TIP of the day: from the blogs - lexical vs. contextual meaning

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jan 8 2016 11:44 AM

from the United Bible Society's Semantic Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew site:

In order to adequately study both the lexical and the contextual meaning(s) of a given lexical unit a further distinction is made between lexical and contextual semantic domains. This implies that in SDBH most lexical entries have to be classified twice and receive both lexical and contextual labels. In other words, every (sub)entry may have one or more lexical meanings and will therefore be assigned to one or more lexical semantic domains. For each lexical meaning, in turn, we may find one or more different contexts, each providing its own relevant information that will need to be covered by one or more contextual semantic domains.

The verb חבא, for instance, together with its derivatives מַחֲבֵא and מַחֲבוֹא, has six lexical meanings, which will be listed below, in the form of definitions:

  1. to go to a location where one will not be readily seen by others and/or be safe from danger
  2. location where one will be safe from danger
  3. causative of [a ]: to cause someone else to go to a location where that person will not be readily seen by others and/or be safe from danger
  4. to leave in a such a way that other people do not notice
  5. as [c ], but without indication of a specific location: to keep someone from (physical or non-physical) harm
  6. as [a ], but extended to events: to come to a stop

Each of these six lexical meanings, however, is found in different contexts, each of which provides information that can be relevant to the text, and that needs to be covered by one or more contextual domains. If this contextual information is incorporated in the form of glosses, into the little scheme above, it produces the following result:

    1. to go to a location where one will not be readily seen by others and/or be safe from danger
        • to hide oneself (out of fear of a supernatural being)
        • to hide oneself (out of fear of an aggressor)
        • to hide oneself (out of shame or shyness during a public gathering)
        • to withdraw, step aside (out of respect for someone important during a public gathering)
        • to hide oneself, ambush (in order to attack someone)
      1. location where one will be safe from danger
          • hiding-place (against an aggressor)
          • hiding-place (against the wind)
        1. causative of [a ]: to cause someone else to go to a location where that person will not be readily seen by others and/or be safe from danger
            • to put away, hide (in prisons)
            • to hide someone (in order to keep him/her from harm)
          1. to leave in a such a way that other people do not notice
              • to leave secretly
            1. as [c ], but without indication of a specific location: to keep someone from (physical or non-physical) harm
                • to hide someone > to protect someone (by God, from slander)
                • to hide someone > to protect someone (by God, in the shadow of his hand)
              1. as [a ], but extended to events: to come to a stop
                  • to hide oneself (of one's voice) > to become silent, stop speaking (during a public gathering)

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              Mary-Ellen | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2016 6:06 AM

              Very helpful!  Like many, I try to think through these varying contexts intuitively.  Enriching to have UBS's disciplined and structured analysis.

              And in the process of adding a shortcut to my Logos bar for the Semantic Dictionary hyperlink, I discovered that Google Chrome works as easily with Logos 6 as Firefox.  I added this info to the Wiki, and hope that someone wiki-savvy will correct any errors I may have made.

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