[b-hebrew] Deut. 4:10 )$r
Harold R. Holmyard III
hholmyard at ont.com
Fri Oct 8 10:05:07 EDT 2004
I read the "Headlessness and Extraposition" paper and was not
convinced. Holmstedt's results seemed poorer than the normal view of
the clauses. There is less intelligence expressed by his
alternatives. One discussion he had, where he preferred "when" to
"if," seems empty since "when" and "if" can be functional
substitutes. The 1 Kings 3:12 example seemed particularly odd (God
already viewed Solomon as unique). The better solution seems to be to
regard )$R as a linking word that is open to a number of functions
depending on the context. Yes, I like the final/result interpretation
of )$R in Deut 4:10.
The leftward shift versus rightward shift distinction is new to me
and did not seem to mean much. What difference does it make which
direction one sees the phrases shifting? A person conceives a
sentence in his mind to keep words near other related words. Couldn't
one might shift words either direction? The leftward versus rightward
concept seems to build on the notion of a set grammatical sentence
skeleton, but I am not sure that there is such a thing. Take this
We met a man on the street who was wearing a yellow suit.
The argument was that this is really leftward movement of "on the
street" rather than rightward movement of "who was wearing a yellow
suit." What skeleton demands that the movement be leftward or
rightward? To have "on the street" at the end would create ambiguity.
The point is certainly not to say that "a man was wearing a yellow
suit on the street." I guess the distinction was not even necessary
to Holmstedt's concept of extraposition in Hebrew. But the shifts he
shows in Hebrew actually seem to be rightward from an English
And to Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, who
Asenath bore to him.
The relative clause at the end of the sentence seems to have been
moved rightward, rather than "before the years of famine came" being
moved leftward. And the issue is that "before the famine came"
modifies "were born" rather than "bore." The words might seem to
modify "bore" if they were at the end of the sentence. But really
nothing seems to have been moved rightward or leftward, since the
information about Asenath is extra data that doesn't fit into the
structure of the main clause.
>R. Holmstedt* argues that )$r does not introduce final/result clauses contra
>Waltke/O'Conner #38.3b.1. How would you read the function of )$r in:
>Deut. 4:10 w)$m(M )t-dbry )$r ylmdwN lyr)h )ty
>What do you folks think of this?
>Holmstedt papers are available here:
>While I have no more sympathy for minimalism after reading four of
>Holmstedt's papers than I had previously, I will say that they are well
>written and worth reading and certainly some response from the linguists on
>this list concerning his main thesis in "Headlessness and Extraposition"
>would beneficial for the rest of us.
>* 2001. " Headlessness and Extraposition: Another Look at the Syntax of
>[asher]." Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 27(1):1-16.
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