The "times" of Isaiah

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Thu Aug 26 09:23:08 EDT 1999

Dear Rolf,

Thank you for your clarification. I had not realised that you were 
distinguishing between "meaning" and "semantic meaning", which I had 
assumed to be synonymous. I accept that the YIQTOL of )MR is used 
mainly in contexts where RT is after C, and perhaps that the QATAL is 
used where RT is before C (though they may coincide in some cases). 
But I don't think this takes us very far in describing the semantic 
meanings of these different forms, which was, I thought, the goal of 
this discussion. I fear we have been wasting our bytes. But sometimes 
hot air clears the air, and it is good if we are understanding one 
another better than before.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[3]: The "times" of Isaiah
Author:  furuli at at internet
Date:    25/08/1999 00:48

Dear Peter,

Our disagreement may be a matter of terminology.  I have on this list 
differentiated between "semantic meaning" ( which signify that the property 
we ascribe to the form is uncancellable, e.g. the semantic meaning of "went" 
is past tense) and "conversational pragmatic implicature" (which signify 
that the property we ascribe to a particular verb is dependent on the 
context, e.g. an English present participle). The epithet "semantic" shows 
that I do not use "meaning" *alone* as signifying uncancellable properties.

When it comes to the "time" of a verb, I use the term "tense" when the 
particular form *only* signifies an event either before or after the deictic 
point; i.e. the temporal meaning is connected with the form and not with the 
context. I use "past meaning", "present meaning", and "future meaning" when 
I simply say that the RT of a particular verb in this particular context 
comes before or after or coincides with C, without implying whether this is 
connected with the form or with the context.

I therefore agree that the YIQTOLs of )MR are tenseless, and add that this 
is the case with all other Hebrew verbs as well.


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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