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

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Aug 28 01:51:28 EDT 2004

On Friday 27 August 2004 11:34, C. Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
> On 8/27/04 7:13 AM, "Dave Washburn" <dwashbur at nyx.net> wrote:
> > The brand of transformational-generative grammar that I use has been
> > calling for a clear separation of syntax and semantics for decades...I
> > quite agree that the kind of move seen in W/O (and not just in this one
> > category) tends to muddy the waters and reduce the effectiveness of their
> > grammar project.
> Dave,
> You are right, Chomsky '59-'65 already had this nailed down. This is not a
> new idea. However, the cognitive school (Relevance Theory RT*, etc.) has
> gone beyond to mostly negative statements of early-Chomsky on semantics to
> fully explore the relationship between "the code" and meaning.
> In the case of the genitive, the semantic payload triggered by "the code"
> is non-deterministic. This payload is supplied by the instantiations of the
> slots in the cognitive frame of the recipient (auditor). The RT* terms for
> this are "inference" and semantic "enrichment."  This is a long way from
> early-Chomsky.

The TG model that I use is actually somewhere between his EST model and the 
government-binding model that ultimately led to his current "minimalist" 
approach.  IMO he took a wrong turn at trace theory and wound up trying to 
make the model too dependent on mathematical constructs.  When we're dealing 
with the mystery of the human mind, some things aren't going to be 
quantifiable.  Two examples I like to use: "bad" used to mean "bad."  An 
American subculture reversed that meaning in certain contexts, and it has 
caught on in large portions of general American society.  There's no model 
that I've ever seen that can quantify that.  "Breakfast" used to mean "first 
meal of the day, normally taken in the morning after a night's sleep."  
Thanks to an ad campaign by Village Inn back in the 70's and 80's, it now 
denotes a particular set of food types ("I like breakfast, and I like it at 6 
o'clock in the evening") in addition to its original meaning.

See my 1994 paper in Hebrew Studies for my as-yet-only application of the 
model I'm still in the process of developing...

Meanwhile, you've given me a lot of new reading to do!

Dave Washburn
"No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk

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