Since Hebrew does not differentiate between intimate and distant pronouns of address, a strategy of deferential address consists in addressing someone by the third person: «indirect address» metaphorically increases distance between speaker and addressee. In a corpus of ancient Hebrew texts (Bible and epigraphy, from the 9th century BCE to the 2nd century CE) where thousands of occurrences of terms of address were analysed, one address out of four is indirect. The strategy is particularly common in highly formal situations where the addressee is higher in rank, such as petitions, military correspondence addressed to a superior, and addresses to a sovereign; for these situations, indirect address is the norm. Nevertheless it occurs in dialogues between peers, on the condition that the speaker feels in danger or the circumstances are unfavourable to him/her. The term mainly used in association with indirect address is a title; as for my lord and the king, the use of the third person is predominant, being almost the rule, and it happened to be rendered with the second person in ancient versions of the Bible. The second section of the paper deals with syntactic irregularities concurring with indirect address: a lack of person agreement appears in the sentence when the speaker refers to the addressee both by the third and the second person. Two examples are provided and analysed in order to illustrate how extra-linguistic variables can interfere, or not, with the structure of the sentence. The examination of this phenomenon, which is not rare in Biblical Hebrew, had such an outcome that should be of interest to general linguists as well: sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors compel the speaker to oscillate between the reference to the external reality and the inner reference to a fictive reality, the latter created through the language for a particular purpose.

L'allocuzione indiretta in ebraico antico

ESPOSITO, RAFFAELE
2009

Abstract

Since Hebrew does not differentiate between intimate and distant pronouns of address, a strategy of deferential address consists in addressing someone by the third person: «indirect address» metaphorically increases distance between speaker and addressee. In a corpus of ancient Hebrew texts (Bible and epigraphy, from the 9th century BCE to the 2nd century CE) where thousands of occurrences of terms of address were analysed, one address out of four is indirect. The strategy is particularly common in highly formal situations where the addressee is higher in rank, such as petitions, military correspondence addressed to a superior, and addresses to a sovereign; for these situations, indirect address is the norm. Nevertheless it occurs in dialogues between peers, on the condition that the speaker feels in danger or the circumstances are unfavourable to him/her. The term mainly used in association with indirect address is a title; as for my lord and the king, the use of the third person is predominant, being almost the rule, and it happened to be rendered with the second person in ancient versions of the Bible. The second section of the paper deals with syntactic irregularities concurring with indirect address: a lack of person agreement appears in the sentence when the speaker refers to the addressee both by the third and the second person. Two examples are provided and analysed in order to illustrate how extra-linguistic variables can interfere, or not, with the structure of the sentence. The examination of this phenomenon, which is not rare in Biblical Hebrew, had such an outcome that should be of interest to general linguists as well: sociolinguistic and pragmatic factors compel the speaker to oscillate between the reference to the external reality and the inner reference to a fictive reality, the latter created through the language for a particular purpose.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11574/132051
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