Jump to content

Placeholders for compound subjects


Michel Gilbert
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hi Robert,

A 3MS placeholder for a compound subject is often followed by a 3MP placeholder for the same compound subject, e.g., Gen 9:23, וַיִּקַּח שֵׁם וָיֶפֶת אֶת הַשִּׂמְלָה וַיָּשִׂימוּ עַל שְׁכֶם שְׁנֵיהֶם וַיֵּלְכוּ אֲחֹרַנִּית וַיְכַסּוּ .

This also occurs with a 3FS followed by 3FP placeholder, e.g., Gen 24:61, וַתָּקָם רִבְקָה וְנַעֲרֹתֶיהָ וַתִּרְכַּבְנָה עַל הַגְּמַלִּים וַתֵּלַכְנָה אַחֲרֵי הָאִיש , and a 2MS followed by a 2MP placeholder, e.g., Exod. 3:18, וּבָאתָ אַתָּה וְזִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַיִם וַאֲמַרְתֶּם אֵלָיו

On the other hand, Gen. 14:15 appears to have the 3MS placeholder for a compound subject followed by the same 3MS placeholder for it - וַיֵּחָלֵק עֲלֵיהֶם לַיְלָה הוּא וַעֲבָדָיו וַיַּכֵּם וַיִּרְדְּפֵם  (I know you could argue otherwise).

Why would a singular placeholder for an overt compound subject immediately switch to a plural one in the next clause? Is the singular placeholder for the first subject only, and then it is compounded? Or, is it partly style? Or, partly semantics, e.g., the first noun is the head of a group or entity or collection? Or, is it a combination of any of these?

Thanks.

Michel


 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Michel,

 

I think E.J. Revell was essentially correct when he wrote on this issue in a VT 1993 article (which I discuss in a 2009 article on the same topic).

 

1. When a singular verb agrees with a compound subject, either (A) the subject is resolved as singular (i.e., seen as a singular group) or ("B") the first agent is taken to be more active. The subsequent verbs normally show plural features.

 

2. The type in Gen 14:15 is different -- the null subject is singular and then modified by an (extraposed) appositive phrase that expands the referent from one to two or more.

 

Whereas type 1B is the use of verbal agreement to signal agent prominence, type 2 is a "correction" of sorts, to clarify/reformulate the agent as actually plural. 

Both are stylistic in the sense that they are planned uses of grammatical options to achieve a particular discourse objective. 

Edited by Robert Holmstedt
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Robert,


 


When I "like" a post, it means I agree with most or all of it, I appreciate the way it is worded and/or argued, I am thankful that the author took the time, and I have nothing to add.


 


But in this case, I have to go further, and say once again, that your database and diagrams, coupled with your unending support for them, is worth more than the entire price I paid for all of my Accordance collections and modules.


 


I really wish for you what is captured in my avatar.


 


Michel


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...