furuli at online.no
Wed Jul 5 09:45:56 EDT 2000
>rolf katav: >I therefore assume that a difference in morphology means a
>>difference in meaning,
>No- on the contrary,
I do not understand the negation in the clause above. To what does it refer?
>rolf deletes the vavhahippux morphological category from the language on
>the basis of his desire to join simpmle prefix verbs with vavhahipux
>(short) prefix verbs. We've already been over this on the list too many
>Rolf is playing with a fictitious language that he calls scientific because
>has has deleted all the vowels and doesn't know how to read them.
>If you read unvocalized texts, then learn to read them correctly.
>I encourage my students to CORRECTLY read/vocalize Jonah from an
>unvocalized text when they have learned the book. (and some of my first
>semester students can do it!) There are two broad classes of prefix verbs
>in this. vayYAqom is not the same as yaQUM or ve+yaQUM. Two morphologies.
>Two broad semantic/pragmatic categories.
It is not true that I deal with a language where all vowels are deleted,
but I do not just count the eyes of the patient but make an investigation
of them as well. Therefore, while I believe that the Masoretes where
extremely careful in their pointing of the text, I investigate the basis of
Based on morphology I differentiate between prefix forms in the following way:
Accadian: IPRUS - IPARRAS
Ge'ez: YENGER - YENAGGER
Ugaritic: YAQTUL - YAQTULU
The long forms are viewed as imperfective and indicative or present/future
and indicative . The short form of Ge'ez is modal, the short form of
Accadian is viewed as preterit (or originally as an aspect, according to
von Soden) and it is also the basis for the injunctive forms. The short
form of Ugaritic is viewed as preterit and jussive. Thus we see that the
basic difference between the short and the long forms in these languages is
one of modality, the short forms are modal, the long ones are indicative.
I see the same distinction in Hebrew. The differences between your ve+yaQUM
and vayYAqom cannot be seen in unpointed texts, but the same differences in
the lamed he group can be seen there. So ther is a difference! I claim that
there is no difference in aspect between the two, but I have never said
there is no semantic difference. To the contrary, my assumption that a
difference in morphology means a difference in meaning, suggests just that.
However, the difference I see is one of modality. This means that I see two
groups of prefix forms. (1) THE INDICATIVE GROU: the long forms of YIQTOL,
WAYYIQTOL (I think of those which *could* have been apocopated but are
not), and WEYIQTOL (which are not apocopated). (2) THE MODAL GROU: the
short forms of YIQTOL, WAYYIQTOL, and WEYIQTOL.
In all the mentioned languages we see that the short prefix forms are used
both for events with past reference and for modal events. But few scholars
in the 20th century (though there were some in the 19th century) have
grouped past reference and modality together. Rather, quite fanciful
theories have been proposed to explain the problem, such as the claim that
Ugaritic YAQTUL consists of two different forms, one preterit and one
modal, when there is no morphologic evidence for it. My task is to explain
how verbs that often has past reference and forms that are modal can exist
in the same group. In other words, in which sense can it be said that
WAYYIQTOLs are modal.
Three observations may serve as food for thought:
1) Several of the narrative WAYYIQTOLs can be viewed as modal (past modal,
or just modal) in the Germanic sense of the word. When I complete my
statistics I will not be surprised if up to 5 % will turn out to be modal.
2) It is extremely difficult to interpret *all* short and long YIQTOLs in
the Tanach as modal in the Germaic sense, and this suggests that what is
included in the Hebrew *modal* group is somewhat different from what we
combine with modality.
3) If we look at epistemic and deontic modality in different languages, we
find many uses which are unfamiliar for us - even uses which are close to
what we view as indicative. Accadian subjunctive is a good example from a
cognate language. It has hardly anything at all of Germanic modality - its
principal characteristic is that it occurs in dependent clauses.
I have some ideas of how past reference and modality can occur in the same
group in Hebrew, and I will study these.
University of Oslo
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