Genesis 1 & 2

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Sun Dec 5 16:21:11 EST 1999

Jonathan wrote:
> >*shudder* I hope I haven't actually said such a thing, and if I 
> >seemed to it certainly wasn't my intention and I apologize at once.  
> >I know that views of consecution have been developed after careful 
> >study; I just don't happen to agree with them :-)  To Jonathan, I 
> >should explain that my approach seeks unifying factors in 
> >grammatical usage, some sort of "thread" that ties apparently 
> >disparate uses of a form together.  There are innumerable 
> >examples of wayyiqtols that can't be consecutive, so I ask what 
> >the tie is that binds consecutive and non-consecutive uses 
> >together.  I also work from a strict separation of syntax and 
> >semantics a la Chomsky.  My view is a minority one, I am well 
> >aware.  But from some chatter I've read here and there as well as 
> >some private messages I've received now and again, a view other 
> >than consecutivity seems to be gaining some steam.  Perhaps in 
> >another hundred years or so...And again, if I have implicitly or 
> >explicitly suggested that somebody here does any "blind following" 
> >of a view, I apologize.  
> I think the common thread that you are looking for is the fact that children learn their 
> language by imitation, rather than reading grammar books, and therefore, our rules 
> don't always apply. For instance, take the English phrase, "that's him". According to 
> English grammar, the phrase should be "that's he" as "him" is an objective, 
> accusative or prepositional case. But somehwere during the course of the language's 
> history, people got used to seeing he precede the verb and him follow it. With Hebrew, 
> the vayyiqtol became the standard method of relating narrative past, and so it 
> assumed this function (in some instances) even when unbound to a previous past 
> indicating verb.

I'm afraid this is not a legitimate parallel, for the simple reason that 
"That's him" is still reasonably comprehensible.  This could hardly 
be the case with a sequential verb: "And then I saw that it was a 
penguin" coming out of the blue at the beginning of a discourse 
could hardly catch on as a reasonable alternative form of 
expression.  Either the verb form was marked for sequentiality or it 
wasn't and there are other reasons why it was used for narrative 

> Now what I would be interested in finding is a vayyiqtol that is talking about the 
> FUTURE, particularly without being bound to a previous future describing verb. Can 
> you give me a list of unconsecutive vayyiqtols that are NOT describing narrative past?

For that I'd suggest you check the archives.  Some topics along 
these lines have come up within the past few months.  

Dave Washburn
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.
                                   Psalm 86:11

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