The form of weqatal (really wayyiqtol)

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Fri Aug 13 16:25:42 EDT 1999

Material related to the two-prefix-conjugation hypothesis has been 
posted in response to Peter, so I won't repeat it here, and have 
snipped that part of Henry's post for the sake of bandwidth.  I do 
want to respond to this:

> > In brief, I do not consider the WAW prefix to be a conjunction, and
> > hence I don't consider it to have any "conversive" force in the
> > traditional sense that the term has been used.  Rather, I consider
> > it to be an inflectional morpheme that is actually part of the
> > Hebrew verb system itself, and it is this inflectional morpheme that
> > carries the sense of syntactic break.  The fact that it resembles
> > the conjunction in its surface form does not make it a conjunction
> > any more than the fact that HE- interrogative resembles the definite
> > article means it has to be a form of the definite article (an
> > analogy I've presented many times here).  We have such homonyms all
> > over Hebrew, yet when we get to the WAW prefix we seem to have a
> > blind spot.
> I don't know if it has "conversive force", but it certainly seems to
> have "conjunctive force" -- or why don't we see w at wayyiqtol or
> uwayyiqtol (whichever form the conjunction w at - would take on when
> attaching to a word already beginning with w-, something which doesn't
> occur in the Bible)?  

My approach predicts that this would be the case, because 
conjunction/coordination would suggest a syntactic connection.  If, 
as I submit, the wayyiqtol indicates a syntactic break, it wouldn't 
be expected to take a conjunction.  To say that the prefix must 
have conjunctive force because it doesn't take a conjunction is a 
non-sequitur.  A syntactic break is the antithesis of conjunctive 

Also, if the waC- prefix of the wayyiqtol has no
> relationship with the conjunction, then why did this waC- escape the
> phonological change of word-initial w- to y- which basically affected
> every word in the Hebrew language except the conjunction w at -?

I'm not sure what you mean here.  Please develop this thought, 
maybe with an example or two?

> > 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.
> The prefixation of waC- certainly serves to _preserve_ the
> distinctness of two conjugations, but the phonological evidence shows
> that such prefixation didn't create the difference between the two,

Obviously I disagree, and I really don't think the evidence requires 
the early two conjugations.  Amarna Canaanite, written in Akkadian 
syllabic cuneiform, isn't enough to justify this kind of leap IMO.

> but rather is a device for maintaining the distinction after an
> original 2nd. millennium B.C. contrast between *yaqtulu and *yaqtul
> was somewhat eroded by later sound changes.

See the material I posted in response to Peter.  This is only one 
way of looking at the phonological evidence; there are others that 
are just as plausible, and I believe, offer a better account of all the 
Hebrew data.

Dave Washburn
"Oh, no!  They've all become giant Swiss lederhosen-clad
dancing yodelers!"  "Talk about unpredictable!" - P&B

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