Clause search: the rational between Agent and Subject

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Nielsen Tomazini | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Jan 9 2019 6:18 AM

Hi there.
I am trying to understand the differences between Agent and Subject on Clause Search. I understand that Agent is a Semantic Function and Subject a Grammatical Function, however, I am not understanding their differences when looking at some search results.

Please see below that I ran 2 searches: 
Search 1 (to the left of the image) Agent:God verb-lemma:[a Hebrew verb]   

Search 2 (to the right of the image) Subject:God verb-lemma:[a Hebrew verb] 

Please see that Exodus 32.14 appears in both results, however I don't have Genesis 6.6-7 when I search for God as an Agent. Why so? The Exodus text is quite similar to the Genesis ones.

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 9 2019 6:29 AM

Nielsen Tomazini:
Please see that Exodus 32.14 appears in both results, however I don't have Genesis 6.6-7 when I search for God as an Agent. Why so? The Exodus text is quite similar to the Genesis ones.

The Genesis 6 occurrences are tagged as "experiencer"

An agent is defined as someone who instigates an action or changes a change in someone / thing else

An experiencer is defined as someone who experiences a state or a mental event or activity.

My speculation is that the Gen verses are tagged with experiencer because they are focusing on how God felt, whereas the Exodus passages are tagged as agent because the "relenting" is tied up with how God is going to act.

But someone from Faithlife would need to comment definitively.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 10 2019 4:28 PM

Nielsen Tomazini:
I am trying to understand the differences between Agent and Subject on Clause Search.

Graham provided a good answer. However, I'd like to convince you that the question itself is a bit off. You should not expect there to be a set relationship between subject and agent. For example:

  • Mary hit Tom with a ball.
  • Tom was hit by a ball thrown by Mary.
  • A ball, thrown by Mary, hit Tom.

The subjects are Mary, Tom, ball respectively ... but in all cases it was Mary who was the agent and poor Tom who got the bruise. Yes, there are discernible constraints within a given language as to possible grammatical roles for a semantic role. Unfortunately, I can't find a straightforward article on mapping semantic roles to grammatical functions.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Nielsen Tomazini | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 10 2019 5:06 PM

Thanks a lot Graham. Very much interesting those possibilities. Thanks a lot for your explanation.

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Youtube: AprendaLogos

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Nielsen Tomazini | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 10 2019 5:15 PM

Wow MJ.

Got it. It is quite clear now. I did not realize that. Your examples made it clear. 

Thanks a lot. I think a look at the Hebrew syntax and verbal stems on those texts may give a better understanding of the labeling on them.

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