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Robert Holmstedt

John,

You're doing a nice job of explaining the AFPMA, which, to put it diplomatically, is not easy to use.

By the way, since I think you would agree that terminology can be important, you might be interested to know that "extraposition" is hardly ever used anymore in linguistics to refer to movement or placement of constituents at the front of (or moved "leftward" in) a clause. This is typically referred to as fronting (or with the framework-specific terms "topicalization" or "focus"-fronting -- which are not identical).

Extraposition, in contrast, is almost always used to refer to "rightward" movement (or placement of some constituent at the "end" of a clause"). For example, the placement of a relative clause away from its head, as in "The man died who I saw yesterday" is called relative clause extraposition. Heavy Noun Phrase Shift (HNPS) is another example of extraposition. (For everyone's sake I am here avoiding the complexities of the status of rightward movement in generative syntax!)

It is unfortunate the too many Hebraists use extraposition in the older, Jespersen-influenced way, since it demonstrates little more than how out-of-touch they are with even the simplest of linguistic conventions. Good grief -- someone read Crystal's Dictionary before they publish an article! (No offense, John.)

Your examples above would be better called "fronting," which is also how van der Merwe et al. refer to such constructions (just to show that there is precedent in Hebrew studies besides my own pet theories, if generative linguistics can be called a "pet theory"!).

Since I remained stubbornly narrow in my VT article, focusing on just the first verse, I enjoyed the first post and am looking forward to the remaining post so see where you take the rest.

Cheers,
Rob

JohnFH

Thanks, Rob, for your comment on terminology. I didn't know that "extraposition" has come to have the meaning of post-position as opposed to pre-position in some theoretical frameworks.

Your suggestion to refer to the syntactic phenomenon looked at here as an example of fronting is surely correct. I understand it in the same way. However, I'm looking for a term that labels the phenomenon more precisely. That is, here we have fronted preposed subjects, objects, and time points that stand OUTSIDE of the clause to which they relate.

One can't very well refer to the phenomenon as preposition. Perhaps "extraclausal position" would do the trick. Or is that term already taken too?

If not, the above might be reworded:

The extraclausal position of a clause immediate constituent = subject / object / time point before (in linguistic terms, "to the left of") the waw-introduced clause to which it relates is exemplified by . . .

I am open to suggestions, of course. I'm looking for strictly grammatical terminology. I prefer to think of information structure as a distinct domain of description with separate terminology or tags to go along with it.

Robert Holmstedt

Hi John,

That's quite a good question. If you *know* that a constituent that has reference within a clause is placed outside of that clause, the generative term is "left-dislocation" when it is at the front clause boundary or "right-dislocation" when it is at the rear clause boundary. Textbook cases often involve a resumptive (anaphoric for LD and cataphoric for RD) element inside the clause proper, but this is not always so (it depends on the language).

For some reason I don't think that it ever crossed my mind but you may be right -- the PP in Gen 1.1 is formally "left-dislocated" IF we take the vav conjunction on the wayyiqtol verb in 1.3 to mark the upper clause boundary. In generative terms, the PP is adjoined to the CP. (Yeah, I know -- that's real clear, eh?) Gen 1.2 presents no problems to the analysis, since circumstantial clauses, like other types of suprasentential items (e.g., vocatives) often "interrupt" normal syntax. Drawing trees for these kind of things gets really, really messy (but it's still fun).

I have no idea what the functional linguistic terms equivalent to LD and RD are these days. Ask Mickey Noonan at UWM -- he's a great fellow and an excellent functionalist syntactician (although he did once tried to "convert" me from generativism).

Rob

JohnFH

Now you see what I see.

Open up all the hyperlinked texts into separate tabs and peruse the set. You will eyes will grow wider, I suspect.

The "left-right" language of linguistics, of course, tends to confuse Hebraists who read right to left. But the fact is, you can't do linguistics if you are not prepared to do a lot of mental gymnastics, so the left-right language should not be a show-stopper.

Mike

Personally, I find Andersen-Forbes to be extremely helpful. While my Hebrew is strictly limited to the alphabet, I do have a decent grounding in linguistics that helps me follow. I can't read Hebrew (yet), but I can read tree diagrams and grammars.

JohnFH

That is astounding, Mike, a real tribute to your linguistic training.

Mike

well, I'm not saying that I could write a exegesis paper or anything...more that when I find a difference in translation, between commentaries and AF, I can gain some understanding of what's going on.

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