Word Order in the Verbless Clause: A Generative Functional Approach

BY RANDALL BUTH

Introduction

The basic premise of this paper is as follows: a generative-functional approach to the Biblical Hebrew (BH) nominal (or verbless) clause provides a simple, adequate, linguistic framework. It explains the discontinuities in the data and is able to unite and explain the Lists and ad hoc rules of many theories.

We will find that the neutral core of both a verbless clause and a participial clause is Subject- Predicate in order and that material in front of the Subject is specially marked. Naturally, this will aid any Hebrew reader in interpreting a text. Of course, we will find that the fronted material has been placed there for more than one reason. or in other words, by more than one function.

These results are so promising and valuable for resolving the theoretical contrasts among various Hebrew grammarians that they justify a brief introduction to some general linguistic concepts and terminology.

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Taken from the book, The Verbless Clause in Biblical Hebrew, edited by Cynthia L. Miller, Linguistic Studies in Ancient West Semitic – LSAWS 1 Eisenbrauns, 1999.