[b-hebrew] no to aspect

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Feb 3 15:34:08 EST 2011


I really don't see here a "'problem" that calls for an explanation.
1. act +pp and pp+act are merely two possible ways (since we cannot  
put pp on top, nor at the bottom of act) to relate an actor to the  
act. You may say "I-eat banana", or "eat-I banana". They are both  
good, yet still with no hint in either about time.
2. Hebrew creates tense by decreeing that "eat-I banana" should  
indicate that the banana is already eaten, but that "I-eat banana"  
should indicate that the banana is on the verge of being eaten, but  
is, nevertheless, still on the outside.
3. And what if I say "eat-I banana tomorrow", or "I-eat banana  
yesterday"? Then, the teacher will wag his finger at me and say that  
I speak bad Hebrew. I will defend myself by saying that I have taken  
poetic license to use aspect instead of tense, and that anyway I am  
perfectly well understood.
4. Hebrew works very fine without VA-.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Feb 3, 2011, at 1:05 PM, fred burlingame wrote:

> Hello Isaac:
>
> Your opinions imply a simple explanation to the problem:
>
> 1. verb + pp = past tense;
>
> 2. pp + verb = future tense;
>
> 3. vav prefix reverses "1" and "2;"
>
> 4. context can, and frequently does, change "1" - "3."
>
> So, when reading the text, follow 1-4 for understanding of tense  
> expressed by verb usage.
>
> regards,
>
> fred burlingame
>
> On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 10:13 AM, Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu> wrote:
> I see what you are saying, and mostly agree with it, except that I  
> prefer to look at it somewhat differently. For example, YI-CMAX, in  
> Gen. 2:5, consists of the verb CAMAX, of the root CMX, 'grow', plus  
> the pre-attached personal pronoun (pp), a.k.a identity marker, YI  
> (which I consider a truncated HIY, 'she') and standing here for  
> ESEB HASADEH, 'the grass of the field'.
> It appears that the ancient Hebrews came early on to an agreement  
> to the effect that pp+act will indicate future action, but act+pp  
> will indicate past action (otherwise, Hebrew has no time markers).  
> But it needs not always be so. Thus, YI-CMAX is, on the face of it,  
> just 'he-grow', no more and no less. Conventionally this form is  
> intended to indicate future action, but we know by the time frame  
> of the narrative, by the laws of nature, and also by the preceding  
> word TEREM, that reference is here to the past.
> It appears to me that also YI-CMAX of Job 5:6 is but a statement of  
> fact. Yet, the A-CMIAX of Ez. 29:21 is certainly a future promise.
> I have the feeling that YA-AL-EH of Gen. 2:6 is "repetitive".
>
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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