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Preliminary Remarks On Phrase Structure

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Chapter Summary

In the present investigation the concept of 'phrase atoms' or 'minimum units' plays an important role. Phrase atoms are defined as the smallest indivisible units of a phrase, i.e. those elements that cannot be subdivided into smaller units. The aim of present section of the book on Language and Interpretation in the Syriac Text of Ben Sira is to describe the way in which phrase atoms and extensions are combined to constitute phrases. Firstly, phrase atoms are taken, rather than nouns, as the nuclei of phrases. Secondly, the main criterion for distinguishing several types of specification is formal. Thirdly, the main concern is the way in which the combination of phrase atoms and their extensions are structured to build up phrases. Words that need other words to make up a phrase atom are prepositions and nouns in the construct state.

Keywords: Ben Sira; nuclei; Phrase atoms; Phrase Structure; Syriac Text

10.1163/ej.9789004163942.i-475.70
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