Hebrew Syntax.

David Stabnow dstabno at lifeway.com
Wed Apr 10 14:58:32 EDT 2002

Rolf Furuli wrote: "The "minimal- pair" situation where there is just a one
graphic difference between two entities is the easiest situation to handle
in linguistics, because all linguistic differences must be caused by this
single graphic difference. The  situation that is farthest away from that
ideal situation is discourse analysis because the one working with this has
to handle hundreds of factors at once (scores of words in sentences and
paragraphs, lexical semantics, grammar, syntax, linguistic convention,
idioms, linguistic convention etc) So there is a great danger of
circularity and wrong conclusions in the attempt to deal with so many words
and factors at the same time."

You are right that the ideal would be a simple explanation.  That is the
point of Ockham's Razor.  However, experiments in Artificial Intelligence
(AI) have shown that natural language is extremely complex.  Therefore, I
am suspicious of any system that claims to show that language is simple.
What I look for instead is a system that is comprehensive enough to explain
most of what goes on in a language, yet just simple enough to fit into my
poor, overtaxed brain.  Contrary to the hopes of AI and generative grammar,
I don't expect nor require an _entirely_ comprehensive system.  I suspect
that when one is finally created, it will not fit in my brain -- it will
reside on a computer or in much bigger brains than mine.

I welcome your forays away from the mainstream of Hebrew Grammar.  Keep us
posted.  The resistance to your ideas could be our resistance to a new
paradigm, that we don't understand your system, or that it is wrong.  Time
will tell.  For my own part, I don't find any fatal flaws in the current
system.  In fact, DA seems to account for more data than your minimal-pair

Dave Stabnow
Bible Translation Editor
Broadman & Holman Publishers
Nashville, Tennessee
david.stabnow at lifeway.com

    Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do,
do everything for God's glory.  (1 Cor 10:31, HCSB)

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