[b-hebrew] Species of Genitive

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Aug 28 18:37:13 EDT 2004

On Saturday 28 August 2004 14:14, DrJDPrice at aol.com wrote:
> Dear Listers:
> I rarely post messages to this list, although I regularly monitor the daily
> digest. But this topic grabbed my attention. I teach Hebrew syntax by means
> of my own text-linguistic model that employs semantic restraints. I agree
> that the so-called genitive categories have little exegetical value. I have
> come to  the conclusion that all noun phrases are derived from a noun in
> deep-structure restrained by a dependent clause.
> N|S(N) ==> N(phrase)
> This notation means: Noun "N" such that clause "S" is true about "N"; this
> deep-structure information is transformed into the surface-structure
> "Noun(phrase)." S may be a simple clause, a paragraph, or even a discourse.
>  Whatever its content, S is old information contained in the preceding
> context of  the discourse, or in common knowledge. The author assumed that
> his readers knew  the content of S, so he was free to simplify the
> information to phrase  form.
> Genitive noun phrases are derived from the following form of the above 
> rule:
> N1|S(N1, N2) ==> N1 + N2(gen)
> The content of S declares the relationship of N1 and N2, and is what is
> exegetically interesting. Sometimes S may lend itself to a category label,
> but often it doesn't, explaining why we have so much trouble with
> categories. I teach my students to forget categories and to look for S.
> This has been quite successful in getting students past the categories they
> learned in Greek, and into semantics of the text.

This is fascinating.  I have been working for several years on the idea that 
the construct relation in Hebrew is actually built on a reduced verbal 
clause, a clause built around what I call a "relator" verb (i.e. one that 
semantically denotes some sort of relationship).  I prefer the term "clause" 
over "sentence" and hence I usually notate S as Cl, but that's mainly just a 
quibble over terminology.  In any case, what I speculate is

N - V(r) - N --> N(cs) - N

which to me looks a lot like your map above.  What do you think?

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

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