Literature on biblical Hebrew recognizes two main modes, or "styles," for representing speech, thought, perception, and the like: direct speech, known as direct discourse; and indirect speech known as indirect discourse. Recent studies recognize a third style labeled free indirect discourse, usually described as a quasi indirect discourse, that is, something like or approximating indirect discourse. This article suggests a fourth style, labeled free direct discourse, understood to be as a quasi direct discourse.

Free direct discourse shares many linguistic properties with direct discourse, but differs from it in function. While direct discourse represents reproduction of speech (or thought as internal speech) as performed by the character, Free direct discourse represents different kinds of communication acts as worded by the narrator. The differentiation proposed here between regular direct discourse and free direct discourse emerges from the distinction between the use of '-m-r, the verb of "saying" in its finite conjugated form [inline-graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="01i" /] and in its infinitival form [inline-graphic xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" xlink:href="02i" /]. This article proposes that when using the finite form, biblical narrators introduce direct discourse, signaling that what follows is an exact quotation. When employing the infinitival form, however, they introduce free direct discourse, signaling that the following record of a communication may not be exact, that it may be an approximation of what was stated.


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