \                         \
                 /               \                         \
               /                   \                         \
             /                       \                         \
           /\                       /  \                         \
         /    \                   /      \                        /\
       /        \               / \        \                    /    \
     /\           \           /     \        \                /        \
   /    \           \       /         \        \            /  \         \
  6      4           3     6           3        2          6    3         1
 'ErEc HiT:Ah uw$.`orAh w.gEpEn uwt.'enAh w.rim:own 'ErEc-zeyt SEmEn uwd.bAS;


--
Henry Churchyard   churchh at usa.net   http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/



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