[b-hebrew] "Species" of the Genitive Waltke/O'Connor

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Aug 27 06:38:20 EDT 2004

On 27/08/2004 07:25, C. Stirling Bartholomew wrote:

>Waltke/O'Connor seem a little embarrassed about proceeding to level of
>semantic classification for the Genitive which they call "a traditional
>classification of species" (Waltke/O'Connor BH Syntax 9.4.b p141). But they
>go ahead and do it even though you get the feeling that they know better.
>The move from syntax categories like adnominal genitives to semantic
>categories like genitive of authorship (9.5.1.c) is precisely the kind of
>move that has in the last decade produced several Greek grammars of dubious
>D.Blakemore* at the end of her chapter on "Enrichment" raises the issue of
>the semantic properties of the genitive in a way which suggests that what
>Waltke/O'Connor call "a traditional classification of species" is in fact
>something to be embarrassed about.

Genitive as a syntactic and especially morphological category is clearly 
defined, at least in Greek and many other languages. There doesn't seem 
to be a true morphological genitive in biblical Hebrew (although there 
may have been in earlier stages of the language), but the construct 
relationship is syntactically analogous to a genitive relationship 
between noun phrases, as are the English possessive constructions with 
's and of.

The embarrassment comes when people try to treat the genitive as a 
semantic category. This simply doesn't work, especially 
cross-linguistically. There are many different semantic relationships 
which can be expressed by a syntactic genitive (or construct or 
possessive) relationship, but there is no consistency from language to 
language on exactly what can be expressed in this way.

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

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list