dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Jan 23 12:14:46 EST 1999
> Dear Dave:
> Rolf wrote:
> >> When there is so much confusion, why don't you use modern linguistic
> >> principles to create a model that can differentiate between what is
> >> "semantic meaning" and what is "conversational pragmatic implicature" in
> >> each verb form? You can get such a model for less than $ 70, because Mari
> >> Broman Olsen has outlined an excellent model which can be applied to Hebrew
> >> verbs.
> >That's pretty much what I try to do with my transformational
> >approach. Can you give us some more information about this
> >"model" you speak of? It sounds fascinating.
> Different approaches in the study of Hebrew verbs may contribute to our
> understanding of the system. However, when we try to find the fundamental
> meaning of the conjugations, and whether there are four or two, there is no
> better approach than to come as close as possible to the principle of
> minimal pairs. If there is just one difference between two words (e.g.
> "bit" and "bat") it is easy to explain the semantic difference between
Yes, I know. TG makes use of minimal pairs.
The explanatory power of a view decreases proportionally with the
> number of factors that must be accounted for. Niccacci's system, for
> instance, while giving a very fine insight of patterns in the use of verbs,
> is completely useless to explain verbal meaning.
Broman Olsen's system, is
> the diametrical opposite of Niccacci's system. Her principle is to find
> uncanceellable "meaning atoms" (properties, the meaning of which will not
> change under any circumstances). A study of the verbal system based on
> these semantic meanings, is very close to a "minimal pair"- approach.
I have problems with the term "semantic meanings" because I hold
to a strict separation of syntax and semantics a la Chomsky, but
I'll let that go for now because I suspect we're using several terms
differently and aren't fully aware of it yet. I agree about Niccacci's
system, and I like the idea of the meaning atoms. I've been doing
much the same search, though I didn't have a name for it until now.
> As to Aktionsart, there are three uncancellable properties: dynamicity
> (change), durativity and telicity. Punctuality and stativity represent
> conversational pragmatic implicature.
Agreed, though I would add that in many cases aktionsart is
inherently bound up in the meaning of the word itself, e.g. "build" is
necessarily a linear activity, while "hit" is necessarily a punctiliar
action. This accords nicely with the conclusions of a number of
grammarians in several languages: aspect is a semantic
phenomenon, not a syntactic one.
As to tense (a deictic use of time)
> she uses the two properties +past and +future. As to Aspect she uses the
> properties +perfective and +imperfective. The system is privative and not
I'm not familiar with this last term...
In a quest for the meaning of the Hebrew conjugations the
> system has several advantages because it helps us differentiate between
> pragmatic and semantic meaning and because it shows the difference between
> the deictic nature of tense and the nondeictic nature of aspect, and at the
> same time it describes the relationship between aspect and time. This last
> point is very important, because it helps us to find whether aspect in
> Hebrew has the same properties as aspect in English.
It sounds like worthwhile reading.
Sourse: Mary Broman
> Olsen: "A Semantic and Pragmatic Model of Lexical and Grammatical Aspect",
> (1997) New York: Garland Publishing Inc.
This is what I was looking for with my question. Thanks!
> >> Just to avoid misunderstanding: I do not think that the Masoretes
> >> manipulated the text in any way: they were extremely careful copyists. But
> >> their pointing of the forms that we call "wayyiqtol" which evidently was
> >> done on a non-grammatical foundation, were by the first Hebrew grammarian
> >> from the 9th/10th century onward interpreted in a way that made wayyiqtol
> >> into a distinctive conjugation. If this is correct, the Masoretes, by
> >> following their phonetic laws, unintentionally laid the foundation for a
> >> four-component verbal model, but they did not invent it.
> >Just to clarify in my own mind: does this mean you don't believe
> >the WP is a distinct verbal form? Where do you believe the
> >Masoretes got their phonetic patterns from? Also, how close
> >would you say your view is to Loprieno's?
> No, WP is not a distinct verbal form, it simply is a yiqtol with a
> conjunction. Jerome wrote regarding the Jewish pronunciation of vowels
> that "the same words are realized with different (vowel) sounds and accents
> in accordance with the will of the reader and regional distinctions." I do
> not know from where the Masoretes got their phonetic patterns, but the
> worst possible choice to mark a phonemic difference would be to use shewa
> and patah, and I doubt that the use of these vowels was meant to mark two
> different ciónjugations. There are several differences between the view of
> Loprieno and myself, the principal one is the definition of aspect.
Thanks for the clarification. Obviously I disagree, but I do like to
know where others are coming from so I can dialogue intelligently
(or fairly so...) My reference to Loprieno was strictly regarding his
view of the WP, in which I see the two of you being pretty similar.
Do you know of any other published material that uses this
> >> Some statisticts: Looking at qatals with prefixed waw in 1st and 2nd person
> >> singular, I found 1637 examples in BHS. Of these, 1222 had ultimate stress
> >> (including 83 of the lamed aleph and lamed he groups), and 415 had
> >> penultimate stress (including 278 of the lamed aleph and lamed he groups).
> >> Of the verbs with ultimate stress 1082 evidently have future meaning, and
> >> of the verbs with penultimate stress 148 evidently have future meaning.
> >> The fact that 12 per cent of the weqatals with penultimate stress do not
> >> have a future meaning and that 36 per cent of the weqatals with penultimate
> >> stress have future meaning accords with Dave's suggestions above.
> >Fascinating (and encouraging!). Are the details published
> >somewhere? Part of the problem with my view of the WP is that I
> >have yet to really investigate the other "tenses" (for lack of a better
> >term) to any real degree. This material looks like a good way to
> >give my research a much-needed "jump-start."
> I gave the numbers in passim in a Festchrift article but the material has
> not been published.
If I contact you privately (to save list bandwidth) would there be any
way I could get a copy of the material?
A Bible that's falling apart means a life that isn't.
More information about the b-hebrew