The form of weqatal

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Thu Aug 12 12:53:36 EDT 1999

Peter wrote:
> An interesting suggestion, but you have still failed to get an 
> important point. You have put together, as if they have something in 
> common, the two lines:
> X+YIQTOL - syntactic connection, irrealis mode (modal) 
> WAYYIQTOL - no syntactic connection, realis mode (indicative)

I'm not sure how I suggested that these have something in 
common, but I certainly didn't intend to.  As you hopefully know by 
now, I don't consider the WAY prefix to be a separate word along 
the lines of X+YIQTOL, I consider it an inflection of the verb itself.  
Thus there is a fundamental difference between X+YIQTOL and 
WAYYIQTOL; they are two different inflections/conjugations.

> But in fact these two lines have NOTHING in common, except for their 
> superficial form in the Masoretic text. Not only do they differ in 
> word order and in both of the distinguishing factors which Dave 
> mentions (and in others which he doesn't mention such as aspect and 
> the discourse types they are used in); but also, as Henry has so 
> clearly demonstrated, they are derived from different verb 
> conjugations in early Hebrew which have partly (but only partly) 
> fallen together in the Masoretic pronunciation.

IMO Henry didn't "demonstrate" anything, he merely stated the 
usual two-prefix-conjugation hypothesis.  I have categorically 
rejected that hypothesis in print, and have shown that a 
transformational approach which sees the WAY prefix as a 
morpheme instead of a conjunction provides a much more 
complete and unified explanation of the differences between 
YIQTOL and WAYYIQTOL.  I do not believe they originated in two 
conjugations that "have partly (but only partly) fallen together in the 
Masoretic pronunciation".  My approach (see my article) not only 
accounts for the short/long forms, it also accounts for the "pseudo-
cohortative" form of the first person Waltke & O'Connor's term for 
it), which is something the two-prefix-conjugation hypothesis hasn't 
been able to do.  The only "evidence" for two early prefix 
conjugations comes from Akkadian, which may or may not be 
applicable to Hebrew.  If any of the other semitic languages such 
as Phonecian or Ugaritic display such a pattern, I haven't heard 
about it (and am willing to be corrected on this point, let me add).

Dave Washburn
A Bible that's falling apart means a life that isn't.

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