A semantic ANALYSIS OF PSALM 51
A SEMANTIC ANALYSIS OF PSALM 51
According to Babatunde (1995, p2), the term “semantics” is derived from a Greek verb that means “to signify.” He went on to define semantics as the study of meaning that aims to convey and categorise human experience through words.
This indicates that terms are employed to refer and that attempts are made to allow the hearer to notice the reference as well as the overall style of referring. “Getting the overall meaning is certainly a concern of semantics” (Babatunde 1995, p2).
is the study of linguistic meaning. According to Goddard (1998, p1), semantics is the study of meaning, which is central to the linguistic search to understand the nature of language and human language capacities.
To understand how a language works, we must first understand how its individual design functions to fulfil its function as a complex instrument for expressing meanings (Goddard 1998, p1). Palmer (1981, p206) claims:
Semantics is not a single discipline that is well-integrated. It is neither a distinct level of linguistics, nor is it comparable to phonology or grammar.
Rather, it is a collection of studies on the use of language in connection to linguistics and non-linguistic contexts, discourse participants, their knowledge and experience, and the conditions under which a particular chunk of language is acceptable.
This indicates that semantics can be studied in non-linguistic contexts as well as language contexts. Thus, applying semantics to Psalm 51 will reveal the general meaning and intentions of the author in the text. King David wrote Psalm 51, which is divided into nineteen verses (Leupold 1969, p399) and (Stamps 1992, p852).
Stamps claimed that Psalm 51 was written after David purposefully sinned against God. “He feared that God's presence and spirit would leave him spiritually destitute.”
As a result, he composed the Psalm to beg pardon” (Stamps 1992, p852) and Nelson (1989, p503).
1.2 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research is to investigate the message in Psalm 51 using a semantic theoretical framework. It is set out to discover the meanings and intents of the people who used the phrases in Psalms 51.
It is also intended to highlight the Psalm's wealth of meaning and to demonstrate how the psalmist logically chose his words to beg with God for pardon.
Though pragmatic study of this text has been undertaken, to the best of our knowledge, semantic analysis of Psalm 51 has not been undertaken.
Thus, the works tied together in the text to generate meaning will be disclosed by investigating the underlying messages in the text using the semantic theoretical framework.
However, the purpose of this research is to serve as a guide for future scholars interested in the topic of semantics. Furthermore, this research is being conducted to add to the existing body of knowledge.
1.4 RESEARCH methodology
The semantic analysis of Psalm 51 is the focus of this effort. The text (Psalm 51) of the King James Version will serve as the basis for our analysis. In chapter three of this study, the complete nineteen verses of Psalm 51 will be examined.
We will analyse this data using Geoffrey Leech's (1974) seven forms of meaning, which are Denotative, Conotative, Collocative, Thermatic, Stylistic, Reflexive, and Affective meaning.
As part of our data analysis techniques, we will also explore several theories of meaning, including the Referential and Image theories of meaning.
THE BOOK OF PSALMS (1.5)
According to Donald C. Stamps (1992, p80), the ‘Book' of Psalms is the Bible's longest and largest book, containing the Bible's longest chapter (Psalm 119:1 – 176) and shortest chapter (Psalm 117: 1- 2),
and arguably the most extensively used book in the Bible, composed between the 10th and 15th centuries BC. Stamps (p. 80, 1992).
In a very personal and practical way, the Psalms examine the complete gamut of human experience. Its 50 “songs” cover the patriarchal, theocratic, monarchical, exilic, and postexilic periods, as well as the creation myth.
The psalms cover a wide range of topics, including celebration, conflict, peace, worship, judgement, messianic prophecy, praise, and lament (Nelson 1989, p483).
The psalms were adapted to stringed instrument accompaniment and functioned as the Jewish people's temple hymn book and devotional guide (Nelson 1989, p483).
Stamps (1992, p808), on the other hand, claims that the book of Psalms was not composed by a single person. He went on to say that King David, King Solomon (son of David), and the sons of Korah are among those mentioned as Psalm composers.
However, it is certain that David wrote Psalm 51 to atone for his sins of adultery and murder after Nathan the prophet revealed them to him (Stamps 1992, p852).
1.6 DATA DESCRIPTION
The body of Psalm 51 can be divided into three major portions. The first section (verses 1–2) focuses on mercy prayer. Section two (verses 3-11) focuses on sin confession, while section three (12-19) focuses on prayer for redemption.
The second half is divided into verses 3–4, 5–8, and 9–11, while the third section is broken into verses 12–14, 15–16, and 17–19. However, both portions are organised in concentric circles.
1.7 SUMMARY OF THE CHAPTER
This chapter has explained what this research project will be about. They include several scholars' definitions of semantics, brief information about our work, the objective of the study, justification for the study, methodology, the bible version we are using, and brief information about the ‘Book' of Psalms itself.
As a result of this, we now know what to expect from this project's work. So let us move on to the next part, which is our literature study.