The Linguistic Description and Analysis of 2 Samuel 11-12 from the Perspective of Functional Grammar in the Tradition of Simon Dik

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Abstract

This thesis endeavors to describe as fully as possible the intra-sentential linguistic features of Biblical Hebrew as found in 2 Samuel 11-12, from the perspective of Functional Grammar as formulated by Simon Dik. After an overview of Dik’s theory, the definitions and formal notation of the semantic functions relevant to each layer of the clause are presented. These layers are built up according to the “bottom-up” analysis of Functional Grammar. The first layer of description is the nuclear predication and since this layer is so important, three chapters are devoted to it. Subsequent chapters cover the core predication, the extended predication, the proposition, and, finally, the illocution. In addition, syntactic and pragmatic functions are included in the description.

At each stage, further refinements are introduced into the description, both of the words as stored in the Lexicon (Appendix 1) and of the representations of the underlying semantic structures of the clauses (Appendix 2).

In these descriptive chapters, several important issues concerning Hebrew are necessarily addressed to describe adequately the semantic functions of 2 Samuel 11-12. The four most substantial arguments presented are that (1) 'et functions to mark fully Affected terms; (2) terms governed by a noun in construct and non-argument pronominal suffixes are related to their head by the semantic function of Associated; (3) the perfective/imperfective aspectual opposition is not grammaticized in Biblical Hebrew; and (4) the four major verb forms: wayyiqtol, qatal, yiqtol, and weqatal, grammaticize tense distinctions of past, anterior, non-past, and non-anterior, respectively.

The analysis chapter is devoted to analyzing how the semantic representations that have been described can be mapped onto the actual linguistic forms of the text, concentrating mostly on the correct linear placement of constituents (traditionally called word order) and choice of verb form. Two constituent templates are proposed that describe the order of constituents within sentences and their movement according to pragmatic functions and displacement phenomena.

It is proposed that the semantic representations formulated according to Functional Grammar contain sufficient information to be mapped accurately onto the surface form of the text, thereby validating the linguistic description as proposed within this theoretical framework.
Original languageEnglish
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Diewert, David, Principal Supervisor, External person
Place of PublicationRegent College
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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