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

C. Stirling Bartholomew jacksonpollock at earthlink.net
Sat Aug 28 11:53:26 EDT 2004

On 8/28/04 3:35 AM, "Trevor Peterson" <abuian at access4less.net> wrote:

> I don't think there's anything wrong with identifying semantic
> possibilities per se. The classical model makes no attempt to account
> for how these possibilities arise--it's simply a catalog of what's
> there. To the extent that the "species" accurately reflect the meaning
> in their samples, there's nothing particularly misleading about pointing
> them out.

Trevor and Harold,

Waltke/O'Connor 9.5.1 #6

Jer 1:2

W/O call this a genitive of authorship.

My question. Does this genitive *mean* authorship? Should we let a student
think that this genitive *means* authorship?

This genitive has a syntax function. It binds two constituents together. The
semantic significance of the relationship between the two constituents is
not indicated in any way, shape or form by the genitive.

The statement: "This genitive *means* authorship" encourages the student to
think of the genitive as a language feature that carries semantic content.
This thinking will lead them to all sorts of wrong methods and conclusions.

Grammarians of the traditional school seem to think this is ok because deep
down they really believe that the genitive is a language feature that
carries semantic content.

I am not convinced by the "patterns of usage" line of argument. When the
genitive binds two constituents together it opens of a nearly unlimited
range of possible semantic relationships. Breaking these down into neat,
tidy categories doesn't tell us anything about the function of the genitive.
Having a student memorize these categories while studying the SYNTAX of the
genitive is worse than dubious, it is counter productive ...

Enough already.

Thanks for your thoughts.

... back to the books,

Clay Bartholomew 

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