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Is the BHS syntax tree for Gen 39:5 correct?

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#1 Nathan Lovell

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 01:26 AM

Hi,

I'm a relatively new accordance user, and very new to the syntax module - having only bought it two days ago. Which is to say that I could be completely wrong about this; but I just can't see how Gen 39:5 can possibly be correctly diagrammed in the syntax module. Should not the wayyiqtol ויברך be attached to the clause after it, not preceding it? As it stands, there are no verbs in the non-dependent mainline clause. (See image attached.)

If I am incorrect, and Gen 39:5 is properly diagrammed (which is entirely possible), then can someone please explain to me how this verse is working and why the mainline wayyiqtol verb is labelled as adjunct?

Thanks,

Nathan

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#2 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:39 AM

The tree is correct, though your question is a good one and I will gladly explain the syntax.

The initial ויהי is a discourse element, the מ PP is a fronted temporal phrase, and the ויברך is the main verb. We've written a descriptive post about this grammar here:

http://ancienthebrew...re-a-wayyiqtol/


If you need a second option, the same analysis is also briefly asserted in Adina Moshavi's book Word Order in the Biblical Hebrew Finite Clause (Eisenbrauns, 2010), p. 84.

-- to clarify, the ויברך is the verb of both the prepositional phrase before it and the את בית ... complement and בגלל ... adjunct after it. That is, the verb is not just connected to the preceding material, but due to the fronting of the topic מן PP, stands in the middle of the clause.

Edited by Robert Holmstedt, 24 April 2012 - 07:03 AM.

Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages
Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
The University of Toronto
blog: ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com

#3 Nathan Lovell

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 08:19 AM

Thanks Robert for the reply. I appreciate you taking the time. I've read through the material and your explanation, and I must be missing something. If I hover my mouse over the second level P in the diagram, which as I understand it, should be a predicate, then the following text is highlighted in accordance:

את־בית המצרי בגלל יוסף

In what way is this a predicate? Is this not a complement?

I do understand what you were saying about ויברך begging the verb that governs this material, as well as the PP. But how is this "P" phrase connected to the verb in the diagram?

Because of this, searching doesn't work as I would expect. For example, if I search for a clause with subject=יהוה and predicate=ברך then I would expect to see Gen 39:5 in the result list. But I do not. According to this syntax diagram, יהוה is not the subject of ברך??

Thanks for your continued patience.

Nathan

#4 Robert Holmstedt

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 09:04 AM

Nathan,

On the highlighting, to clarify for others: this P (like many in Hebrew) is discontinuous, meaning it has two parts separated by non-P material (in this case the subject). So, if you put your cursor on the first half, the fronted Topic PP and the verb is highlighted; if you move to the 2nd P (connected by the "under-arc") and put your cursor over it, the rest is highlighted.

The reason that את־בית המצרי ... is highlighted as a part of the P is because a Complement is by its very nature part of the Predicate. The verb is the head of the Predicate and any complements or adjuncts are contained within the Predicate phrase. If you want just Complement "the house of the Egyptian" highlighted, go further down in the tree and hover over the C. If you want the Adjunct בגלל יוסף highlighted, hover over the A in the tree.

The P phrase encompasses the head (= the verb, in this case) and the Complements and Adjuncts. Any searching must understand this hierarchy. Moreover, in the next release of Accordance, the clause searching has been tightened so that one must build the search hierarchically like the clause one is searching for.

Now, my strong suspicion why Gen 39.5 didn't show up in your search is that you order the search Subject - Predicate and then did not check the box "Search both directions". Since the order in 39.5 is Verb (= Predicate head) - Subject, it wouldn't appear in a search that asks for the opposite order. Only these three hits appear: Gen 24:1, 35; Psa 29:11.

Try checking the "search both directions" box and do it again. Also, flip the order of the Subject and Predicate and uncheck the box -- then you should get only 39.5 and similar Verb-Subject hits (Gen 26:12; 27:27; 30:27, 30; 39:5; Ex 20:11; Josh 17:14; Judg 13:24; Psa 128:5; 134:3; Ruth 2:4).
  • anthony vanson likes this
Associate Professor, Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages
Dept. of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
The University of Toronto
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