BH, TMA matters, rolf and black swans
decaen at chass.utoronto.ca
Sat Dec 5 14:00:11 EST 1998
why don't you listen to your colleagues? might save you a lot of time.
(A) Rolf, what kind of supervision are you getting over there? who's
watching the store on semitics? on semantics? really curious. who's on
your supervisory committee? I ask because what I see suggests you've
got some big hurdles to overcome. really curious.
(i) it appears that you're working with some sort of nonstandard
interpretation of TMA, though I don't know what the source of the
difficulty is: whether it's a particular source, or your misreading,
(ii) the use of pragmatics is probably problematic. for instance,
deixis is semantic, and pragmatics secures the reading of deixis.
deixis is not *itself* derived pragmatically. just an example that makes
me wonder what's going on.
(B) on the semitic side, lumping together short and long yiqtols is
mindboggling, and the resort to unpointed texts also mindboggling.
this sort of business has been considered unacceptable for some time
(i) I'm working on a manuscript called "The Tiberian Way" which among
other things rehabilitates the masoretes from the slings and arrows of
19th century denigration. for you to come along with this business is
really frustrating. I don't know what others on the list think. these
guys spent generations perfecting a phonetic transcription of a
reading with roots as old as the mishnah. <sigh>
(ii) since apocopation correlates with a syntactic and semantic
distinction, I can't see how you can get off the ground with ignoring
the distinction. there must be two yiqtol paradigms at the least.
maybe Niccacci might hold his nose about this one, but I can't think
(iii) consider MLKK and MLKT, one a noun king with 2s suffix, the
other a verb form with 2s suffix. gee, in the consonantal text there's
no difference, guess there is no difference in gender in the singular
for hebrew. if there is, there is across the board. if not, well. I
don't know. you can't have it both ways, IMHO.
(C) since aspect is encoded formally in the participle, I'm free to
ascribe a general perfectivity to the entire finite system and
infinitives, a legitimate use of the pragmatics/semantics distinction.
so I don't have the problems you ascribe. just a thought.
(D) I still think that if you want to carry forward such a project
that you should write up the controversial assumptions as papers for
reputable refereed journals. if the work goes through that process,
then I'd be willing to revisit it.
I just don't get it. maybe lee or bryan or someone else has more
insight into this. it may be a poverty of imagination on my part: I'm
willing to admit it. what do others think about any of the problems or
issues flagged above? e.g., about apocopated forms?
and rolf, skip the swans thing: it's a weak rhetorical stance to
lecture on scientific method. oh well. saw a pink swan the other day,
btw, I don't think it was alive in the christmas display though.
Vincent DeCaen, Ph.D. <decaen at chass.utoronto.ca>
Hebrew Syntax Encoding Initiative
c/o Deparment of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
4 Bancroft Ave., 2d floor, University of Toronto, Toronto ON, M5S 1A1
...the idea of a perfect language risks becoming nothing more than a
waste bin for prejudices which have not survived confrontation with
--Mark Sainsbury, "Russell", 1979: p15
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