Radical Frame Semantics and Biblical Hebrew

Exploring Lexical Semantics


Since James Barr’s work in the 1960s, the challenge for Hebrew scholars has been to continue to apply the insights of linguistic semantics to the study of biblical Hebrew. This book begins by describing a range of approaches to semantic and grammatical analysis, including structural semantics, cognitive linguistics and cognitive metaphors, frame semantics, and William Croft’s Radical Construction Grammar. It then seeks to integrate these, formulating a dynamic approach to lexical semantic analysis based on conceptual frames, using corpus annotation. The model is applied to biblical Hebrew in a detailed study of a family of words related to “exploring,” “searching,” and “seeking.” The results demonstrate the value and potential of cognitive, frame-based approaches to biblical Hebrew lexicology.
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Biographical Note

Stephen L. Shead, Ph.D. (2007) in biblical Hebrew, University of Sydney, lectures Old Testament and Biblical Theology at the Centro de Estudios Pastorales in Santiago, Chile.

Table of contents

I Introduction
1. The gap
2. Bridging the gap
3. Goals of the study
4. Outline
5. Conventions and terminology
6. Interlinear morpheme translation


II Structural semantics and semantic fields
1. Sense relations
2. Paradigmatic relations
2.1 Hyponymy
2.2 Meronymy
2.3 Synonymy
2.4 Compatibility
2.5 Incompatibility and opposition
3. Syntagmatic relations
4. Semantic field theory
5. Terminological problems
6. Types of lexical relationship

III Cognitive semantics and semantic frames
1. The dynamic construal theory of meaning
2. Lexical meaning versus encyclopaedic information?
3. Dynamic construal and delineation of senses
4. Semantic frames
5. Dynamic construal, frames, sense, and sense relations
6. Metaphor, mental spaces, and frame blending
6.1 Cognitive Metaphor Theory
6.2 Mental spaces and Blending Theory
6.3 CMT and conventionalised metaphors
6.4 Conventionalised metaphors, novel metaphors, and lexicology
7. Concluding remarks

IV From typology to Radical Construction Grammar
1. Construction grammar(s)
1.1 Background
1.2 Constructions and the symbolic nature of language
1.3 Construction inheritance relations and the ’constructicon’
1.4 Construction instances: nesting and blending
2. Deconstructing grammatical categories and syntactic relations
2.1 Atomic, schematic categories: universal, global, or constructional?
2.2 Distributional analysis
2.3 The typological flaw: methodological opportunism
2.4 The logical flaw: vicious circularity
2.5 Syntactic relations: real or imaginary?
3. Reconstructing grammatical categories
3.1 Parts of speech
3.2 Heads, arguments, adjuncts, and valence in traditional grammar
3.3 Heads, arguments, adjuncts, and valence in RCG

V Frame Semantics and FrameNet
1. Frames, frame elements and lexical units
1.1 Lexical units
1.2 Frames
1.3 Frame elements
1.4 Core and peripheral FEs
1.5 Extra-thematic FEs
1.6 Missing frame elements: null instantiation
contents ix
2. FrameNet annotation
2.1 Phrase types and grammatical functions
2.2 Frame-bearing words, slot-fillers, and
‘Gov-X annotation’
3. Valence description
4. More FrameNet concepts
4.1 Frame relations and FE relations
4.2 Semantic types
4.3 Support constructions
5. FrameNet reports
6. Lexicographic annotation and full-text annotation


VI Re-framing the theory: Semantics
1. Categorising frame elements
1.1 Core and peripheral FEs
1.2 Core-peripheral variation between LUs in a frame
2. Target annotation and concept profiles
3. Null instantiation, utterances, and context
3.1 DNI or INI
3.2 Null instantiation (or not)
4. Frame inheritance and the categorisation triangle
5. Metaphor and dynamic construal

