[b-hebrew] Emerging consensus (and paedogogy) on "Waw Consecutive" PSS
jkilmon at historian.net
Thu Aug 12 16:20:55 EDT 2010
In October of 2003 this subject was up for discussion and consisted of a
thread contributed by Ken Penner, Peter Kirk and Dr. Athas. It may be
useful to check out the archive. I don't think George will mind if I copy
his contribution to that thread below. Of course debate about the waw
consecutive will continue.
George Athas 10-15-2003:
Two things to mention in this debate.
Firstly, the root HYH is often used as a macro-syntactic marker to give
structure to a narrative. It does not necessarily imply continuation, but
is a recognised 'form' (in the technical sense of the word) for delineating
beginning of a unit (or sub-unit) within a narrative.
Secondly, the waw-consecutive form is not so much "continuation" as it is
"narrative momentum". The way I often teach it to students is to use two
Waw Consecutive in Narrative Hebrew Narrative
1. Waw-Consecutive forms are like a green light. When you see them, the
narrative is moving along. When you encounter Perfect forms, you have a red
light; you're meant to stop and look around (usually behind you) and take in
'road conditions' of the narrative; it supplies you with extra info.
2. Verbs are like camera angles and movements in a movie. A Waw-consecutive
means the camera is moving along with the characters; the background is
unimportant. A Perfect form, however, sees the camera stationary, giving you
time to take in some of the background.
Most biblical books begin with a "red light" or a "stationary camera" -- ie,
a waw-consecutive -- allowing you to get your bearings in the narrative.
However, Joshua simply gets off to a flying start. There is no direct
"continuation", though in terms of canonical story, yes it does come after
Torah. However, the waw-consecutive at the start of Joshua is not a
"continuation" of the Torah, but rather a narrative that has momentum right
the start. The vehicle is already moving, so to speak; there is no need to
the engine or even let it idle for a while. We simply hop onto a moving
Lecturer of Biblical Languages
Southern Cross College
San Antonio, TX
From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com>
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2010 9:33 AM
To: "Randall Buth" <randallbuth at gmail.com>
Cc: "Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Emerging consensus (and paedogogy) on "Waw
> Dear Randall:
> On Thu, Aug 12, 2010 at 12:05 AM, Randall Buth
> <randallbuth at gmail.com>wrote:
>> On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 9:23 PM, K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com> wrote:
>> > I have never heard of the term T-A-M before, so can you explain it?
>> It is linguistic notation for "tense-aspect-mood" and often used in
>> comparative discussions where languages have divergent or blurred TAM
>> systems. It recognizes that languages often have forms and categories
>> in the verb system where tense-aspect-mood parameters cannot be easily
>> or neatly separated in the morphology. And it allows for neutral
>> discussion of systems where the parameters may be difficult to define,
>> or may differ with different theoretical assumptions/definitions.
> What follows is my trying to understand what you wrote.
> In other words, this is a tool used in linguistic analysis for comparative
> linguistics, to see how verbal usage in different languages differ, and as
> tool to help with translation? How does this work when we limit the
> discussion internal to Biblical Hebrew itself?
>> > As far as Judges 13:3, the waws indicate a continuation of the
>> > narration,
>> > just as I indicated.
>> So you claim that extra words mean that the narration is continuing.
>> (And by narration you are including the quoted speech, here, which is
>> My responses had assumed more than tautology in your response,
>> especially since one of the common 'explanations' ('first [and second]
>> year lies') is that the T-A-M system of Hebrew is continued by
>> induction with the sequential verb structures. Which is not how Hebrew
>> works. Not only does that 'inducted TAM' not fit the data, as
>> mentioned, but it doesn't explain why Hebrew would have two sequential
>> structures for a single process of induction. The two structures carry
>> different TAM. Perhaps we're agreed on this.
>> In trying to understand your response, I found the following site:
> Tense—I think we agree that Biblical Hebrew verbal morphology does not
> convey tense. At least that’s how I also understand the research mentioned
> that led to Dr. Furuli’s dissertation.
> Aspect—as I understand the above site’s explanation, is a subset of tense,
> hence irrelevant to Biblical Hebrew.
> Mood—?? I don’t understand the above site’s explanation. All I can say for
> certain is that it does not appear to be the same as when I use the term
> How does this relate to the question?
> As I understand the original question, it was on how to explain the
> waw-conversive. My response was that there is enough disagreement among
> scholars and among members of this group that the only thing to say for
> certain is that the waw indicates a continuation. In other words, I made a
> statement that shows the limits to what we as a group agree on.
> Karl W. Randolph.
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