New PDF release: A Survey of Syntax in the Hebrew Old Testament

By J. Wash Watts

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Extra resources for A Survey of Syntax in the Hebrew Old Testament

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We will refer to containing inferrables of this type as anchored inferrables. Examples are given in (39)–(40): (39) But our neighbor decided he didn’t like cats and shot one of them. (40) And at the same time, the budget he sent to Congress has tax and fee increases. In (39), as in the majority of the possessive determiner subject NPs, the referent is linked to the discourse context through the use of a first-person possessive determiner. In (40), the referent is linked to the discourse context through the use of an object relative clause, the subject of which is an active discourse entity.

Along these same lines, Givón (1983a: 10) suggests that the denotata of some nominal expressions, such as kin terms, “are in the file permanently, and are thus always accessible to speakers/hearers as part of their generic firmament” (emphasis in original). Lambrecht (1994: 114) similarly views inferrable status as the product of pragmatic accommodation. He argues that the speaker exploits the potential for easy activation of kin-term referent and “conveys a request to the hearer to act as if the referent of the NP were already pragmatically available”.

However, as mentioned, the two functions, topic-establishment and predication, may be conflated into one clause rather than distributed over two. One such example is given in (8): (8) My sister has a, she just had a baby. He’s about five months old, and she was worrying about going back to work and what she was going to do with him. In (8), both subject- and object-denotata are discourse new, and both persist as topics. While the referent of a baby is in the grammatical position canonically dedicated to discourse-new entities, the referent of my sister is not.

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A Survey of Syntax in the Hebrew Old Testament by J. Wash Watts


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