furuli at online.no
Mon Feb 22 07:05:54 EST 1999
Galia Hatav wrote:
>Now I would like to answer the question of why WP is inherently sequential.
>In my book I stated it as a mere stipulation. Now I am working for an
>Again, within the line of Washburn (1994), it seems to me that WP has in it
>the component *yiqtol*, which I show to be modal. The notion of modality I
>adopt is the one suggested by modal logic: a modal clause quantifies over
>possible worlds (PW). Now, *wayyiqtol* itself is understood to report
>NON-modal events. How can we explain it, then, to consists of a modal form?
>This is my hypothesis: The form of *wayyiqtol* consists of three morphemes
>(not just two, as Washburn suggests): W-AY-YIQTOL. The morpheme *W* builds
>a new R-time (which makes the form sequential in the sense described
>above). The morphem *AY* (i.e., the vowel patah and the dagesh geminating
>the prefix) specifies the PW to be the actual one (I'll call it AW). This
>needs some explanantion. Coinsider the difference between (2a) and (2b)
> 2. a. Mary must have gone to the beach.
> b. Mary went to the beach.
>As analyzed in modal logic, (2a) says: In Every PW Mary went to the beach.
>Now we understand that she went also in AW because AW is a member of the
>set PW. (2b), on the other hand, claims that Mary went in AW, not
>necessarily in other PW (but it is possible that she went in other PW). My
>argument is, that in the case of *wayyiqtol* the morpheme *ay* specifies
>that the event took place in AW. The function of *ay* is similar to the
>definite article attached to NPs. Consider (3a-b):
> 3. a. Students work hard.
> b. The students work hard.
>In (3a) the predicate "work hard" applies to EVERY student. By inference we
>understand it to apply also to the students who are taking BH. In (3b) the
>predicate applies specifically to certain students. How did we get the
>difference - by the article "the" attached to the non-specific plural NP
>"students". This is how *ay* works. It applies to the non-specific
>*yiqtol* to make it specific to the actual world. This may explain why we
>understand *wayyiqtol* to refer to past tense events.
I found your post very interesting, and appreciate both your sound
linguistic comments and your points about modality (something which I also
have voiced, both in my mag. art. thesis and on b-hebrew). I have not yet
read your book, but I have ordered it, and I look forward to reading it
I have two questions about W-AY-YIQTOL. My view (so far) is that tense is
not grammaticalised in BH, and that all yiqtols with and without wa are
imperfective (not the "English" brand of imperfectivity) and that all
qatals with and without we are perfective. The w of wayyiqtol is the simple
conjunction, and the rest of the wayyiqtol is a function of the choice of
the apocopated form and the phonetic rules used by the Masoretes.
(1) Can you point to a single function of wayyiqtol which cannot be
accounted for by the view that wayyiqtol is the conjunction w + yiqtol?
(2) I have seen many attempts to give a diachronic explanation of the
WAYY-element of wayyiqtol, but not a single one which is historically and
linguistically satisfactory. Can you say something about the background of
the W-AY-elements you mention?
Let us consider a biblical example: 2 kings 20:7 and Isaiah 38:21, which
occur in parallel accounts. Verses 21,22 in Isaiah 38 are clearly
"misplaced" and should occur between verses 6 and 7. This is seen because 2
kings 20:6 has the same thought as Isaiah 38:6 and Isaiah 38:7 is the
answer to the question asked in Isaiah 38:22, which is also the case with 2
Kings 20:8 and 9. Both verses starts with a wayyiqtol with past meaning
"Isaiah said". Isaiah uses an imperative while 2 Kings uses a yiqtol, both
with modal meaning. Three wayyiqtols follow in the Isaiah text and two
weyiqtols in 2 Kings. Is the temporal setting different? Both according to
Isaiah 38:22 and 2 Kings 20:8, Hezekiah was not actually healed, and this
suggests a future/modal setting for both 2 Kings 20:7 and Isaiah 38:21. The
versions tend to agree with this setting. Regarding the last verb xyh,
according to my notes which I cannot check at the moment, we find the
2 Kings 20:7; LXX: future, Peshitta: waw + participle, Vulgate: perfect,
Targum: waw + perfect, Ge'ez: waw + subjunctive
Isaiah 38:21; adjective + future, Peshitta: waw + participle, Vulgate,
present passive; Targum: waw + imperfect, Ge'ez: waw + subjunctive.
The problems of differentiating between weyiqtol and wayyiqtol in unpointed
texts is also adequately illustrated by these two verses. Just delete the
vowels, and try to find the time setting without them.
To the TAM-niks on the list: would you argue for a similar time setting, or
that Isaiah uses a future/modal setting and that 2 Kings uses a past
Lecturer in Semitic languages
University of Oslo
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