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לעבד את האדמה Null ←


Michel Gilbert
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Hi Robert,

 

I don't understand the linguistic theory behind the Null Subject אדם in Gen 2:5 in the phrase לעבד את האדמה , especially when it is a covert subject in אדם אין, i.e., why is it tagged covertly and overtly?

 

post-32543-0-02672600-1448386019_thumb.png

 

I see you've tagged other clauses like this, even without a particle of existence, e.g., Gen 1:14, so it will help me to understand them too.

 

Thanks.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

edited particle of existence

Edited by Michel Gilbert
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Hi again,

 

According to linguistic theory, I was either born a linguist, or became one. But I don't know the lingo. I'm really just asking about the lingo. If it helps, here is an English example.

 

I just finished cutting firewood for next year. What is the difference between these sentences?

 

Let there be firewood on the property to use next year.

 

There is firewood on the property to use next year.

 

Firewood is on the property to use next year.

 

Particularly, is "firewood" the subject in all three sentences? Would some analyze the second sentence as Subj = "There" (existence), Pred = "is firewood . . . "?

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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Hi again,

 

My question and the motivation for it is becoming clearer. One of the features of the Database is the ability to plug in covert subjects for overt nulls based on the diagram. The diagram for Gen 2:15 implies I should read, אדם אין – (אדם) לעבד האדמה, with the infinitive phrase modifying the noun. I've never read it that way (though I may have been mistaken this whole time). I always read the infinitive phrase adverbially with אין - so I've never supplied the word אדם a second time. So I'm wondering about the syntactic relation of the infinitive phrase - what does it relate to? And, what exactly is a particle of existence?

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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Hi Michel,

 

The are two levels of clauses to work with in an example like אדם אין לעבד את האדמה. At the top level, there is אדם, the negative copula אין, and the PP complement. Put aside the infinitive attached to the ל preposition, and you could have examples like אדם אין לאשׁה "a man didn't belong to the woman". At the lower level, within the PP complement, there is a separate predication, with the infinitive, a null subject (which is coreferential with the subject of the higher clause in the case and in most cases), and then a complement for the bivalent verb עבד. 

 

A literal English rendering is: "a man didn't exist to work the land" (where the infinitive phase in English also lacks an overt subject). 

 

Note that I understand ישׁ (and most occurrences of אין) to be copular.

 

Oh, and on your English examples -- the "there" in the first two is not the syntactic subject but essentially a placeholder in the normal subject position so that the syntactic subject of the copula and some intransitive verbs can be demoted to the complement. See here for a decent intro: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_grammar#There_as_pronoun

 

Hope this helps.

 

Robert

Edited by Robert Holmstedt
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Hi Robert,

 

Thanks. I understand the tagging better now.

 

I have to say though, that I'm glad that some Nulls are buried deeper in my mind than in yours.  B)

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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Michel, 

 

Until I began tagging, all sorts of things were easy to keep buried deep. But the explicitness required by making a database forces me to confront such demons. :-)

 

Batman

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