VII Re-Constructing the theory: Grammar
1. FrameNet and RCG: A partial integration
2. Two simple examples
3. Multi-level analysis of complex constructions
4. Multi-level analysis with adjunct constructions
5. Construction blending
6. Constructions and valence patterns
7. Looking forward
7.1 Frame semantics and the ‘constructicon’
7.2 Frame semantics and the ‘constructicon’


VIII Applying the framework to biblical Hebrew
1. The ancient language problem
2. Corpus and parameters of the study
3. HebrewNet: Frame-based annotation of the mt
3.1 Frames, FEs, and LUs
3.2 The annotation process
3.3 Further features and limitations
IX A cognitive analysis of exploring, searching, and seeking
1. Foundational frames: [explore], [search], and [seek]
1.1 Comparing and relating the frames
1.2 [Explore] vs. [search], and the specific/non-specific distinction
1.3 The frames as subframes in complex events
2. Metaphoric extensions
2.1 [explore]
2.2 [seek scenario]
2.3 [seek]
2.4 Locating instances
3. Temporal profiles, resultative senses, and metonymic
3.1 Telic processes
3.2 Variations in profiling of [explore], [search], and [seek]
4. Concluding remarks
X חקר and terms for exploring and searching in BH
חקר . 1 : Preliminary presentation of the data
1.1 Initial categorisation of occurrences
1.2 Translations in the Septuagint
1.3 Parallels and potential paradigmatic relationships in the mt
1.4 “Search out” and ambiguous categorisations
2. Positive instances: Exegetical notes
2.1 Deuteronomy 13:15[14]
2.2 Judges 5:16
2.3 Judges 18:2
2.4 Jeremiah 17:10
2.5 Jeremiah 31:37
2.6 Ezekiel 39:14
2.7 Psalm 44:22[21]
2.8 Psalm 95:4
2.9 Job 5:27
2.10 Job 8:8
2.11 Job 11:7; 38:16
2.12 Job 28:3
2.13 Job 28:27
2.14 Job 32:11
2.15 Proverbs 23:30
2.16 Proverbs 25:2
2.17 Proverbs 25:27
2.18 Proverbs 28:11
2.19 Ecclesiastes 12:9
3. Negated instances: General considerations
3.1 Uses of א י ן in BH
3.2 Negated חקר occurrences in the Versions
3.3 “Without limit”
3.4 Impossibility, or factual
4. Negated instances: Exegetical notes
4.1 1 Kgs 7:47 and 2 Chronicles 4:18
4.2 Isaiah 40:28
4.3 Job 5:9; 9:10
4.4 Job 36:26
4.5 Proverbs 25:3
5. Paradigmatic relations: Other terms and frames related to 284חקר
חפשׂ 5.1
תור 5.2
רגל 5.3
בחן 5.4
בקשׁ 5.5 and 295 דרשׁ
6. Towards a frame account of חקר terms
6.1 Area vs. sought entity
6.2 Temporal profile, completive and resultative uses, metonymic shifts
חקר 6.3 vs. חפשׂ , and [search]/[seek] variation
6.4 Judicial uses
7. Frames, lexical units, and annotations
7.1 [Explore]
7.2 [Search]
7.3 [Investigate]
7.4 [Examine person]
7.5 [Become aware of]
7.6 [Understanding]
7.7 [Unknown]
8. Concluding remarks
8.1 Exploring, searching, and seeking
8.2 Methodology
XI חקר in the Lexica
1. Older lexica: BDB and HALAT/HALOT
2. Theological dictionaries: TDOT and NIDOTTE
3. Modern lexica: DCH, Alonso Schökel, and SDBH
3.1 DCH (David Clines)
3.2 Alonso Schökel
3.3 SDBH (Reinier de Blois)
4. Summary

XII Conclusions
1. The benefits of Radical Frame Semantics
2. The potential of Radical Frame Semantics
List of works cited
Index of subjects
Index of biblical references
Index of authors
Index of Hebrew terms


All those interested in lexical semantics, lexicography, frame semantics, construction grammar, and the semantics of biblical Hebrew, and especially biblical Hebrew linguists and lexicographers.


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