<wayyiqtol> again

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Thu Dec 30 17:12:26 EST 1999


Dear Peter,

See my commente below:


PK
>But you have still left me confused about exactly what you do mean by
>RT. In your interpretation of Ruth 4:3, it seems that your RT is
>different from C, but when is it? It looks like some time which you
>have pulled out of thin air which comes in the middle of the process
>of selling. Maybe I just need to read Broman Olsen's works, but I do
>not have them to hand.

Thin or thick air, RT (reference time) is a most important property of
modern linguistics and it is *allways* different from C. I think that your
problem is that you have a wrong view of the nature of ET (event time) and
therefore cannot see the role of RT (reference time) which is of a
completely different nature. Perhaps your problem can be solved by
realizing that C (the deictic point) and RT (reference time) are relative
points on a time-line (they are members of a deictic relationship) while ET
is non-deictic, i.e the *internal* time of an event does not have any
relationship (on a time-line) either to SP (speech time), C (the deictic
point) or RT (reference time). The deictic relationship on a time-line can
be between C (the deictic point) and RT (reference time), and SP (speech
time).

Let us use our former example to elucidate this further:

(1) After Harry has arrived, John will leave.


We start with (SP) speech time and ask about the relationship between it
and C (the deictic point). On the theoretical time-line, C (Harry's
arrival) comes after SP. Going further along the time-line we find RT
(John's leaving). Thus we get

(2)  ---SP------C--------RT--


But where is E (event time)? In this model it does not exist on the
time-line at all! E is the  *internal time* of the event (John's leaving)
and while it has a non-deictic relationship to RT, it has no deictic
relationship with either of the three. It is the *event* John's leaving
that is pointed to by RT and not the inner constituency of this event,i.e.
its E. True, the event "John's leaving" takes some time, but this time is
non-deictic, and it is best to view it as having no  relative place on the
time-line but rather to class it as *aspect*. This means that E is of
another *kind* than SP,C, and RT. As an illustration we can say that  E has
a relationship to RT, not  on the time-line, but rather a "perpendicular"
relationship.

The ingeniousness of Broman Olsen's work is that she has made a model of
the English tenses where *all* the different expressions of the verbs in
past, present, future, perfect and progressive constitute a perfect system
where every member represents a tense or a tense and one aspect in
combination, or a tense and two aspects in combination. What Comrie, based
on Reichenbach calls "relative tense" is in her model "aspect", and the
aspectual difference is based on where the "horizontal" RT hits
(intersects) the "vertical" ET. Tenses in combination with progressive
forms intersect ET at the nucleus (between beginning and end), and tenses
in combination with perfect forms intersect ET at the coda (end).

Future tense + the imperfective aspect will be as figure (3), and future
tense + the perfective aspect will be as figure (4)

                     !  ET beginning
		     !
                     !
(3)------C-----------RT !
                     !
                     !
                     !  ET end


                     !  ET beginning
		     !
                     !
		     !
                     !
(4)------C-----------RT ET end


Perhaps examples with past tense is easier to grasp. I use three examples
based on Broman Olsen.

(5a) Peter Kirk had stitches in his leg.

(5b) Peter Kirk was having stitches in his leg.

(5c) Peter Kirk had had stitches in his leg.

All three encode past tense (RT comes before C). The difference is
aspectual (NB, English aspect, not necessarily Hebrew aspect),i.e. it comes
from different intersections of E by RT.

(5a) is aspectually unmarked, not specifying a point of intersection.
(5b) asserts that RT intersects E at the nucleus, i.e it implies that
stitches was put in some time in the past.
(5c) asserts that RT intersects E at the coda, i.e. at some time in the
past the situation was at its coda. This implies that the coda is now over:
the stitches are out.

Reichenbach's, Comrie's, and Broman Olsen's descriptions can all be used.
Each of them represents a "drawing" (with symbols occurring in a particular
relationship) of real situations. To use any of the models, we must have a
clear understanding of the meaning of each symbol in that very model.
Galia's description of Reichenbach, to which you refer, was therefore fine.
In my opinion Broman Olsen's model is a great leap forward compared with
Reichenbach, because she does not only "count the eyes" but she has
"examined them" also. This has resulted in a system that strictly
differentiates between factors which are pragmatic and which are semantic,
and just as important, she has shown that E can viewed as having another
quality than the other three. Broman Olsen has shown that the relationship
between SP and  C is pragmatic, but the relationship between C and RT is
semantic, i.e. it is uncancelable. This means that in a classification of
Hebrew verbs in past, present, and future, the only thing that is needed is
to find the relationship between C and RT; E can, to accomplish this task,
be ignored.



Regards
Rolf



Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo








>
>So let me see how I would analyse your sentences, and I will see how
>this corresponds to your scheme.
>
>     (1) After Harry has arrived, John will leave.
>
>S: speech time
>R: Harry's arrival (your C)
>E: John's leaving (also apparently your RT in this case)
>
>E>S (so future); E>R ("after"); probably R>S; aspect undefined
>
>     (2) After Harry has arrived, John will have left.
>
>I can only take this to mean "There will be a time after Harry has
>arrived before which John will have left."
>
>S: speech time
>R1: Harry's arrival (your C)
>E1=R2: the indefinite future time (is this your RT?)
>E2: John's leaving
>
>E2>S (so future); E1(=R2)>R1; (E1=)R2>E2; probably R1>S; perfective as
>E1 and E2 are complete
>
>But this sentence actually tells us nothing about the relationship of
>R1 and E2 and fails to specify E1=R2, which underlines its
>meaninglessness. It could be taken as meaning that John will complete
>his leaving (perfective) whereas in (1) this is not explicit, but this
>is not a natural English way to make this distinction.
>
>     (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.
>
>(I will for the moment follow your understanding of this verse)
>
>S: speech time (Boaz's words)
>E: Naomi's sale (also apparently your RT in this case)
>R: also speech time (your C)
>
>E>S (so future); R=S; aspect undefined
>
>I appreciate your point that E may be not a point in time but a period
>of time; but in none of these cases is there any suggestion that the
>event is drawn out over a period of time.
>
>I would be grateful for your further comments, to help me to see if I
>am now grasping your meaning properly. I would be especially pleased
>to see a clear definition of RT as it appears in your scheme, for as
>you see that is where I am confused.
>
>Peter Kirk
>
>
>______________________________ Reply Separator
>_________________________________
>Subject: Re: <wayyiqtol> again
>Author:  <furuli at online.no> at Internet
>Date:    29/12/1999 14:43
>
>
>Dear Peter,
>
>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).
>
>(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.
>
>
>Regards
>Rolf
>
>
>Rolf Furuli
>University of Oslo
>
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