Deictic Viewpoint in Biblical Hebrew Text: A Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Analysis of the Particle Kî

Follingstad, Carl Martin

The particle is one of the most important yet most controversial particles in the Biblical Hebrew language due to its exegetical significance and consequent impact on translation. It occurs some 4,500 times in the Hebrew Bible in a variety of syntactic positions. Due in part to this wide-ranging syntactic distribution, is traditionally analyzed as a logical particle with an array of extended uses. Such an analysis does not identify any unified function underlying the particle's sometimes disparate attributed meanings.

Follingstad offers a new linguistic analysis of the core function of . It is shown to be not a semantic logical/temporal conjunction, but rather a discourse deictic particle. The use of indicates a switch to a metarepresentational or self-reflexive function of language. This function involves a switch in cognitive viewpoint to the utterance which marks. This analysis also allows for the expression of modal/evidential epistemic distance from the content of the clause marked by the particle, a function which has hitherto gone largely unnoticed in the literature. It provides a satisfying account of the multi-purpose use of one particle to mark a wide range of seemingly disparate constructions.

The metarepresentational function of the particle is substantiated by means of a survey of the Jewish and Christian grammatical literature on . This is followed by a syntagmatic distributional analysis where syntactic elements are registered by computer to discover any form-function correlates which might reveal predicatability of the particle's function. A paradigmatic analysis of the function of and of three other closely related particles reveals a continuum of deictic viewpoint in narrative text. The functions of and its particle set are unified and explicated using cognitive linguistic concepts.

The results of the study are of interest to biblical scholars and translators concerned with the linguistic function and consequent exegetical and translational significance of kî. The study will also be relevant to biblical scholars and linguists who are interested in the deictic representation of viewpoint in narrative.

Table of Contents:

Executive Summary

Part I: Confusing Traces

  1. Preliminary Orientation
  2. Ancient and Modern Views on ki: The State of the Art

Part II: Developing and Applying a Particle Accelerator

  1. The Syntactic Clause Cluster Model
  2. A Syntactic Distributional Analysis of ki

Part III: Interpreting the Traces

  1. A General Classification of ki as a "Particle"
  2. ki as a Discourse Deictic Particle: Choosing a Suitable Explanatory Model
  3. ki and Cognitive Viewpoint--An Introduction to Mental Space Theory
  4. A Nuanced MST Analysis of ki in Narrative Discourse
  5. An MST Analysis of ki in Direct Speech
  6. Extended Summary and Final Remarks

Linguistics and Biblical Studies

xxix, 683 pages
ISBN 13:
ISBN 10:
8.5 × 11 × 1.5 in
3.9 lb
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