furuli at online.no
Wed Dec 29 08:43:33 EST 1999
I would like to add a few words to my last post. I wrote that "Your view
about E,R. and S in Hebrew studies is definitely wrong!" Reflecting a
little more on your words, I suppose you think correctly, and you try to
say the same as I try to say, but you use other symbols. Perhaps the reason
for this is that Comrie "Tense", 1985, pp 14,58 uses the term "reference
point" to what I call "the deictic point", and this is easy to confuse with
"reference time". If I had realized your thinking before I sent my post, I
would have used other words.
It is not easy for members of the list to get hold of the relationship
between E (event time), RT or R (reference time), S or SP (speech time) and
C (the deictic point), so I would like to add an example:
(1) After Harry has arrived, John will leave.
In (1) ST (speech time) is the time of the utterance. ST has little
importance in this example, as you claimed is the case generally. If I
understand you correctly, you will say that Harry's arrival is R or RT
(reference time) and E (event time) is John's leaving. If this is what you
say, you are right if you claim that what counts is the relationship
between RT and E, and that S is irrelevant.
However, I would say that Harry's arrival is C (the deictic point) and not
RT, E (event time) is the the time from the start to the end of the leaving
incident of John, and RT (reference time) is the intersection of E at the
nucleus (meaning that the aspect is imperfective). As a comparison, look at
(2) After Harry has arrived, John will have left.
In (2) ST is the time of the utterance, Harry's arrival is C, the time from
the start to the end of the leaving incident of John is E, and RT
intersects E at the coda (indicating that the aspect is perfective).
Let me apply this to a verse in the book of Ruth (NRSV)
(3) Ruth 4:3 He then said to the next-of-kin, "Naomi, who has come back
from the country of Moab, is selling (QATAL) the parcel of land that
belonged to our kinsman Elimelech.
In (3) SP (speech time) is both the time of the utterance and C (the
deictic point). E (event time) must be the time from the start to the end
of the selling incident. What is the relationship between C and E? E comes
after C because the selling incident had not even started# (in spite of the
English progressive present, which is strange). What is the relationship
between C and RT? RT must come after C because the selling incident was not
completed, it must intersect E at the nucleus. This gives the result that
that QATAL has future meaning and it has the same characteristics as the
English *imperfective* (sic!) aspect. The only possible way to circumvent
this *strange* conclusion,as far as I can see, is to show that MKR can have
the meaning "to offer something for sale",i.e. a telic event which is
finished at the time something is offered but not sold. However, I am not
aware of any examples of such a meaning.
I hope the examples above can clear up some points for somebody, and at the
same time show the great help an analysis of the relationship between C and
RT can be when we seek the time reference of Hebrew verbs.
# This is also seen in v 5.
University of Oslo
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