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Title: The Relative Clause In Biblical Hebrew: A Linguistic Analysis
Authors: Holmstedt, Robert D.
Keywords: African Languages
Afro-Asiatic Languages
Semitic Languages
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: University of Wisconsin - Madison
Abstract: This dissertation represents a comprehensive study of the structural (syntactic) and functional (pragmatic) features of the Biblical Hebrew relative clause within the linguistic framework of the Minimalist Program (as articulated in Chomsky 1995b, 1998, 1999). There are two purposes for this work. First, it is an exhaustive analysis of relative clauses in the Hebrew Bible. I examine every type of Biblical Hebrew relative word and every type of Biblical Hebrew relative clause in order to identify the salient structural and pragmatic features concerning this clause type. In particular, I introduce the linguistic issues of overt and covert antecedents/heads, overt and covert relative words, resumption, restrictiveness, and extraposition, and offer an analysis of these phenomena with regard to Biblical Hebrew. The second purpose of this work is to demonstrate the value of a generative linguistic analysis upon the language of the Hebrew Bible by addressing one of the most common Biblical Hebrew clause types, the relative clause. The relative clause is particularly suitable in this regard for two reasons: 1) there has been no comprehensive modern linguistic analysis of the Biblical Hebrew relative clause, and 2) every Biblical Hebrew grammar contains a discussion of the relative clause. The former allows this work to provide a significantly new contribution to Biblical Hebrew studies. The latter allows this work to illustrate by comparison the contribution of generative linguistics beyond the results of the taxonomic, Latin-based philological approaches of most past and recent Biblical Hebrew grammars.
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