die Flucht ins Prasens (minimal semantic value)

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Tue Jun 1 22:00:32 EDT 1999

Dear Rodney,

I appreciate what you are trying to do here. Unfortunately in the 
following question:

(2) what if we first just ask, "Is there an *irreducible semantic 
minimum* to the prefixed conjugation that differs from that of the 
suffixed conjugation? (Furuli's question);

you are continuing to make Rolf's assumption that there is such a 
thing as "the prefixed conjugation", when the phonetic evidence as 
just restated by Henry Churchyard is that there are (probably) two 
prefixed conjugations. So you, like Rolf and now Bryan, have been 
misled into trying to search for some speck of common meaning between 

Thus to your question, "might the prefixed conjugations still have a 
common semantic value that is different from that of the suffixed 
conjugations?", I would answer, well, they might, just as chalk and 
cheese might have something in common, but there is no particular 
reason to expect them to as they were (probably) originally quite 
different verb paradigms. If you can demonstrate that they really 
have, well and good. But don't assume that there is something and then 
go searching for it.

As for the link to discourse analysis, I think Bryan's attempt to find 
a common meaning between YIQTOL and WAYYIQTOL has obscured what is 
otherwise the clearest and simplest part of the discourse model, the 
use of WAYYIQTOL and X-QATAL in narrative corresponding respectively 
to WEQATAL and X-YIQTOL in instructional discourse. So this seems to 
be a complication rather than a clarification.

Now I realise that I like you am coming at this rather naively and 
without the benefits of deep understanding of some of the background. 
However, I do feel that the best scholars are the ones whose deep 
theories clarify the surface issues rather than confuse them.

Peter Kirk

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