What ARE the clues for sequence in BH?

Henry Churchyard churchh at usa.net
Fri Dec 17 19:44:43 EST 1999


> Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 07:47:24 -0800
> From: "Matthew Anstey" <manstey at portal.ca>
> Subject: Re: Prototype Theory and Hebrew Tense/Aspect

>> But the wayyiqtol form apparently contains the conjunction (wa-/w at -
>> "and, but") as part of its morphology.  That is, despite various
>> doubts and alternative hypotheses that have been raised over the
>> past century and more, the most likely historical origin of the
>> Biblical Hebrew wayyiqtol is still conjunction wa- + assimilating
>> consonant + yaqtul preterite tense.  (This pretty much remains the
>> default theory -- despite certain long-standing unanswered question
>> connected with it -- so that someone proposing a different account
>> of the historical origins of the Hebrew wayyiqtol would have to
>> support it with highly specific evidence to gain very widespread
>> acceptance.)  I don't know offhand of any other languages in which
>> a conjunction has been incorporated as part of verb morphology, but
>> I seem to remember that in Old Irish a relative clause particle was
>> incorporated as part of verb morphology.

> Historically this is uncontroversial, but as W&O point out, in
> actual BH they probably merged by 1100 BCE.  So do you think users
> of BH would not have realised this, and they thought of the waw as
> acting on the yiqtol form?  Particularly with so much eveidence of
> grammatical homonyms?

The immediate question under discussion was really whether the wa- in
wayyiqtol is identified with the conjunction (not whether the yiqtol
in wayyiqtol is identified with the ordinary yiqtol).  Historically
this former (wa- in wayyiqtol = conjunction) is rather likely to have
been the case -- which makes any ideal theoretical sharp separation
between verb morphology and discourse factors seem somewhat irrelevant.
Whether this was still the case in Biblical Hebrew is a slightly
messier question, but I don't think it should be ruled out _a priori_.

--
Henry Churchyard   churchh at usa.net   http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/


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