logic of et pointing only to a definite noun

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SteveMiller
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logic of et pointing only to a definite noun

Post by SteveMiller »

1.‎ אֵ֥ת points to the direct object only if the direct object is definite.
What is the logic or usefulness of that?
Why would it not also point to and indefinite direct object?
Maybe a use is, If you see a definite noun not preceded by אֵ֥ת, then that definite noun should probably not be a direct object.

2. Does the preposition אֵ֥ת meaning "with" also only apply to a definite object? Looking at the uses in Genesis, it seems to.

3. The preposition ‎ מֵאֵ֙ת "from" seems to only precede a definite object, but is the object of מֵאֵ֙ת in Gen 17:27 indefinite or definite?
Genesis 17:27 וְכָל־אַנְשֵׁ֤י בֵיתוֹ֙ יְלִ֣יד בָּ֔יִת וּמִקְנַת־כֶּ֖סֶף מֵאֵ֣ת בֶּן־נֵכָ֑ר נִמֹּ֖לוּ אִתּֽוֹ׃

4. Are there any other prepositions or particles, besides אֵ֥ת and מֵאֵ֙ת, that only apply to definite objects?

Thanks.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)
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Jason Hare
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Re: logic of et pointing only to a definite noun

Post by Jason Hare »

1) It really makes sense to mark the definite object. Why? Most (not all) subjects are definite. We tend to provide more information about the topic that we have in mind, and it's normally a specific one. This is the case so frequently that Greek grammar actually remarks that if there are two nouns in the nominative case with a copula (whether a copular verb or a null copula), the one with the article is the subject! The definite one is the subject. That's a good clue to what is happening in Hebrew, too. Let's think through a few sentences.

a) וַיַּרְא הָֽאָדָם הָֽאֱלֹהִים ? (no marker) - Especially in poetry, the word order is fluid and can be switched (especially for focus/topic, for chiasm/parallelism). The particle אֵת sets it apart as the object. Without it, you cannot know for sure which noun is the subject and which is the object. They are equally viable for each position, though word order might trump in making a decision (it is more common for the subject to follow the verb closely, but not necessarily).
a1) וַיַּרְא אֶת־הָֽאָדָם הָֽאֱלֹהִים God saw the man.
a2) וַיַּרְא הָֽאָדָם אֶת־הָֽאֱלֹהִים The man saw God.

b) וְאִשָּׁה לָקַח הָאִישׁ And the man took a wife. (no marker) - Since the DO is indefinite, there is no need for a marker. It is clear that the definite noun (no matter its placement) is the subject and the indefinite the object.

There are certainly times when a definite object is not marked by אֵת, and there are other times when a subject may be marked with it (especially when the verb is passive). It's a tricky particle.

2) No, the object of the preposition אֵת does not have to be definite.

3) בֶּן־נֵכָר is indefinite, and there is no requirement for the object to be definite.

4) Only אֵת (as DDOM) has this restriction (though there are even exceptions to that).
Jason Hare
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www.thehebrewcafe.com
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SteveMiller
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Re: logic of et pointing only to a definite noun

Post by SteveMiller »

Jason, thank you very much. I did not know this. That makes sense, and I could understand it.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)
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