[b-hebrew] Participant Reference

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Aug 4 17:12:18 EDT 2004

On 04/08/2004 21:54, C. Stirling Bartholomew wrote:

>I have been looking into the subject of Participant Reference in narrative
>and wondering how the distinction between a new participant and an already
>active participant is encoded in biblical Hebrew.
>Beyond the obvious use of an anaphoric pronominal, what are the discourse
>mechanisms used to indicate that a participant has already been activated?
>In other words, when Abraham is mentioned by name the second or third or nth
>time in a narrative, how does it differ from Abraham's initial introduction?
I think it might be easier to look at how participants are first 
introduced, because this is probably the marked or less common case. 
Major characters are commonly introduced by lengthy formulae like "There 
was a man...". See for example Ruth 1:1-2, Job 1:1. In Genesis, new 
major characters are mostly introduced by the reports of their birth, in 
genealogies etc, and so need no further introduction. Minor characters 
are introduced more simply, often as "X son of Y" or "X of/from Z".

Once participants have been introduced, they are usually referred to 
after that by a simple name, or by a pronoun where there is no ambiguity.

Most of this is common across many languages, but details differ from 
language to language.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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