Step 1b – Adverbial Cognate Accusatives?

In the last post we did a search for complements which shared the same root as the verb. Before we analyze these results, we should do a second search to check for a similar situation with adjuncts.

If you saved the previous Hebrew Construct, simply exchange the complement phrase with an adjunct phrase.

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 8.13.29 AM

Indeed, this search gives us another 159 hits.

Screen shot 2013-06-29 at 8.14.59 AM

If you browse these results, you’ll notice that many of the hits are infinitive absolutes. The other category of examples seem to be cases where a cognate accusative co-occurs with a direct object as in Exodus 12:14:

‏וְחַגֹּתֶם אֹתוֹ חַג לַיהוָה

“You shall celebrate it (as a) feast to YHWH”

Why are these considered adjuncts instead of complements, or why are the previous examples considered complements instead of adjuncts? Would the similar cognate accusative in this hypothetical sentence be analyzed as a complement:

וְחַגֹּתֶם חַג לַיהוָה

“You shall celebrate a feast to YHWH”

I am not precisely sure, but my intuition is that this question may need to be revisited. Cognate accusatives, of course, are one of the categories that present problems for the traditional label object, but we will worry about that later.

Our next step will be to develop some measures and criteria to analyze the distribution of this construction as we attempt to draw some conclusions about its function.

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2 Comments on “Step 1b – Adverbial Cognate Accusatives?”

  1. Interesting. This is a test search I have not run for proofing (but will now note for future proofing). This is the type of search I have been asking syntax users to run for two years, to find things I have simply overlooked. But few have responded.

    The answer to the cases with an infinitive is that they contribute to the manner of the action/event (=adjunct) rather than fulfilling it as patient/recipient/etc. But there are clearly other cases that don’t fit this and I will have to revisit them.

    • Peter Bekins Says:

      I think that the infAbs are correctly adverbials. I am wondering more about the other cases, but I have to think about it more. In both of my examples, חג could be analyzed as “effected patient”, and Exod 12:14 could group with verbs of creation/transformation which select two arguments: affected patient (material) and effected patient (product). Either can be considered the primary object (discourse prominence seems most important for which is selected). Further, and where I am going with this series of posts, objects also contribute to aspectual interpretation of a clause. I am wondering whether cognate accusatives are purely “manner modifiers” and therefore more adverbial, or whether they contribute to telicity/perfectivity, in which case they would group more closely with objects.

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