n Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages - Marking discourse topic in biblical Hebrew : part one

Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0259-0131


Linguists have argued that for a text to be coherent it has to have a common topic, usually referred to as discourse topic (DT). It has been observed that languages make use of linguistic devices to mark the DT of a text, or a shift from a current one thereof. In this (two part) paper, I show that biblical Hebrew makes use of its verbal aspect system to introduce a new DT or mark a shift from an old one. In particular, one of the qatal and yiqtol forms' functions is shown to be marking DTs in the narrative and the modal material, respectively. To introduce a DT of a list biblical Hebrew uses a nominal clause.

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