DA of Poetry

David Stabnow dstabno at lifeway.com
Tue Dec 19 15:07:23 EST 2000

Topic: Discourse Analysis, at its current state of development, seems to
falter when applied to poetry.

I have been encouraged by Longacre (*Joseph*) and Dawson (*Text-Linguistics
and BH*) who proposed "clines" that explain how various syntactical
structures are used in various genres of BH literature. It was helpful to
see things laid out in a manner that could be grasped. I understand,
however, that such charts are too simplistic to encompass a language.

This inadequacy has become quite evident when approaching some poetry. Must
the findings of DA for prose be thrown out? What can be salvaged? How must
it evolve? Would Niccacci and Talstra argue that their systems handle

As a test case, let's try to make sense of the use of verb tense and
clause-initial syntax in the first 7 verses of Ps 77. I have wrestled with
verses 2 (English v. 1) and 7 (English 6) a little.

In v. 2, perhaps the first verb is habitual yiqtol ("I cry out; I am crying
out; I have been crying out"), and the second is weqatal indicating
intended result ("in order that He will hear me"). The verbless clauses may
imply a habitual yiqtol verb ("I *raise* my voice").

In v. 7 I wonder if the two yiqtols are again past habitual: "I used to
remember my song in the night; I used to meditate with my heart." The
wayyiqtol, then, is the next event (temporally or logically consequent) in
the past: "Then my spirit inquired:"

Would anybody else like to weigh in on DA in BH poetry? Is anybody doing
serious work in this area?

Dave Stabnow

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