Monday, October 16, 2006

Thinking through Niccacci on text analysis

I've been working through our Old Testament set texts for college (1 Sam 9-10; 2 Sam 6-7) and marking them up largely according to Niccacci's method of text analysis. However, I'm having trouble with his insistence on dividing narrative from other discourse. It seems to me that narrative is something we all do during speech and it would be surprising that there would be such a strong distinctive in how the language works. Instead, I wonder if written narrative is just a slightly more formal form of discourse narrative. If that's the case, then we need to treat weX-qatal's as more like mainline clauses and less like offline clauses. They provide emphasis in the narrative and may be largely antecedent (though I'm still working through whether they always refer to what is about to happen or can look back and add information to what has already happened in the narrative, cf George Athas' teaching grammar) but still, they are more than merely circumstantial clauses. They introduce significant information that substantially affects the narrative. At least, in my limited experience of analysis so far. I have much to learn.

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