The form of weqatal

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Fri Aug 13 11:13:19 EDT 1999

I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear: I was responding here not to 
Dave's original listing of four conjugations but to Rodney's 
rearrangement of this listing which showed X+YIQTOL and WAYYIQTOL as a 

I think that Henry clearly demonstrated (from evidence within Hebrew 
only, not from comparison with other languages) that there are two 
originally separate YIQTOL conjugations, one conjugation with longer 
forms and one, the jussive, with shorter forms. The essence of his 
demonstration was that in the Hiphil and in hollow verbs the vowel in 
the short form cannot be derived from phonological shortening of the 
vowel in the long form. If you have a clear counter-argument to this 
phonological one, I would be interested to see it - preferably on this 
list as I do not have immediate access to your article.

Now I accept that if the WAY- in WAYYIQTOL is not a form of the 
conjunction (which is possible but not proved), then there is 
something more going on here, i.e. WAYYIQTOL is not the conjunction 
plus the shorter WAYYIQTOL. I think Henry's argument would also show 
that WAYYIQTOL cannot be derived from any prefix added to the LONG 
form of YIQTOL. Thus, a fortiori, there is an even greater difference 
between X+YIQTOL (long form) and WAYYIQTOL.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[8]: The form of weqatal
Author:  dwashbur at at internet
Date:    12/08/1999 11:53

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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