[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Digest, Vol 104, Issue 7
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Aug 17 16:44:38 EDT 2011
Thanks again. Only one slight problem, or is it not so slight, I don’t have
access to most of the books and journals to which you make reference.
However, the definitions of tense and aspect that I was taught in first year
Hebrew are almost identical to those explained on the SIL website and its
survey of grammar. It was those definitions that I tried to apply to the
reading of Tanakh, and it was those definitions that I noticed that failed
to match the patterns I observed while reading Tanakh multiple times. That
is why I now say that the conjugations code for neither tense nor aspect.
And the moods they code for are moods I have found in no other language,
which is why I am still somewhat fuzzy on how to explain them.
I did not keep a running record of all the times the grammar I was taught
did not fit the text, after all, I read for myself, not as part of a
scholarly study. I never expected to end up at this level of scholarship. I
was reading for understanding the text, an act of worship, not for language
Thanks for your answers, they have given me some clues.
Karl W. Randolph.
On Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 11:31 AM, Nir cohen - Prof. Mat.
<nir at ccet.ufrn.br>wrote:
> i am not a professional linguist, so pls take my opinion with a grain of
> i got interested in the BH tensing more than half a year
> ago after b-hebrew discussions involving, initially, a question of fred
> burlingam and
> eventually discussions involving other members such as buth, luyt, furuli,
> fried etc. initially
> i made some naive remarks on the subject, which had a grain of truth, and i
> pretend to report
> to b-hebrew on some less naive interesting findings in the near future.
> there is much debate on whether BH is tense or aspect prominent, with
> supporters on both sides. the truth is that both are correct and incorrect
> at the same time.
> however, after exilic times BH tensing changed drastically, by losing the
> two prefix forms
> weqatal and wayiqtol, and became tense based. then it became just like
> aramaic. probably
> this was preceded by aramaic pressure during many centuries of war and
> coexistence. maybe hebrew
> spoken dialect was already converging towards aramaic tensing in pre-exilic
> times, but this was never
> verified. whether they really stopped speaking hebrew, well, this was
> heatedly debated on b-hebrew
> (about half a year ago?). **although hebrew syntax converged to aramaic
> syntax, word borrowing from
> aramaic to hebrew is only modest and hebrew essentially maintained its
> lexicon, etymology and
> ways of expression.
> *canaanite/phoenician tensing is somewhat different, and is much based on
> aspect, though little compatible
> with BH tensing. there is one site on youtube which teaches canaanite verb
> grammar. apparently
> in an effort to revive the language, mainly in lebanon.
> **here is some relevant reading on BH tensing if you are interested:
> **pj gentry. the system of the finite verbs in classical BH. hebrew
> studies journal 1998. an excellent survey.
> *bk waltke-m o'connor have an excellent book on hebrew syntax which
> contains a lot of insight and examples
> on the correct interpretation of verb forms. an introd to BH syntax.
> eisenbrauns 1990.
> **j joosten, do the finite verbal forms in BH express aspect? janes
> 29:49-70 2002 (the question is rhetoric!)
> ja cook, the finite verb form in BH do express aspect. janes 30, 21-35.
> those who put the problem in this way use the most primitive definitions of
> tense and aspect as basis
> for discussion, and obtain the most bizarre answers, since each language
> creates its own definitions for
> tense and, especially, aspect. some researchers like furuli, rainey, buth,
> shulman,niccacci, revell use
> more sophisticated definitions for aspect, or consider other factors (mood,
> syntax, discourse) and then
> tend to reject both hypotheses.
> one source for the "primitive theory" of tense and aspect in typology is:
> **jl bybee, o dahl, the creation of tense and aspect in the languages of
> the world. studies in language 13:83-?? 1989
> *a conjectured synchronic explanation for the prefix forms in BH within
> the NW semitic block can be found in:
> j huehnergard, early hebrew prefix-conjugations (i have no further
> details), but also see:
> ms smith, the origin and devel'pt of the waw-consecutive. harvard semitic
> studies 39 atlanta scholars press 1991.
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