Left dislocation in biblical Hebrew : a cognitive linguistic account

Westbury, Joshua R. (2014-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The present work consists of an investigation into the form and function(s) of the so-called 'Left Dislocation' construction in Biblical Hebrew. As such, this inquiry is part of a larger domain of research that explores the nature and function of word order variation in Biblical Hebrew. As a result of a pilot study conducted by the present author in 2010, as well as recent advances within the feilds of cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics, and discoursepragmatics— particularly with its sub-discipline known as information structure—a fresh examination of Left Dislocation in Biblical Hebrew is called for. Drawing on research from the aforementioned feilds of study, we propose a cognitive-functional theoretical model that provides a framework for a more comprehensive explanation of Left Dislocation in Biblical Hebrew. Furthermore, this work situates Left Dislocation in Biblical Hebrew against a broader profile of Left Dislocation across langauges. This is accomplished by examining the findings of a range of cross-linguistic studies—with respect to a variety of related and unrelated languages—that are concerned with both the syntactico-semantic and discourse-functional attributes of Left Dislocation. Typological generalizations drawn from these studies are then applied to the identification, classification, and explanation of a data set comprised of over 650 tokens taken from Genesis to 2 Kings. The result of this analysis is twofold. First, a thorough description is provided in terms of the external (i.e. global) and internal syntactico-semantic attributes of tokens comprising the data set. Consistent with typological findings, the data set reflects a taxonomic network of constructional schemas that are classified according to an exemplar model of conceptual categorization. Second, utilizing a cognitive-theoretical model, as well as insights garnered from crosslinguistic studies, the aforementioned syntactico-semantic description is explained in terms of the cognitive-pragmatic motivation for the use of Left Dislocation in BH narrative discourse, as well as the prototypical and non-prototypical discourse function(s) accomplished by the construction therein. Lastly, a developmental framework is proposed that accounts for the form-function variation exhibited by the tokens in our data set. This framework consists of broader developmental processes involving usage-based patterns of language change, as well as a 'panchronic' view of grammar, where synchrony and diachrony are viewed as an integrated whole, and where grammars are always emergent and never completely established.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie werk verteenwoordig 'n ondersoek na die vorm en funksie(s) van die sogenaamde linksverskuiwingkonstruksie in Bybelse Hebreeus. Dit vorm deel van 'n groter navorsingsinisiatief wat gemoeid is met die ondersoek na die aard en funksie van woordorde-variasies in Bybelse Hebreeus. In die lig van 'n loodsstudie wat in 2010 deur die outeur gedoen is, asook die vooruitgang wat gemaak is op die gebiede van kognitiewe taalkunde, psigolinguistiek en tekspragmatiek—veral in die subdissipline, informasiestruktuur—is ‘n herbesinnig oor linksverskuiwingkonstruksies Bybelse Hebreeus nodig. Gebaseer op die voorafgenoemde studievelde word 'n kognitief-funksionele teoretiese model voorgestel wat as raamwerk sal dien vir 'n meer omvattende verduideliking van linksverskuiwingkonstruksies in Bybelse Hebreeus. Hierdie ondersoek oor linksverskuiwing in Bybelse Hebreeus word gedoen teen die agtergrond van die profiel van linksverskuiwing oor tale heen. Dit word vermag deur die bevindings van 'n wye reeks taalkundige studies—op verskeie verwante en onverwante tale— wat gemoeid is met beide die sintakties-semanties en diskoersfunksionele eienskappe van linksverskuiwing, te ondersoek. Uit die ondersoek word tipologiese veralgemenings verkry wat dan gebruik word vir die identifisering, klassifikasie en verduideliking van 'n stel data wat bestaan uit 650 voorbeelde wat verkry is uit Genesis tot 2 Konings. Die resultate van hierdie analise is tweeledig. Eerstens word 'n uitvoerige beskrywing, in terme van die eksterne (of globale) en interne sintakties-semantiese eienskappe van die voorbeelde binne die datastel, verskaf. Die datastel reflekteer, aan die hand van taaltipologiese bevindinge, 'n taksonomiese netwerk van konstruksieskemas wat geklassifiseer is volgens 'n eksemplaarmodel van konsepsionele kategorisering. Tweedens, deur gebruik te maak van 'n kognitief-teoretiese model, tesame met insigte verkry deur studies oor tale heen, word die voorafgenoemde sintakties-semantiese beskrywing verduidelik in terme van die kognitief-pragmatiese motivering vir die gebruik van linksverskuiwing in Bybels-Hebreeuse narratiewe diskoers. Ook die prototipiese en nieprototipiese diskoersfunksie(s) van die konstruksie kom aan die bod. Laastens word 'n raamwerk voorgestel om die vorm-funksies variasies van die voorbeelde in die datastel as ontwikkelingsstadia te verklaar. Die raamwerk berus op ontwikkelingsprosesse wat tipies in gebruiksgebaseerde modelle van taalvariasie-tendense onderskei word. Verder gaan dit ook uit van 'n pankroniese siening van grammatika waarin diakronie en sinkronie as 'n geïntegreerde geheel gesien word en die grammatika van taal as 'n dinamiese entiteit beskou word. Dit stabliseer nooit volledig nie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/95852
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