[b-hebrew] We and us

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Wed Nov 15 07:49:48 EST 2006

Hi David,

Thank you for your helpful clarifications.

One minor clarification on my side:  in my post (quoted below) I 
purposely avoided discussing 'adoni hammelek for the very reasons you 
mention.  I focused on only the transformation from 2nd person notion 
(e.g. tishma') to 3rd person surface (yishma`) and `ebed + pronominal 
suffix, which has wide application.

I do accept that grammaticalization may be more rigorous than I had 
realized. I am still not sure why tishma` -> yishma` would not qualify.

Thanks also for the bibliographic references!


David Kummerow wrote:

> Looking again at the example: to what extent are the phrases 'adoni 
> hammelek and `abdo grammaticalised? 'adoni hammelek will only be used in 
> reference to a king, that is, the politeness expressed by the phrase has 
> not extended past such a context. For it to be a polite pronoun, it 
> would need to have lost much of the reference to "king" such that the 
> phrase could be used more widely of any addressee when the expression of 
> politeness is desired. Sure the phrases expresses politeness in the 
> example; but the phrase isn't grammaticalised. Is this the situation too 
> with `abdo? I'm not sure that the word has lost its lexical meaning of 
> "servant" and instead is a polite pronoun. Note that the suffix is not 
> obligatorily 3ms, but will change depending of the context (3mp, 2ms, 
> 2pl, etc). This points to the non-grammaticalised nature of the 
> expression, with `ebed still being a lexical word denoting 
> "servant/slave". It is via the use of this lexical word denoting 
> "servant/slave" that politeness is being expressed, not by the use of a 
> grammaticalised polite pronoun. The issue is where `abdo is situated on 
> the lexical-grammatical cline, with lexical words being used for the 
> expression of politeness on one end of the spectrum, and grammatical 
> items reserved solely for this purpose on the other.

> Hope this helps to clarify things.
> Regards,
> David Kummerow.
>> Hi David,
>> Begging your patience.
>> Take 1 Sam 26:19 for an example:
>> yishma` na' 'adoni hammelek 'et dibrey `abdo
>> We have a 3rd person subject prefix on the verb. Surely this is a 
>> transformation from the second person notion "you" (2nd person) as in 
>> "you listen."
>> We have a third person pronominal suffix on `abdo. Surely this is a 
>> transformation from the first person possessive notion, "The words are 
>> mine."
>> The question is not whether the notions surface as noun clauses or 
>> independent pronouns. The question is whether the transformation from 
>> a notion in one person to a surface structure in another person is 
>> driven by politeness.
>> Am I thinking correctly?
>> If yes, why wouldn't the surface structure qualify as 
>> grammaticalization since it requires third person reference?
>> Shalom,
>> Bryan
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B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
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Syracuse, NY 13026
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