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Notes on the shift from accusative constructions to prepositional phrases in Hebrew and Arabic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2009

Extract

In an article published in the early sixties, M. Bogaert shows certain groups of verbs which in Biblical Hebrew (as well as in other north-western Semitic languages) may govern verbal suffixes instead of ‘dative’prepositions. This phenomenon is called by him ‘non-accusative verbal suffixes’.

In his article ‘'et = ’el “to, towards” in Biblical Hebrew', S. Izre'el argues that the particle 'et sometimes occurs in contexts that elsewhere require the prepositions 'el ‘to, towards’ or 'im ‘with’. He concludes thatwith 'et is a preposition which in Modern Hebrew may be rendered by 'im or 'el, similar to the Hebrew preposition - which is sometimes translated into English as ‘in’ and at other times as ‘at’, according to the context.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies 1981

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References

1 Bogaert, M., ‘Les suffixes verbaux non aecusatifs dans le sémitique nord-occidental et particulièrement en hébreu’, Biblica, XLV, 1964, 220–47Google Scholar.

2 Izre'el, S., ‘'et = 'elto, towards” in Hebrew', Biblical, Shnaton: An Annual for Biblical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, in, 1978, 204–12 [in Hebrew]Google Scholar.

3 2 Sam. 19:5. For the following examples (and many others) cf. Kautzch, E., Gesenius Hebrew grammar, transl. by Cowley, A. E., Oxford, 1910Google Scholar (repr. 1976), § 118, and Joüon, P., Grammaire de I'hébreu biblique, Rome, 1947, § 126Google Scholar.

4 Gen. 38:11.

5 ibid., 18:1.

6 2 Sam. 21:9.

7 Is. 21:8.

8 1 Sam. 20:11.

9 2 Chron. 20:36.

10 Is. 7:25.

11 Exod. 13:7.

12 1 Kings 15:23. Note the significant version in 2 Chron. 16:12: wa-y-yeḥēle āsā… Ə-raglāw ‘And Asa was diseased… in his feet’, which uses the preposition - instead of 'et.

13 Literally: ‘and my statutes they did not walk in them’. Ezek. 20: 16.

14 Gen. 44: 4. In other cases yāṣā governs the preposition min ‘from’, e.g. 1 Kings 11: 29: wƏ-yārobh 'ām yāṣā mīrūshālaim ‘and Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem’. For the usage of the verb yāṣā with pronominal suffixes cf. Bogaert, 240.

16 cf. Gesenius, p. 366, n. 2.

16 cf. Joüon, 371.

17 Ps. 69: 6.

18 Job 5: 2.

19 Exod. 7:20.

20 Job 16: 10. The last four examples (and many others) are adduced by Joüon, § 125 k, m.

21 cf. Segal, M. H., A grammar of Mishnaic Hebrew, Oxford, 1970, §§ 351, 360, 361, 363Google Scholar. I have chosen examples 17–22 below out of these sections.

22 cf. Wright, W., A grammar of the Arabic language, Cambridge, 1967, II, 191Google Scholar, rem. e. The explanation there implies that the prepositional phrase is the origin, and the accusative is a derivative form, which historically is not accurate.

24 For more details cf. also Wright, II, 159–60; Reckendorf, H., Arabische Syntax, Heidelberg, 1921, 236–7Google Scholar.

25 cf. Blau, J., A grammar of Christian Arabic based mainly on south-Palestinian texts from the first millennium, CSCO, Subsidia 27–9, Louvain, 19661967, II, 411, § 301.2Google Scholar; idem, A grammar of mediaeval Judaeo-Arabic, Jerusalem, 1961, 178, § 266, d.

26 ibid., 177, § 265 c.

27 cf. ibid., 179–80, § 269. Idem, A grammar of Christian Arabic, 413–19, § 305.1 and the literature listed on p. 413, II. 15.

28 cf. the statistics adduced by Monteil, V., L'arabe moderne (Études Arabes et Islamiques: IStudes et documents, III), Paris, 1960, 258Google Scholar.

29 Sāliḥānī, A. (ed.), Bannāt al-mathālith wa-l-mathānī fī riwāyāt al-'aghānī, Beirut, 1357/1938, I, 3, 3 n.bGoogle Scholar.

30 Wright, II, 151.

31 ibid., 160 (c).

32 Reckendorf, 244, § 133.3. In this usage the prepositional phrase introduced by takes the place of the ‘accusative of specification’ (tamyīz).

33 cf. Blau, , A grammar of Christian Arabic, §§ 301.1, 304 and 305.3 respectivelyGoogle Scholar.

34 Monteil, 256–7.

35 Bannūrah, Jamāl, al-'Awdah, Jerusalem, 1976, 25, 2Google Scholar.

36 ibid., 25, 5 n.b.

37 cf. Wright, II, 46 rem. b, and p. lll, note.

38 cf. S. Izre'el, 209, examples 1–5 (1 Sam. 9:18; 1 Sam. 30:21; Num. 4:19; Judges 19:18; Ezek. 21:25 respectively). Example 5 there contradicts the statement in Jouon, 366 (cited in Bogaert, 239) that the verb ' ‘come’ governs only pronominal suffix accusatives and not substantive accusatives.

39 Contrary to Bogaert, 239, c, 1. Examples 1–5 adduced by Izre'el show that these verbs may govern accusative substantives in Hebrew too.

40 Riwāyat al-'aghānī, 2, 7.

41 ibid., 4, 1 n.b.

42 ibid., 1, 1.

43 ibid., 10, 1.

44 ibid., 2, 2.

45 Cheikho, P. L. (ed.), La version arabe de Kalîlah et Dimnah, Beirut, 1923, 64, 7 n.bGoogle Scholar.

46 Wright, II, 111, note.

47 cf. Bogaert, 229–30.

48 Deut. 32:7.

49 cf. Izre'el, 210, examples 10, 12.

50 Ezek. 43:10.

51 Job 26:4. Izre'el adduces also the verse: kī nif‘abh ddbhar ha-m-melekh’ et yō'ādbh ‘for the king's word was abominable to Jo'ab’ (1 Chron. 21:6, adduced in Izre'el, 210, example 10). The author also cites the verse of Gen. 43:32, which shows that 'et is interchangeable with -, and may be governed by the verb nit'abh (and not by dlǝbhar, as implied by n. 25 there).

52 Qur'ān, 12:54.

53 Qur'ān, 3:41.

54 cf. Izre'el, 210, 1 n.b.

55 Lev. 13:49. Cf. also Izre'el, 210, example 11.

56 cf. Wright, II, 53, § 25, rem. a.

57 Joüon, 385, § 128 c, cited in Izre'el, 210, n. 20.

58 cf. Reckendorf, 90, § 51.5.

59 cf. Izre'el, 210, example 11.

60 Ezek. 37:19, adduced by Izre'el, 209, example 6.

61 cf. Ben-Shammai, H., ‘yittnēn1 = yittēn lī’, Lêŝonénu, xxxv, 1970, 311–12 [in Hebrew]Google Scholar. Cf. also Bogaert, 234–5, cited in Ben-Shammai, 312. For a similar structure of the verbs śīm, shīt ‘put’, cf. Bogaert, 235.

62 cf. Izre'el, 209, example 6 and n. 21.

63 Gen. 19:27, adduced by Izre'el, 211.

64 Wright, II, 111, rem. a.

65 loc. cit.

66 al-Hilāl, vi, 1973, 22, col. 1, 1. 6.

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