Wayyiqtol - comparative Semitic, morphology, phonology
furuli at online.no
Sun Jul 30 04:44:18 EDT 2000
>>understood the text, and realized that most YIQTOLs with proclitic waw
>>used in past narrative but some were used for the future or were modal, so
>>they choose patah for the first group and shewa for the second. Because
>>Masoretes were not grammarians, we need not think that they, by using
>>and patah as described, intended to create two different semantic groups
>>conjugations. Their differentiation between shewa and patah could just
>>been one of function (pragmatic) and not one of meaning (semantic).
>>However, later grammarians, who were influenced by Mishnaic Hebrew,
>>interpreted the pragmatic differentiation of the Masoretes in a semantic
>>way, and the four conjugations were born.
>rolf, you already know enough to tear the above apart if you want to.
>Just how good a fit do you really think the above 'conspiracy theory' is?
>And it's close to a millenium out of sync.
Perhaps you overrate my knowledge. I am not aware of any data which show
that the Masoretes could not have invented a pragmatic differentiation
between YIQTOLs with proclitic waw. I am sure that other list-members would
appreciate such data as well. So please tear the above apart.
What I do know is that there is no orthographic difference between
WAYYIQTOLs and WEYIQTOLs in unpointed texts. Apocopation is found in both
groups. Further do I know that Origen in the third century CE did not
differentiate between WEYIQTOLs and WAYYIQTOLs. He transscribed both the
WE- and WAYY- prefixes as OU.
The first time the five "groups" YIQTOL, WAYYIQTOL,WEYIQTOL, QATAL, and
WEQATAL are seen in writing, is in the Masoretic text. So it is legitimate
to ask: On which basis did the Masoretes do their pointing? I am in the
process of research, and appreciate all material that can throw light on
Henry has done an excellent research from the point of view of diachronic
phonology, and he used a model based on generative grammar. His conclusions
are plausible, and I do not just reject them. However, he builds on several
assumptions, which can be doubted (as I wrote to him). So my task is to
find out whether there are other ways to interpret the data. Therefore I
ask: Did the Masoretes think in terms of four or five verbal conjugations,
or can their pointing be explained on the basis of pragmatics?
>(ps: 'grammars'/'competency' inside people produce speech/texts [e.g., MT,
>whether in an oral medium or written medium] and writing up a metalanguage
>'grammar' about that (living) 'grammar' is a secondary phenomenon.
> It would be theorectically difficult to maintain that 'four
>conjugations' were not part of the 'MT grammar' according to your
>i.e. according to the theory you outline above, it would be more correct to
>say that the MT created the four conjugations not the later grammarians.
>Those later grammar writers are not creating something if the four
>categories were already part of the text.)
We may speak of four groups of the article 1) the group with patah and
gemination, 2) the group with patah and virtual doubling, and 3) the group
with segol an no gemination, and 4) the group with qamets and no
gemination. I speak of "group" because of different pointing. However,
there is no *semantic* difference between the "groups", because we can
explain the differences on the basis of the phonological rules the
We have not only four groups of finite verbs, but five (Alviero
Niccacci,takes for instance WEYIQTOL as an independent group which is
different from YIQTOL). Just as in the case with the article, I see the
groups, but it is good science to ask: Does a difference in pointing mean a
difference in semantic meaning? Or can the differences in the
prefix-conjugation group and those in the suffix-conjugation group be
explained on the basis of pragmatics?
On which basis do you conclude that there are four semantic groups (four
different conjugations)? If your basis is function, in which sense do the
three prefix-groups and the two suffix-groups differ in function? If your
basis is tense, does each of the four groups represent one particular
tense? If your basis is aspect, does each group represent one particular
aspect? If your basis is just the difference in pointing,why don't you
conclude there are five conjugations?
I ask these rather banal questions because so many people just take for
granted that there are four different conjugations without making a study
of the basis of the view.
University of Oslo
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