Verbs in Ps 18 ans 2 Sam 22

Paul Zellmer zellmer at cag.pworld.net.ph
Fri Sep 4 19:44:54 EDT 1998


Bryan Rocine wrote:

> I am suggesting there is no difference in the verbal meaning of yiqtol vs.
> wayyiqtol in the two poems.  Neither is there a difference in the notion of
> consecutivity in these poems when the yiqtol is used vs. the wayyiqtol.

So, if I am understanding you right, the use or omission of the vav here is
poetic license, right?  Or are you making a case for the yiqtol having the same
effect as the wayyiqtol in narratives?  Please forgive me if my question is too
basic.  I have studied discourse analysis in general, but I really am still
introducing myself to the work done in the Hebrew language specifically.


> There is a difference in the *representation* of the consecutivity only.
> Compare the English examples:
>
> a.)  I awoke. I washed. I went to school.
> b.)  I awoke.  Then I washed.  Then I went to school.
>
> The difference is surface only or representation only.  In both cases the
> events are single, bounded, consecutive events in the past.  Example b.),
> by using the word _then_, makes explicit the consecutivity of the events
> which is left implicit in example a.).   The writer of b.) has exercised an
> option that the writer of a.) chooses not to exercise.
>

If a.) had used commas instead of periods, I would agree with your
equivalency.  English (my dialect, anyway) uses a pause preceded by a medial
high intonation as the equivalent of a coodinating conjunction.  However, the
same pause preceded by a low intonation (a period) in the example would give a
greater impression of "jabs," for lack of a better image.  As I read your a.),
which is presented as prose, I would expect us to be in some sort of peak.

> The concept of option is critical to discourse analysis, more important in
> some ways than rules.  Only when the
> speaker/writer has options does his choice become discourse-meaningful.
> When there is no choice for the speaker/writer, when the morphology or
> syntax is obligatory, then there is no rhetorical or poetic value to it.
> That "option" exists for the native speaker of a language is not to suggest
> that exercise of the options is un-constrained.  Linguistic conventions
> shared by the speaker/writer and his audience put pressure on the
> speaker/writer  not to stray too far from stock constructions.  The bigger
> the unit we analyze(eg. from small to large we have morpheme, word, phrase,
> clause, sentence, paragrapgh, discourse), the more optional behavior we
> will see.  So the
> activity called discourse analysis includes a quest for three things:
> 1.   the battery of options that a speaker/writer has
> 2.   the function(or meaning) of each option.
> 3.   the convention which contrains the exercise of the options.
>

But once again, Bryan, if discourse analysis is to have any real value, the
exercise of the "options" or variations must generally result from a deliberate
decision of the speaker/writer on the effect of that portion of the discourse.
There are, of course, stylistic variations between individuals and even between
works of differing purposes for a single writer (personal writing vs. formal
papers, for example).  But predictability based on the forms observed is
required for the analysis to have any benefit.

> Back to the English examples above.  "Previous" research on English on the
> three issues above is applied as follows:
> 1.   The use of the word _then_ is an option for expressing consecutivity
> of events.
> 2.   Use of the word _then_ emphasizes the consecutivity of the events.
> 3.   Conventionally, _then_ is used repeatedly in English, particularly in
> a series of short, declarative sentences, primarily by kids.
>
> If b.) is said by an adult we might imagine a context where flaunting
> convention is rhetorically purposeful.  Perhaps his credibility is in
> question.  So he exercises the _then_ option, even though a bit
> unconventional, to stress that his memory of the morning in question is
> crystal clear.
>

Again, I would agree with your analysis *if* a.) assumes "comma-like"
intonation.  If it is as is written, I actually would find b.) more
rhetorically "unmarked."  Maybe that's because I see children's speech as being
more likely to lack rhetorical devices.

> Hopefully, you will find my Readings 3 and 5 instructive on the matter of
> options in BH.
>

The class hasn't gotten there yet, so all I have given them is a cursory
overview.  I'll go back and look closer, but it will probably be next week.

> Hoping to help,
> Bryan
>

And you are.

Paul
--
Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
Ibanag Translation Project
Cabagan, Philippines

zellmer at faith.edu.ph






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