[b-hebrew] Hebrew and English word order

C. Stirling Bartholomew threetreepoint at earthlink.net
Fri Jul 8 14:19:48 EDT 2005

On 7/7/05 5:52 AM, "David Gray" <david_gray at sil.org> wrote:

> Anyway, in principle why shouldn't a linguist critique a literary critic's
> translation? It is there to be criticised, from any angle a reader (academic
> or not) chooses.

No reason why not. But L. de Regt runs into problems when he puts demands on
R.Alter which are out of scope for a literary critic. For example his
lengthily criticism of

Gen 16:8c Alter: "From Sari my mistress I am fleeing."

Alter (p. xxxii) states that this word order preserves "the thematic or
psychological emphases" of the Hebrew text. But L. de Regt claims that this
word order in English marks a contrastive or restrictive focus. Alter's
statement and de Regt's are out of sync. Alter is not saying that the
fronted constituent marks "contrastive or restrictive focus". Thus de Regt
is imposing his alien framework on Alter's stated purpose, making Alter live
up to something Alter never intended to live up to. The topic-focus schema
doesn't map directly to Alter's "the thematic or psychological emphases".
If you are going to fault Alter for breaking his own rules then you need to
adopt Alter's framework.


Clay Bartholomew 

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