[b-hebrew] We and us
farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 14 04:15:34 EST 2006
Sure, part of our problem is that we will always remain at a distance
from the language: we are neither native speakers, nor do we have access
to native speakers. For me, this is where the functional-typological
method is so helpful (for others, generative grammar, etc) as it helps
to narrow the options, provide alternatives, offer critique, etc.
Because language grammaticalisation follows certain pathways, it is
helpful in the analysis of "dead" languages. Two competing theories can
be assessed for which has more validity (see Cynthia Miller's essay in
_The Future of Biblical Archaeology_, for example).
Regarding the issue of politeness distinctions in pronouns (I assume
here that Revell's earlier account has more validity than his later
appeal to a vague "immediate/non-immediate" distinction), known
languages can develop this opposition in the first-person, but they do
only after the opposition is first expressed in the second- and
third-person pronouns. This observation can be expressed as an
implicational hierarchy: 2 < 3 < 1. Helmbrecht demonstrates that the
grammaticalisation of politeness distinctions in the first-person is
from a number of options: nouns denoting "servant" and "slave" etc
(Japanese, Thai, Burmese, Vietnamese, Turkish); a reflexive pronoun
(Korean, Japanese, Burmese); demonstratives (Thai); plural (Turkish,
Malay, and some Mayan languages) and dual pronouns (Kunimaipa); and
borrowing of another language's polite pronoun(s) (Thai, Chomorro,
Malay, Kalispel, Spokane). This is the way other known languages have
grammaticalised the function and it is expected that BH should conform
to this cross-linguistic patterning. Hebrew may divert, but it needs to
be established why this is.
Hope this helps.
What we do have, though, is
> Dear David, Bryan, etc.
> At the risk of being too simple, could it be that some of the
> phenomena that
> is being seen with "ani, anoki, etc." is due to the 430 years in Goshen,
> then 40 years in the desert? True, there are some Egyptian loan-words,
> the Egyptians, as indicated by Moses in Genesis that the Egyptians would
> have nothing to do with sheepherders; therefore, the descendants of
> Israel/Jacob were placed in Goshen.
> Again, 470 years, even with servitude, still is long time for some
> facets of
> a language to remain static. I wonder if we are dismissing the period in
> Egypt too readily? What say ye, or should I say you?
> Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
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