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Finding Verbal Roots that Take Complements with More Than One Preposition


bjnoonan
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I am trying to create a search that will reveal verbal roots that take their complements with more than one preposition, or with both the DDO אֵת and and a preposition. For example, the root אחז can take its complement with the preposition בְּ (e.g., Exod 4:4) or with the DDO אֵת (e.g., Judg 1:6).

 

Obviously, I can easily search for the prepositional complements that a specific verbal root takes and then can also search if that verbal root ever takes a complement with the DDO אֵת. However, I'm not aware of any way to search, at one time, for all verbal roots that take their complements with more than one preposition or with both the DDO אֵת and a preposition.

 

If anyone has any ideas on how to construct such a search, I would very much appreciate it. It doesn't necessarily matter to me which syntax module is used for the search (i.e., Holmstedt, ETCBC, or Andersen-Forbes). If it's not possible to do this in Accordance, knowing that would also be appreciated. Thanks!

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Benjamin,

Interesting search. Quite do-able, but in 3 searches, which I've put below.

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This last search is needed in order to exclude the use of the DOM את. These are caught in the first search. In this third pass, I wanted complement pronouns attached directly to the verb. 

 

For each search, you can use the analytics to get a list of verbs that appear (Word Count Totals: Analysis). The analysis lists the prepositions as well.

 

Robert

 

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Rob and Ben,

 

These searches are helpful, they are all trivalent verbs, which might easily be scaled down for the bivalent example אחז you mentioned, Ben. If you happen to be interested in that particular verb, see the entry in my fledgling and not yet widely publicized valency dictionary: https://www.lexonomy.eu/vdch/737/ (the front page https://www.lexonomy.eu/vdch provides an introduction and list of abbreviations used in the entry). Currently almost all א-initial and most of ב-initial verbs are completed, but אמר is notably absent still–have to find some good chunk of time to tackle that.

 

John

Edited by John Cook
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I re-read the OP and realized I committed the search in which both complements would be a preposition (not the DOM). This would be a simple modification of the first or second search, replacing the DOM with the same preposition as the other column. 

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Robert and John, thanks for your responses and for this info, which is certainly helpful. The kind of search I'm trying to do is a little different, though, and I apologize that I didn't make what I'm trying to do clearer in my original post.

 

As valuable as it is, I'm not interested right now in identifying trivalent/ditransitive verbs that take two complements in a single clause. Rather, I'm interested in identifying bivalent/monotransitive verbs that mark their single complements in at least two different ways--e.g., with אֵת and a preposition, or with two different prepositions--in different clauses. 

 

An example of אֵת and a preposition is again the verb אחז, which takes a single complement with אֵת in Judg 1:6 but a single complement with בְּ in Exod 4:4. Another example in this category is the verb אכל, which takes a single complement with אֵת in Gen 3:18 but a single complement with בְּ in Exod 12:48.

 

An example of two prepositions is שׁמע, which takes a single complement with בְּ in Gen 27:43 but a single complement with לְ in Gen 3:17. (Additionally, sometimes שׁמע takes a single complement with אֵת, as it does in Gen 3:8.) Another example in this category is the verb לחם, which takes a single complement with בְּ in Exod 17:9 but a single complement with עִם in Exod 17:8.

 

I know some of the verbs like the above offhand, based on my knowledge of Hebrew. And, I can also identify some them by looking in a lexicon or (for the verbs that are completed) John's very helpful valency dictionary. But, this can only go so far, at least in terms of easily finding the verbs that do this kind of thing. What I'd like to do is use Accordance to help me create a comprehensive list of all bivalent/monotransitive verbs, like אחז and שׁמע, that mark their complements in different ways depending on the clause. And, I want to be able to easily identify what the different prepositions are used with each verb. My reason for doing so is, in part, to examine possible semantic differences between using אֵת over a specific preposition or one particular preposition over another (similar to what scholars like Jenni and Malessa have done for some verbs).

 

I could scale down, as you suggested, the search to only one complement. What I still can't figure out is how to have Accordance combine the results for the different searches to give me the data I need in one place--otherwise I have to compare the results from each search and identify the verbal roots that the searches have in common. I'm also not sure how a search could identify verbal roots that mark their complements with at least two different prepositions, excluding any verbal root that always marks its complement with the same preposition (e.g., always marked with לְ). Perhaps this is the kind of project where I can narrow things down somewhat with Accordance but still need to sort through quite a bit of the resulting data manually.

 

Thanks again for your help, and sorry I wasn't clearer in my original post about what I'm trying to do. Hopefully this clarifies things.

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Benjamin,

 

Your desired search is essentially the equivalent of using calculus. To my knowledge, doing the searches independently and then sorting by hand it the only way to do it. Sometimes the old-fashioned techniques remain the best anyway.

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Benjamin,

 

I understand what you are desiring, and unfortunately it is indeed something that ultimately takes as least some hand sorting. In working on the valency dictionary, we have discovered the convenience of scanning search results and adding them to reference lists to speed up the task somewhat, but alas, this is the sort of arduous step for the research you envision that we hope the valency dictionary will make unnecessary.

 

I'll be interested in whether you can discern semantic nuances in the different morphosyntactic realizations of the complements in such cases. You might look at Beth Levin's English Verb Classes and Alternations (Cambridge, 1993), which has a wealth of comparative data, but more importantly reminds me regularly of the difficulty of teasing out intricate nuances in argument alternations in English—for which we have native speakers—let alone ancient Hebrew. Don't let that dissuade you though; it remains a real lexicographic need.

 

 

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C'mon Ben, Malessa and Jenni! Aren't you forgetting someone?

 

Seriously though, I have scripts written to find these outside of Accordance. There are probably ways I could give you a list of verbs or verses that you could then use to build searches in Accordance. One prominent issue, of course, is what you want to define as a complement. Where your definition differs from the syntax DBs the lists will obviously be incomplete.

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Whaaa?? Pete -- my list of complements comes from other stone epigraphs left behind by the man himself on Mt. Sinai! How dare you insinuate that there may be questions about them in our database. (You can question ETCBC and A-F freely, of course.)

 

(Humor does me good these days.)

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Ha ha, my choices are probably at fault for at least a small portion of them. Have you ever gone back and checked for consistency across the corpus beyond the super frequent verbs?

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Sorry, Pete--didn't mean to not include you. If it makes you feel any better, it was rereading through your book that got me interested in this topic recently. Thanks for appreciating my wanting to approach this in a more precise way (calculus does make many calculations easier/more precise). If you're willing, I think I'll take you up on your offer to provide a list of verbs that I can use to build searches. I'll send you an email.

 

As for defining complements, for sake of simplicity I'd stick for now with the way the databases take them. What's a complement in Hebrew certainly needs to be worked out, and like you indicated the databases aren't always consistent in how they label complements vs. adjuncts (of course I'm only referring to ETCBC and Andersen-Forbes...or not....). But, it's easiest to at least start with what they have.

 

Thanks too for your input, John--fair point. I'm not confident either that we can distinguish semantic differences in all, or perhaps even many, cases. But, I think it's worth a look to see what we might come up with. I'll check out the reference you mentioned, so thanks.

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