wayyiqtol (evaluating thesis)

Henry Churchyard churchyh at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu
Mon Aug 16 21:35:48 EDT 1999

> Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 10:17:21 -0400
> From: "Rodney K. Duke" <dukerk at appstate.edu>
> Subject: evaluating Churchyard's thesis

> I have appreciated the posts by Henry Churchyard and am looking for
> some help in evaluating his work.  Does your (Churchyard's)
> phonological explanation for wayyiqtol having a diachronic
> connection to an earlier, long prefix form presuppose, or
> convincingly explain, just what has been prefixed to the yiqtol to
> yield wayyiqtol?  What is this prefix?  Is it the same conjunction
> as the "waw" in weqatal?  (If so, then why are there two forms?)  If
> it is a different conjunction, what is it (e.g. Egyptian "wan," a
> parallel to an Arabic conjunction, etc.) and why don't we get two
> forms of qatal being formed with these two conjunctions?

Actually, the exact etymology and morphological history of the waC-
prefix isn't really that important for the task that I have undertaken
in chapt. 4 of my dissertation, and I don't particularly have any new
bright new ideas in this area.  The more or less default hypothesis
remains what it has been for a hundred years or more, that the waC-
prefix of the wayyiqtol conjugation is a compound of wa-, the earlier
phonological forn of the conjunction, followed by a consonant which
assimilates to the following consonant of person/number prefixes.
Various people have sought to extend this theory by speculating as to
the exact identity and origin of the consonant in waC-, or have
rejected the connection with the wa- conjunction altogether and
provided a completely different etymology -- but I can't say that any
of these suggestions has been generally accepted as overwhelmingly

I'm concerned with something completely different, which is how the
phonological shape of wayyiqtol stems _following_ the waC- suffix
(often different from the shapes of corresponding plain yiqtol stem)
correlates with verbal stem shapes in the 2nd. Millennium B.C., before
the phonological change of word-final short vowel loss.  I didn't
actually know that the "single-conjugation-origin" hypothesis was much
of an issue when I wrote the dissertation chapter, so that the chapter
is not arranged in a way that leads up to the reconstruction of
different 2nd. Millennium B.C. stem shapes on the basis of Tiberian
Biblical Hebrew phonology (in fact, the chapter is arranged in the
opposite order, tracing the evolution from the 2nd. millennium B.C. to
Tiberian Hebrew) -- but the historical phonology is tightly integrated
in such a way that it's obvious that it would be very difficult to
explain Tiberian phonology (particularly the consecutive imperfect
stress shift) without reconstructing the 2nd. millennium B.C.
stem-shape of wayyiqtol as consonant-final *yaqtul, while the 2nd.
millennium B.C. stem-shape of yiqtol is vowel-final (*yaqtulu).

Henry Churchyard   churchyh at ccwf.cc.utexas.edu   http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/

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