The form of weqatal (really wayyiqtol)

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Mon Aug 16 21:48:11 EDT 1999


If you (like me) are not a phonologist, you cannot simply ignore the 
results of phonological analysis, which seem to show that your 
explanation of wayyiqtol does not work, however many other 
non-phonologists may support you. In your latest posting you wrote, 
"nothing in my syntactic approach rises or falls on the phonological 
part". Unfortunately this is not true. If Henry's results mean what 
they appear to, your approach falls because its underlying phonological 
foundation falls.

Suppose you had some proposal for some new mechanical invention. You 
can demonstrate a small-scale prototype, and you can even find a major 
potential customer who says that your invention has "the potential to 
revolutionize life as we know it". But then a physicist tells you that 
he can prove that your invention can never work at full scale because 
it violates a fundamental law of physics. What do you do, if you are 
not a physicist yourself? I think you would be well advised to at 
least check out what the one physicist says with other experts in the 
field before investing in large scale manufacture.

So I suggest that you check out with other phonologists whether 
Henry's objections are really as fatal as they appear to be to your 
theory, rather than rely on good recommendations from other 

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: The form of weqatal (really wayyiqtol)
Author:  dwashbur at at internet 
Date:    16/08/1999 01:11

We have been over this many, many, many times over a stretch of
at least 2 years.  I have presented my view both online and in print, 
and apparently the editors of such journals as Hebrew Studies
thought it had enough merit to publish.  When I presented it to the 
SBL a few years ago, one major scholar among the listeners said
the view had "the potential to revolutionize study of Hebrew 
grammar," and that's a direct quote (I taped the session).  As I said 
before, you're free to harangue all you want, but if all you want to 
do is whine and make fun, don't expect me to take you seriously.
My position and the material that supports it is well documented, 
as a simple trip through the archives (and the journals) would have
told you.  I won't try to interact with this kind of drivel.  If you have 
something constructive to say, let's hear it.  Otherwise, I suggest
you find something else to do.

> Dave wrote:
> > <snip>
> > >
> > > Dave, you're asking us to believe that wayyiqtol is a verb form that (1) 
> > > NEVER takes the conjunction, though all other verb forms do; (2) NEVER
> > > is preceded by things that precede other verbs like KIY, 'ASHER, LO', 
> > > etc. etc.
> >
> > I see nothing extraordinary about (2), since it's well known that 
> > wayyiqtol in fact isn't preceded by any of these particles.
> It's not extraordinary if the WA- of wayyiqtol is the familiar conjunction, bu
it is
> extremely extraordinary, odd, and unbelievable if it's not.  How do you explai
> wayyiqtol is a finite verb form that is never in the whole Hebrew Bible 
> Why doesn't Gen 1:5 read
> wayyiqra' Elohim la'or yom, welaxoshek wayyiqra laylah 
> Similar question for thousands of other examples! 
> You're serious about this?
> John
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Dave Washburn
"Oh, no!  They've all become giant Swiss lederhosen-clad 
dancing yodelers!"  "Talk about unpredictable!" - P&B

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