Genesis 1.1, again

Professor Kenneth Turner of Bryan College emailed me recently about another subtle feature in the grammar of Gen 1.1, given in (1).

(1) Gen 1:1

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃

He and his students have been working through the various issues, and reading my VT article and some older posts I made here and here, and they came up with a fascinating question: does the disjunctive accent on ראשׁית (which is a טפחא) provide any support for taking the word as the free or bound form?

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Clitics and Cliticization in Hebrew, Part 2

This post is the second part of my brief discussion of clitics in Biblical Hebrew. In my first post on this topic, I ended with a question about the nature of the construct/סמיכות form of nouns: are they clitics or not? If the answer is yes, then how do we deal with the non-use of the maqqef and the presence of an independent accent? If the answer is no, then what do we call these forms?

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Clitics and Cliticization in Hebrew, Part 1

— Note: this post is part of an encyclopedia entry just finished, with a question for readers at the end —

Clitic (from Greek κλίνειν ‘incline, lean’) is the term in traditional grammar for a word that could not bear primary word stress and thus ‘leans’ on an adjacent stress-bearing word (the clitic host). A clitic leaning on a following word is a ‘proclitic’; one leaning on a preceding word is an ‘enclitic’. Clitics exhibit characteristics of both words and affixes and yet do not fall fully into either category: they are like single-word syntactic constituents in that they function as heads, arguments, or modifiers within phrases, but like affixes in that they are “dependent”, in some way or another, on adjacent words” (Zwicky 1994:xii).

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