[b-hebrew] BH verbal system
jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Mon Feb 1 05:03:09 EST 2010
so let's take a look at the 'present tense'.
(1) He knows Sally
(2) John works at the factory
This expresses both past, present and future.
(3) And so after he went into the bar he goes up to the barman and orders a
These express actions in the past.
(4) And so when you come to me you can check.
This expresses something that will happen in the future
Conclusion. No fixed tense is grammaticalised and uncancellable to the
'present simple' verb form. Are we to conclude that these are homonyms as
well David? How many examples will it take to show that tense is not
uncancellable to any verb form in English you could possibly chose? Calling
them homonyms doesn't disqualify these verb forms from having cancellable
tense. It just bolsters the case.
If we were to find and demonstrate that QATAL verb forms have several
different uses and that both tense and aspect are cancellable to the verb
form what would it bring of benefit to the analysis to analyse the different
uses as homonyms? Clearly, absolutely none. We are still left with the same
fundamental problems regardless of the analysis. That is to say 'What
signals can we use to determine the contextual function and therefore how
best to translate?'.
2010/2/1 <dwashbur at nyx.net>
> On 31 Jan 2010 at 20:51, James Christian wrote:
> > Apologies. I (as always) typed the response quickly and didn't check
> > for spelling mistakes and
> > missing words. The first sentence should read: I think the problem
> > here is that you are not
> > imagining English as a dead language with no informants.
> > Reading it with the 'not' should make more sense. What I would like
> > you to do is to imagine
> > English is a dead language and analyse the forms as they would
> > appear in a typical corpus.
> I see no good reason to do so. For one thing, English is an amalgam that
> has undergone
> massive changes in grammar, vocabulary, written representation, and just
> about anything
> else you can name over the centuries, mostly due to influence from other
> languages and
> import/export with other cultures and linguistic groups. The only way to
> fully understand
> English grammar, especially as regards forms of the type we're discussing,
> is diachronically.
> An example: I was reading a book on some aspect or other of linguistics
> several years ago
> in which the author was discussing "-berry" words. Blueberry, blackberry,
> that sort of thing.
> S/he was at a loss to explain the "straw" portion of "strawberry."
> Apparently, this author had
> no idea that "strawberry" is a phonetic corruption of an original
> "strayberry," so named
> because of the way the vines wander all over the place. Lack of diachronic
> frequently leads to erroneous conclusions.
> > is essentially what we are doing with Hebrew.
> "Essentially"? It's exactly what we're doing, because that is the actual
> situation with
> Hebrew. But it's not a particularly desirable situation. We're stuck with
> it, that's all.
> When doing this with
> > English we see that the
> > neither tense nor aspect is grammaticalised in the form.
> We see nothing of the kind. Staying with your examples, the present-tense
> form "go" in its
> non-infinitive use clearly grammaticalizes tense. And actually, speaking
> diachronically, the
> past form "went" stems from "wend," not from "go." The past tense of "go"
> vanished and
> was taken over by that of "wend." So we have to take that into account, as
> In fact, in
> > order to analyse any useful
> > grammaticalisations you have to call the most distinct functions of
> > the form homonyms for that
> > grammaticalisation to work.
> Hardly. Once again, check it out diachronically and you'll see there's a
> solid basis for my
> conclusion about homonymous forms. The situation is much more difficult
> with Hebrew
> because we don't have the massive linguistic change over a firmly datable
> corpus the way
> we have for English.
> This is interesting from the point of
> > view of a pyscholinguist. When
> > the two functions differ in tense you view the functions as so
> > different you are prepared to
> > analyse them as homonyms. When the functions differ only in aspect
> > you don't go to that length.
> > Could this indicate that tense is more important to us
> > psycholinguistically speaking than aspect?
> I have no idea what psycholinguistics has to do with it. English is a
> tensed language, it's
> that simple. Aspect is most generally denoted by presence (or absence) of
> auxiliary verbs:
> "He went" vs. "He was going," for example. And these examples show that we
> do have
> tense encoded, because neither of those clauses can be used grammatically
> as a present
> or future.
> You have not made your case. In fact, your examples actually do harm to
> Dave Washburn
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> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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