Et (Genesis 1:1)

Matthew Anstey ansteyfamily at
Fri May 24 06:46:13 EDT 2002

Dear B-Haverim,

No-one has mentioned Garr (1991) ZAH. He and others have analysed 'et as
having to do with affectedness/effectedness (re Hopper and Thompson). I
think there is much merit in this. Since I think accusative and nominative
and inappropriate categories in BH linguistics; I just parse 'et as NM for
nominal marker. This is the most neutral term.

As Peter Kirk mentioned, typological studies suggest that 'et may code a
pragmatic distinction, as many other aspects of BH also do. Research
focussing on its interpersonal uses may add illumination to this. Richard
also mentioned Malessa's article. He is currently writing his phd on 'et, to
be published in German at some stage. Perhaps he has finished already and I
haven't heard.

I would think that first-argument marking with 'et is not a sign of
ergativity in BH.


Matthew Anstey
Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
Faculteit der Godgeleerdheid
Residence: Kambah, ACT, Australia
ansteyfamily at
+61 (0)2 6296 4044

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