My dissertation is titled Information Structure and Object Marking: A Study of the Object Preposition ʾet in Biblical Hebrew. It was completed under the supervision of Stephen A. Kaufman and W. Randall Garr. Download a .pdf here.
My research investigates the variable use of the object preposition ʾet within a functional-typological framework. There are two main categories of variation examined:
1) Asymmetric variations occur in contexts were overt marking of the direct object with ʾet may alternate with zero coding of the object
2) Symmetric variations occur in contexts where an argument may be realized as a direct object marked by ʾet or an oblique phrase headed by a preposition.
I conclude that asymmetric variations are primarily influenced by pragmatic factors, and the presence or absence of the object preposition shows a strong correlation to the information status of the referent coded by the object phrase. In contrast, symmetric variations are semantic in nature and can be related to the ‘patient-ness’ of the object, though the effect varies based on the cognitive frame of the verb involved and the semantic roles it selects by default.