ex 26 + 36.8ff, (36.29)
dwashbur at nyx.net
Tue Jan 26 17:28:47 EST 1999
> Dear Rolf,
I'm going to jump in here...
> Let's look at two English sentences:
> 1. This morning I read the newspaper.
> 2. Every morning I read the newspaper.
> Here, to my mind, we have two different tenses or TAMs which happen to
> have acquired the same form by some historical accident - in this case
> they are actually pronounced differently (like "red" in 1 and "reed"
> in 2).
Tenses, yes. TAM, I don't think so.
> Would you agree that the verb is a simple, perfective past tense in 1
> and some kind of present tense, imperfective and habitual in 2? Or
> would you claim that for this and a few other verbs (e.g. "let",
> "put") there is no simple past tense and no simple present tense
> (except in the 3rd person singular?!) but only one combined tense?
I would agree that one is a past tense and one is a present tense,
but I would argue that especially in English, the verb forms
themselves say nothing about aspect. The aspect of the first is
coded in the temporal phrase "this morning" whereas the aspect
(or habitual nature, which I'm not totally sure can be called an
"aspect") of the second is likewise coded in the temporal phrase
"every morning." I have big problems with imputing aspect to the
verb forms this way when it's obvious (to me at least) that the
aspect of the clause comes from somewhere else.
> Similarly with Hebrew. Simple yiqtol and jussive have the same form in
> many cases, but they remain semantically distinct. True, one needs the
> context to disambiguate them (a strong argument for a discourse
> approach, in my opinion), but this does not mean that speakers thought
> of them as synonymous.
> Could it not be that the one form weqatal represents two originally
> quite distinct tenses or TAMs which have come together because of some
> phonological mechanism or Masoretic regularisation but retain distinct
What would you say those two originally quite distinct tenses or
TAMs are? I may have missed this in one of your earlier posts if
you've already answered that...
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