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Question about an Indirect Object in the Hebrew Syntax Database


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#1 David Knoll

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Posted 14 July 2011 - 03:42 AM

I was trying to search where the verb פחד is complemented by the preposition מן.
I thought the correct query would be a Predicate Phrase containing a Predicate of the root פחד and a Complement with the Lexeme מן (Fear + From someone/something).
It returned one result in Ps 119:161. The thing is I know of another verse Ps 27:1 which opens with ממי אפחד (From + whom + fear). When I opened it I realized that it is tagged differently the מן is taken as an Adjunct.
So I thought I would search ל + מי to see if that is consistent. I noticed that in Gen 32:18 it is tagged once as a complement and once as an adjunct though they fill the same function. In other instances it is tagged as an adjunct.
So I have two questions:
1) How can I catch all the instances of an indirect object with a certain preposition in other words both Ps 119:161 and Ps 27:1?
2) Why are the two למי in Gen 32:18 tagged in different ways?

Edited by David Knoll, 14 July 2011 - 04:15 AM.


#2 David Knoll

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 09:42 AM

I was trying to search where the verb פחד is complemented by the preposition מן.
I thought the correct query would be a Predicate Phrase containing a Predicate of the root פחד and a Complement with the Lexeme מן (Fear + From someone/something).
It returned one result in Ps 119:161. The thing is I know of another verse Ps 27:1 which opens with ממי אפחד (From + whom + fear). When I opened it I realized that it is tagged differently the מן is taken as an Adjunct.
So I thought I would search ל + מי to see if that is consistent. I noticed that in Gen 32:18 it is tagged once as a complement and once as an adjunct though they fill the same function. In other instances it is tagged as an adjunct.
So I have two questions:
1) How can I catch all the instances of an indirect object with a certain preposition in other words both Ps 119:161 and Ps 27:1?
2) Why are the two למי in Gen 32:18 tagged in different ways?

I am bumping this. It turned out that this is a search I need frequently...

Edited by David Knoll, 21 July 2011 - 09:43 AM.


#3 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 11:48 AM

I am bumping this. It turned out that this is a search I need frequently...


Apologies. I did not see this post when it originally went up. I'll try to answer it by the end of the day.
Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages
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blog: ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com

#4 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 01:44 PM

I've now looked into this. It is an interesting test case.

First, the data:

From our valency lexicon-in-progress, we have this brief entry:

פחד (qal) ‘be afraid, fear s.t./s.o.’ 1/2 [S V NP/PP] 22x†
As in English, the complement of ‘fear’ verbs are frequently PP, and therefore it is difficult to clearly distinguish at times between adjunct PP and complement PP. For instance, the על PP, which governs a clause in Jer 33:9 is best treated as a causal adjunct clause and not the “thing” that is feared. The cognate accusative constructions of Deut 28:67 (relative head), Ps 14:5 par. 53:6, and Job 3:25 seem to confirm that the verb is both bivalent and monovalent.
(1a) Monovalent without modification (10x): Deut 28:66; Is 12:2; 33:14; 44:8, 11; 60:5; Jer 33:9; 36:24; Psa 78:53; Prov 3:24.
(1a) With מן-PP complement of what is feared (6x): Is 19:16–17; Mic 7:17; Ps 27:1; 119:161; Job 23:15.
(1b) With adjunct אל-PP of what is feared (2x): Jer 36:16; Hos 3:5.
(2) Bivalent with NP (4x): Deut 28:67; Ps 14:5; 53:6; Job 3:25.


As for Ps 27:1, it is an inconsistency that I have now fixed (and will be reflected in the summer release along with the new texts; to be released in late August). Thank you for discovering this. To all syntax users: please report apparent errors like this so we can check them (and either fix them or explain the difference in tagging).

On the relationship between the ל and מי in Gen 32:18 -- I am not sure why you wrote that one is tagged as an adjunct. This does not reflect the tagging: both are tagged the same way, as complements.

