Biblical Hebrew word order : the interface of information structure and formal features

Van Der Merwe, C. H. J. ; Talstra, Eep ; Bartelmus, Rudiger (ed) ; Jenni, Ernst (ed) ; Kedar-Kopfstein, Benjamin (ed) ; Lichtenberger, Hermann (ed) ; Lipinski, Edward (ed) ; Muller, Hans-Peter (ed) ; Renz, Johannes (ed) ; Segert, Stanislav (ed) ; Stuckenbruck, Loren T. (ed) (W. Kohlhammer, 2003)


In recent years different theoretical frames of reference were used in attempts to better understand the language(s) of the Hebrew Bible. While the 19th and first half of the 20th century were dominated by historical-comparative approaches, structuralist and functional approaches started to get the upperhand in many circles during the latter quarter of the previous century.2 One of the main features of the latter two modem linguistic approaches is the use of distributional criteria. Linguistic categories at various levels of linguistic description are identified on account of the fact that the members of each category enjoy the same paradigmatic and syntagmatic distribution. The formal character and intersubjective verifiability of categories identified on account of distributional criteria are of the major reasons why the use of these criteria has been established as one of the cornerstones of most current linguistic research. However, the question whether distributional criteria can render significant insight to linguistic phenomena beyond the level of the clause is still being debated. Furthermore, the empirical status of functional labels that are attached to categories involved at these higher levels of description also gave rise to a number of questions and uncertainties.

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