Discourse analysis

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Wed Apr 10 10:53:18 EDT 2002


Probably one of the simplest ways to get a general answer to your questions 
would be to find a copy of Rocine's grammar. Since you already know basic 
Hebrew, it should be fairly simple to scan through his presentation for the 
differences from what you learned. To take a stab at a brief answer myself, DA 
is a field of linguistics that seeks to analyze what's going on beyond the 
level of the clause or sentence. It's sometimes described as text linguistics 
for this reason. The basic underlying assumption is that there are patterns 
not only to how we construct sentences but to how we link them with one 
another in a discourse or text. The reason this sort of thing affects our 
understanding of verbs is that it puts the verbal forms into a larger context 
that includes things like word order and discourse type in the analysis of 
what's going on. So, for instance, the interpretation of a yiqtol (prefixal) 
form at the beginning of a clause can go beyond the morphology to ask how the 
presence or absence of a conjunction and the position of the verb itself in 
the clause affect the meaning. (In Gropp's view of Classical Biblical Hebrew 
prose, for instance, a bare prefixal form at the beginning of a clause pretty 
much has to be volitive.) You wouldn't have much to work with for this kind of 
analysis if you restricted your parameters to morphological characteristics 
and older syntactic approaches (which would typically allow for various 
possibilities without providing much direction as to which possibility is 
expected in a given situation); but DA seeks to establish patterns that 
describe how these configurations affect the meaning of the discourse.

Hopefully that's of some help. There are also some useful collections of 
essays on DA in Biblical Hebrew that should be pretty easy to find by 
searching for the key terms in the title.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics

>===== Original Message From "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried at umich.edu> =====
>Pardon my ignorance, but what is discourse analysis,
>and how does it affect our understanding of the verbs?
>Al regel ehad.
>Thanks
>Liz
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Clayton Javurek [mailto:javurek at asu.edu]
>Sent: Tue, April 09, 2002 12:14 PM
>To: Biblical Hebrew
>Subject: RE: Hebrew Syntax.
>
>
>
>
>
>Clayton Javurek
>E-MAIL: javurek at asu.edu
>
>If you can still find it, I thought the one by
>Ronald Williams, professor at the University of Toronto,
>was a good one since it is easy to
>follow. It is called HEBREW SYNTAX.
>
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Ian Goldsmith [ mailto:iangoldsmith1969 at yahoo.co.uk
><mailto:iangoldsmith1969 at yahoo.co.uk> ]
>Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2002 9:04 AM
>To: Biblical Hebrew
>Subject: Hebrew Syntax.
>
>
>Dear Members.
>
>Would you be kind enough to give me your preferred
>book on Hebrew Syntax.
>
>I'd just like to get a good cross section on what
>we/you prefer, author wise etc, in this area of study.
>Any additional comments on why you choose a given
>author would be also very welcome.
>
>Many thanks for your help.
>
>Ian.
>
>=====
>Ian Goldsmith.
>England.
>
>Dibrah Torah kilshone bnei-adam
>'The Torah spoke in the language of ordinary men.'
>Berakot 31b
>
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