[b-hebrew] On the history of Hebrew YIQTOL and the Hebrew verb
kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Feb 5 18:51:48 EST 2011
On Sat, Feb 5, 2011 at 1:33 PM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com> wrote:
> > If everything explains the grammaticalizations, then nothing explains
> This comment doesn't seem to grasp either the restraint of
> the number of "slices-of-pie" in describing verb-system parameters
> or Cognitive Linguistics.
According to http://www.cognitivelinguistics.org/cl.shtml , “One of the
important assumptions shared by all of these scholars is that meaning is so
central to language that it must be a primary focus of study. Linguistic
structures serve the function of expressing meanings and hence the mappings
between meaning and form are a prime subject of linguistic analysis.”
Years ago, when I studied Biblical Hebrew, the professor, who had studied at
Brandais, first taught that the qatal and yiqtol grammaticalized for tense.
But even a casual reading of the text rules that out. Well before the year
was out, he introduced us to a second option, that the conjugations
grammaticalize for aspect, and made sure that we understood several
different patterns of aspect. Before I read Tanakh through five times, it
was clear that none of those definitions of aspect, nor even combinations of
them, explained the conjugations. So from then, until recently, I read for
meaning and let the conjugations do what they want. In other words, both
tense and aspect are “first year lies” that I had to reject in order to get
a better handle on the meaning.
Certain considerations of mood seem to map onto the conjugations, but ever
there, it seems that they are derivative, not primary, meanings imparted by
I still read for meaning first, but because of discussions on this list, I
am now taking a closer look at the conjugations as well. And what I am
finding is that the Biblical Hebrew conjugations are foreign to TAM. Certain
aspects of TAM are derivative from the conjugations and can be used in
translation, but that the basic principles are found outside of TAM.
> >>* … in a similar way that particle or wave interpretations of light
> *>>* fail by themselves. Light can be a particle ‘when it needs to be’ and
> *>>* can be
> *>>* a wave ‘when it needs to be’. In fact, it is
> *>>* both.
> *>>* (Physicists are still sorting that out, though String Theory went a
> step in
> *>>* that
> *>>* direction.)
> > This is typical philosophers’ misunderstandings of physics. My
> > who was a physics professor, and other scientists told me that all of
> > is mere mathematical modeling. They don’t tell what is the nature of
> > rather how light acts in certain circumstances. The nature of light is
> > unknown.
> Since you said this before, and since my comment was not a
> I will bother to respond:
I did not know it was your comment, I thought it was someone else’s. Would I
have answered differently if I had known it was your statement? I don’t
> the particle/wave comment is an analogy and not a physics lesson about
> ultimate reality. I am very much aware of the mathematical nature of
> descriptions of electromagnetic radiation and the uncertainty principle.
Do you mean the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle? If so, that’s like using a
microscope to take a picture of a bullet popping a balloon.
> But I wouldn't call physics "mere" mathematical modeling. It is a profound
Go back and reread my message, did I say what you imply above?
> The math is what generates and controls the "simultaneously/potentially"
> comment. I don't see that you tried to
> interpret the statements by their intent or context, but apparently, just
> wanted to say something negative about the particle/wave analogy. Thank
After being taught by physicists that such statements are wrong and why they
are wrong, it just bugs me to see them repeated ad nauseam.
The reason I brought it up is that even as an analogy, it fails to explain
the situation we see when we analyze the conjugations of Hebrew verbs.
> >>* … The Hebrew yiqtol conjugation can be a Tense and an Aspect and a
> *>>* Mood as the situation demands.
> > In other words, the contexts and not the grammaticalizations define which
> > the TAM+sequential we understand for each usage.
> This hasn't quite grasped it.
> The contexts AND the 'grammaticalizations' define the usage.
When the yiqtol can be used for point time and extended time, completed
action and incomplete action, past tense, present tense, future tense, or
any combination of aspect and tense, then it encodes for none of them. The
qatal can also encode for all of these. Context gives us the clues to use to
translate into languages that use tense and aspect, not the verbal
conjugations. The conjugations in and of themselves give us few clues as to
meanings when analyzed through TAM.
> > Therefore,
> The grammaticalizations are a quantumization of the
> TAM of the contextual/semantic space.
> irrelevant for Biblical Hebrew.
Since TAM does not give an answer as to the meanings of the conjugations,
the question becomes, what meaning is imparted by Biblical Hebrew
> Randall Buth, PhD
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
> Karl W. Randolph.
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