[b-hebrew] We and us
B. M. Rocine
brocine at twcny.rr.com
Mon Nov 13 20:13:20 EST 2006
I thankfully accept your caution.
In fairness to Revell, I poorly stated his definition of
immediacy/distance as a parameter of usage. It is not only a deference
or politeness distinction per se. Immediacy reflects a category of
usage in which social status, emotional intensity, and personal concern
come into play (see _The Designation of the Individual_ 3.4, 26.1,
In addition his analysis of the 'ani/'anoki contrast does not sit alone.
According to Revell, it is part of a widely utilized and
self-consistent parameter of usage, immediacy/distance.
Of course, we should probably view with suspicion any "self-consistent"
linguistic system in the Hebrew Bible, but again, in fairness to Revell,
his corpus of study is limited to Sam-Kings, if I remember correctly.
I am not out to defend Revell. Only to be fair. On the other hand, I
do like coming to the Hebrew Bible with a "friendliness" like his, in
which one strives to find consistency in the corpus we have rather than
trying to reconstruct the origin of BH.
David Kummerow wrote:
> Note, though, that Revell's position can be critiqued typologically. For
> every other language that expresses a politeness distinction with their
> independent personal pronouns, the distinction occurs first in the
> second person, then in the third, and only then in the first (see esp
> the Helmbrecht references below). In other words, some functional reason
> means that if a language expresses a politeness distinction in the first
> person, it must also express this distinction in the third and second
> person pronouns, which Hebrew does not. Therefore, the typological
> evidence calls Revell's account into question. In this light, the theory
> that Hebrew exhibits a politeness distinction in the first person needs
> explanation as to why it diverts for all other languages, which Revell
> does not unfortunately provide. Personally, I am thus extremely hesitant
> to affirm Revell's position.
> Reading on this question would include:
> Agha, Asif. 1994. “Honorification.” Annual Review of Anthropology 23:
> Helmbrecht, Johannes. 2004. “Ikonizität in Personalpronomina.”
> Zeitschrift für Sprachwissenschaft 23: 211-244.
> Helmbrecht, Johannes. 2004. “Personal Pronouns: Form, Function, and
> Grammaticalization.” Habilitationschrift, University of Erfurt.
> Helmbrecht, Johannes. 2005. “Typologie und Diffusion von
> Höflichkeitspronomina in Europa.” Arbeitspapiere des Seminars für
> Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Erfurt 18: 1-34.
> Helmbrecht, Johannes. 2005. “Politeness Distinctions in Pronouns.” Pages
> 186-189 in The World Atlas of Language Structures. Edited by Martin
> Haspelmath, Matthew S. Dryer, David Gil, and Bernard Comrie. Oxford:
> Oxford University Press.
> David Kummerow.
>> Mah nishmah, Yigal,
>> I was just about to send off a note to you pointing to Revell's work
>> when I saw David's post.
>> Revell explains the choice between ani and anoki pragmatically. ani
>> for "immediate" situations where social distance and formality are
>> either uncalled for or abandoned, and anoki to express "distance,"
>> that is, when a speaker takes care to express formality, restraint,
>> I think the explanation works, but then again, I am sort of partial
>> toward "pragmatics." I think Vince DeCaen has researched an
>> alternative, semantically driven explanation in Samuel-Kings, but I
>> don't know if he ever published.
B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13026
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