Qatal, 1 Kings 11:1
dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Feb 3 08:05:03 EST 1999
> I think it's worth differentiating between X-qatal clauses in the following
> two series in *historical narrative*:
> 1. X-qatal--->wayyiqtol
> 2. wayyiqtol--->X-qatal
> Series (1), when found at the beginning of a narrative paragraph (anywhere
> in a pericope), will give antecedent information, describing the situation
> at the time when the following wayyiqtol pushes the narrative time forward.
> I think this is your pluperfect idea, Peter.
> In (2), the X-qatal gives simultaneous (with the preceding wayyiqtol)
> information. It functions as a topicalizing clause; that is, it shifts the
> focus of the narrative from the layout of a plotline to the layout of
> information which clarifies, contrasts with, or is simulataneous with the
> plotline. Is pluperfect an accurate characterization of X-qatal in this
> second series? Doesn't seem quite right to me.
About the only exception I can possibly see to these suggested
patterns involves negatives. Since a WP can't be negated
(because the negative particle has to be clause-initial), another
form has to be used, yet the negative may not necessarily be
simultaneous with anything, e.g. "He went to her house. He didn't
find her there. He went back home." Finding her not at home
must necessarily be sequential to going to her house, but it would
not be possible in Hebrew to use a WP for the second clause
because of the negation.
> In BH narrative text we often see the pattern
> wayyiqtol-->(w)X-qatal-->wayyiqtol. If there is indeed a difference in
> function between series (1) and series (2) above, we must then be able to
> tell whether an X-qatal which is, in text, sandwiched between wayyiqtols is
> linked back to the preceding wayyiqtol or forward to the following. Does
> the question mark below show the dilemma well enough?
I think a real example or two would be helpful, at least to me...
> Semantics and world knowledge must come into play because we must be able
> to find the boundaries of narrative paragraphs. A new paragraph is
> signaled by a shift of the narrative to a new setting a change in cast of
> characters. If an X-qatal clause aids in creating this shift, it is
> paragraph-initial. We can then determine whether an X-qatal is linked
> 'forward' or 'backward' by how it fits one of the following descriptions.
Yes, and therein lies one of my major differences with nearly
everybody else here: I hold to the autonomous syntax principle.
One recent statement of this principle says "No syntactic rule can
make reference to pragmatic, phonological, or semantic
information." (Andrew Radford, *Transformational Grammar*,
Cambridge U. Press, 1988 p. 31). This is one of the chief
distinguishing features of transformational grammar, and one that I
seem to have had trouble communicating here. But based on it,
the question for me becomes "What is there about these forms
that makes them able to produce well-formed clauses in these
sorts of contexts?" It's fairly easy to appeal to discourse level and
come up with statements about what does foregrounding,
backgrounding, etc., but these don't answer my questions.
A Bible that's falling apart means a life that isn't.
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