Stein Dissertation 2020-Unofficial

David E. S. Stein
2020 unpublished
Declaration By submitting this dissertation electronically, I declare that the entirety of the work contained therein is my own, original work, that I am the sole author thereof (save to the extent explicitly otherwise stated), that reproduction and publication thereof by Stellenbosch University will not infringe any third party rights and that I have not previously in its entirety or in part submitted it for obtaining any qualification. ABSTRACT This interdisciplinary, cross-linguistic
more » ... -linguistic investigation of the word 'îš ‫ִישׁ(‬ ‫,)א‬ including its feminine and plural forms, noted more than ten distinctive features compared to other general human nouns in the Hebrew Bible: shorter, more frequent, more broadly dispersed, more relational senses, etc. To explain these features, this noun was classed with those showing similar distinctions: English man/woman, and French homme/femme. Such unusually useful nouns were named "workhorses." Given that corpus and cognitive linguists have observed discourse-modulating functions and underspecified semantics for man and homme, these concepts were deemed applicable to 'îš. The analysis looked at relational meaning (i.e., relating the referent to something else) on two levels: informational (within the world depicted by the text), and discourse (ensuring good communication). Cognitive science, information theory, discourse analysis, and cognitive linguistics sources together suggest that the mind thinks in terms of situations-especially those that involve a human participant. During communication, the audience constructs a discourse model that tracks a depicted situation and its participants. The speaker deploys nouns so as to manage that model. It was hypothesized that workhorse nouns succinctly label the participants in a prototypical situation as such, thus increasing the efficiency of communication and cognitive processing, as the audience situates and re-situates participants in its discourse model. On the discourse level of meaning, workhorse nouns then offer efficient access for elaborating upon a participant. They can also function efficiently like pronouns due to pragmatic enrichment; and thus they can even be applied to non-human entities. On the informational level, pragmatic enrichment likewise often creates additional meaning, ultimately producing both sortal senses ('adult male/female', 'human being') and relational ones ('husband/wife', 'party [to a conflict]', 'agent [on behalf of someone]', etc.) via the cognitively licensed extensions of meaning known as metonymy and narrowing. The development of a workhorse's various meanings from a basic concept is also described in terms of changes in focus on the attributes within a Barsalou cognitive frame. Theoretical predictions were tested on the biblical corpus, confirming that 'îš is the default label for participants in prototypical situations, and that it is used where participation is relevant or consequential. The hypothesized semantic structure and evolution explained the word's "grammatical" usages and otherwise-puzzling behaviors. Longstanding interpretive cruxes were resolved. Thus the hypothesis evinced greater explanatory power and economy than the existing notions of 'îš in Biblical Studies. The findings not only observe for 'îš the same discourse functions that linguists had found for man and homme, but also provide motivations for those functions, while identifying additional functions that seem to apply to workhorse nouns as a class. The study closes with discussions of the role of gender, the life cycle of workhorse nouns, and implications for Modern Hebrew and for other languages. • vi •
doi:10.13140/rg.2.2.32492.72322 fatcat:4lagn5g33baalau5fedss5id6i