Second, the search:

To get a verb and *all* its complement, one need simply search for a verb = lexeme (e.g., פחד) + complement. (See screenshot #1, below).

To distinguish between accusative (e.g., NPs with or without את) and oblique (prepositional) complements, one can specify the complement as a preposition (see screenshot #2, below).
To get just the accusative complements, *eventually* it will require one to simply specify the complements as a noun. Currently, though, there is still some squish in the searching and it returns hits that are not accurate (it overlooks a preposition and takes the prepositional complement as the verbal complement). This type of thing is still being addressed.

As a fix in the meantime, one could do both the searches illustrated below and then either manually subtract the oblique hits from the whole list (for smaller searches) or use the HITS command (I think! -- a true power user would have to jump in here to correct me or illustrate it, since I've forgotten how it works -- where you take two searches and coordinate the hits from each).

Finally, a note on the concept of an "indirect object". This is not a clear syntactic category operative in Hebrew grammar (unlike some Indo-European languages, which use a specific morphological case for the indirect object), it is not included in the syntax database. Hebrew grammar only distinguishes between complements (a category that includes "accusative" and non-"accusative (= oblique)" complements) and adjuncts. Since the verb + complement relationship can be manifested in a variety of ways (depending on the verb), it is desirable to search for both accusative and oblique (= prepositional) complements. To arrive at those hits that are analogous to English indirect objects (which, to be clear, are quite like Hebrew in that they do not represent an defined morpho-syntactic category but depend on specific verbal lexical semantics), one must then identify the sub-class of verbs (e.g., נתן, שׂים) that arguably take so-called indirect objects and after that sort the oblique complement results.

Screenshot #1

Attached File  PHD_AllComps.png   113.22KB   16 downloads

Screenshot #2

Attached File  PHD_ObliqueComps.png   96.31KB   12 downloads
Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages
Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
The University of Toronto
blog: ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com

#5 David Knoll

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 09:46 PM

Thank you Professor for your clear explanations.
As to me seeing different taggings it happened to me before. In both cases I am almost certain that I saw what I reported yet I cannot reproduce. I apologize. There must be something I am doing wrong when I look at the trees but I am not sure what that is.
As for the "Indirect Object" I basically agree but I thought I might get help from a fellow user and even you must agree that the term "indirect object" is more common. It doesn't matter as long as we understand each other. :rolleyes:
I think over time many of your very useful explanations and examples get buried between other forum posts. Maybe you should consider an anthology for the new users. (I print and file them)
Just to see if I got you right: I use search 2 for oblique and [Search 1-Search 2] for accusative. My search for specific prepositions was correct. Right?
What about double duty accusatives?
Two last things:
1) Where can I get your valency lexicon? I love it! I hope you are going to have it published in Accordance as well.
2) What biblical books will be included in August? I may want to avert the tribulation of using your competitors :)
Once again thank you. As always the screenshots serve as a guide for future use.

Edited by David Knoll, 22 July 2011 - 04:50 AM.


#6 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:20 AM

I will add a correction to my statement on indirect objects. My colleague and verbal system expert tells me I should describe the issue thusly:

Clearly the indirect object does not have a place in a valency theory approach. It has to do with the mismatch of case analysis and valency analysis. Hebrew grammar does not have a specific marking of indirect objects so that valency theory with its universal categories of complement and adjunct is more useful in analyzing the syntactic relationships than with a case-inflected language in which distinctions of complement and adjunct are more frequently associated with overt morphological marking.

As for the other questions:
1) our valency lexicon will likely be released in Accordance, but only at the end of the project. We will be using it to improve the consistency of the whole database when a first pass is completed. It is neither complete nor ready for public use at this time.

2) Judges, Daniel, Ezra, Proverbs, Esther, and hopefully a few more (yet to be determined).

And yes, that is what I meant regarding the two searches. For how precisely to set it up, someone like David Lang or Joel Brown will have to jump in.
Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages
Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
The University of Toronto
blog: ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com




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