The form of weqatal

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Aug 7 12:57:31 EDT 1999


Peter wrote:
> Yes, you've got my point! I am beginning to think that QATAL 
> corresponds pretty well to the perfect aspect in English etc, i.e. to 
> any one of present perfect, past perfect and future perfect depending 
> on the reference time in the context. 

It's possible.  My own working hypothesis, built on my work on the 
wayyiqtol, is that there are some basic oppositions in effect in the 
4 conjugations, based on a combination of syntactic connection 
and mode:

WAYYIQTOL - no syntactic connection, realis mode (indicative)
QATAL - syntactic connection, realis mode (indicative)
WEQATAL - no syntactic connection, irrealis mode (modal)
YIQTOL - syntactic connection, irrealis mode (modal)

I'm defining "modal" as Galia Hatav defines it, which includes 
future, subjunctive, volition, etc.  The place of imperative, jussive 
and cohortative in this pattern I haven't looked into yet.

I have just been working on 
> Psalm 119 and find that the verb forms in it fit very well with this 
> idea, even in this poetic text for which the normal rules of verb 
> forms are not supposed to apply - if one understands the QATAL of 
> roots like )HB to mean "have fallen in love" and so with a stative 
> meaning "love". (Incidentally the roots $MR and NCR seem to work in 
> this way too, and so need to be understood something like "have 
> committed oneself to keeping", which fortunately works nicely in the 
> target language I am working with). I suspect that in this way we can 
> explain the otherwise strange idea of QATAL with future meaning. (I am 
> not talking now about WEQATAL).

I'm deliberately avoiding poetic texts until I get some solid footing 
established with prose, but I wonder: how much of the force you 
describe might be built into the verb form, and how much might be 
built into the meaning of the verb itself?  There I go with the 
syntax/semantics thing again...


Dave Washburn
http://www.nyx.net/~dwashbur
A Bible that's falling apart means a life that isn't.



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