cognate accusative / מושא פנימי

zaw

Senior Member
Arabic
Hi,

Someone wrote that in Jonah 1:16 (see below) we have a cognate accusative. What does that mean and what is its function?

וייראו האנשים יראה גדולה את־יהוה ויזבחו־זבח ליהוה וידרו נדרים
Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

How does one usually translate it? Actually, I don't see it in the translation.

Toda raba
 
  • radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    The cognate accusative is a form of figura etymologica, whereby a verb (that may not usually take an object) has as an object a noun that is cognate to it. This is less common in English, but it does exist, e.g., ‘He died a slow and painful death.’, where to die is normally intransitive.

    וייראו האנשים יראה גדולה את־יהוה
    And the men feared the Lord a great fear.

    Here, יראה גדולה ‘a great fear’ is a cognate accusative, added to a clause where the verb וייראו already has a direct object את־יהוה. However, to fear a great fear sounds strange in English, so it is translated instead as an adverb greatly.

    This cognate accusative (المفعول المطلق) is common in Arabic, e.g., أكرمني إكراما عظيما.
     
    Last edited:

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    This is المفعول المطلق in Arabic.

    The most widespread Arabic translation of this verse uses the same construction:

    فخاف الرجال من الرب خوفًا عظيمًا وذبحوا ذبيحة للرب ونذروا نذورًا
     

    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    By the way, the second half of the verse contains another two examples of cognate accusatives.

    ויזבחו־זבח ליהוה וידרו נדרים
    And they sacrificed a sacrifice to the Lord, and they vowed vows.

    Here, ויזבחו is cognate to its object זבח, and וידרו to נדרים. English eschews repetition of this sort, so the translation ends up being offered a sacrifice and made vows.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Are you sure those are the same construction? At least in Arabic, I don't think ذبيحة or نذورًا are cognate accusatives. I think they're direct objects (مفعول به) that are simply derived from the same root as the verb. I believe the cognate accusative / المفعول المطلق has to be a مصدر (the equivalent of the שם פעולה in Hebrew), i.e. ذبحوا ذبحًا / نذروا نذرًا.
     

    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    Hmm... you may have a point. I’ll have to give it some thought. You’re certainly correct from the point of view of Arabic, where the المفعول المطلق does have to be a مصدر.

    The term cognate accusative came originally from the (western) classical languages, however, where it has a broader application. In the narrowest sense, it applies to the cognate object of intransitive verbs, which must usually be modified: tutiorem vitam vivere ‘to live a surer life’. In some cases, it is not clear whether a verb is intransitive: Mirum atque inscitum somniavi somnium. “I dreamt a wonderful and uncanny dream.” In others, the verb is clearly transitive, and the cognate accusative is in fact the direct object: Juravi verissimum jus jurandum. “I sware the truest oath.”

    This last would be analogous to the frequent נָדַר נֶדֶר of Hebrew, as in Jonah above. Ultimately, I suppose, there may be no correct answer. It just comes down to a matter of definition.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    [Moderator note: thread merged with a previous one.]

    יש בעברית תופעה שקרויה מושא פנימי. בקצרה, מושא פנימי הוא שם פעולה שבא לאחר פועל מאותו שורש, דומה בצורתו למושא ישיר אבל אינו כזה. למשל "אני הולך הליכה", "הכוהן הניף תנופה". קיים כבר מימי המקרא ושימושי עד ימינו.

    והשאלה היא: האם זה משהו מיוחד לשפה העברית, או קיים גם בשפות אחרות. אני יודע שיש באנגלית ביטויים כמו he talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk שנראים כאילו יש בהם מושא פנימי, אבל לא בטוח שזה אותו הדבר.
     
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