The function of marked word order in Biblical Hebrew prose: An evaluation of existing theories in the light of 2 Kings.
This thesis .investigates the function of a topicalized constituent .in the narrative non-direct speech texts .in 2 Kings. Many traditional BH grammarians described the :function of a topicalized constituent as "emphasis". Recent BH grammarians pointed out that extralinguistic factors like the total communicative context should also be considered in the description of a function for a topicalized constituent. The shift from the structural to a more pragmatic approach is illustrated in this study. The pragmatic approach proved to be not only possible, but also advantageous to the study of function in BH. The aim of this study was to test the viability and results of the various theories and categories of the BH linguists. This study also researched whether their linguistic approaches are indeed an improvement on the descriptions as defined by the traditional grammarians. In other words, to see whether and in which way more recent studies of BH could aid the understanding of the function of a topicalized constituent in BH word order. The methodology utilized in this study is briefly outlined as follows: 1. This study examined the description of word order in terms of the traditional and more recent approaches. The categories used to describe the function of a topicalized constituent were our main focus. At the end we compiled a theoretical frame of reference that we regard as representative of modem attempts to acquire a more refined comprehension of BH word order. A theoretical linguistic framework was formulated which could be used in our description of a sentence in BH in 2 · Kings. This attempt could be described as eclectic because it used the diverse perceptions from the various linguistic approaches. Richter's theoretical linguistic framework (with its limitations) together with contributions of Van der Merwe, Buth and Gross were used as a basis for the description of the sentences. 3. Sentences were analysed systematically and holistically at the different levels of description, namely morphology, morphosyntax, sentence syntax, semantics and pragmatics. Because of the difficulty in defining semantics and with pragmatics still in disarray, this study defined some semantic-pragmatic concepts it worked with. 4. In the description of sentences we incorporated and tested the viability of the different categories of various grammarians. By carefully considering the context of each sentence, this study posed the question: which, if any; of the categories could adequately describe the semantic-pragmatic function of a topicalized constituent in 2 Kings.