syntactic dependency of "w+x+qatal" (Niccatti)

Moon-Ryul Jung moon at
Tue Jun 8 07:13:35 EDT 1999

Dear Alviero, many thanks for your sharing your deep knowledge and 
experience with beginners like me. This list seems to be one of the best
schools I have ever attended. Though you might think you gave enough
explanation for your "theory syntactic dependency" of "x+qatal", please
help me understand it better.
You wrote:

Consider e.g. Exod. 19:2b-3: "Thus, Israel encamped
(wayyiqtol) there, before the mountain, while Moses went up
(waw-x-qatal) to God."

IMO, it is not a question of state versus event. It is rather one of
syntactical dependence versus independence. Background x-qatal
(offline) is syntactically dependent on foreground wayyiqtol

Syntactical dependence is distinct from grammatical dependence, which
happens when qatal is governed by a subordinating conjunction like
*'im, ki, 'a$er* etc. , but it is no less real.

Syntactical dependence means that x-qatal can not stay alone in the
text but needs rely on a main sentence having wayyiqtol, exactly as
the sentence "while Moses went up to God" depends on "Thus, Israel
encamped there."

For me, the fact that "w+x+qatal" describes background information
in historical narrative is much easier to understand than
the fact that it is syntactically dependent on another sentence having
wayyiqtol. Grammatical dependency is understandable, because it has
a clear criteria. But you did not seem to provide a criteria for testing
if  "sentence S1 is syntactically dependent on sentence S2". 

You seem to say:

S1 is syntactically dependent on S2 if and only if S1 describes
background information for S2.

If so, we would need to cleary specify what "S1 is syntactically dependent  
on S2" means.

Moon-ryul Jung
Assistant Professor
Dept of Computer Science
Soongsil University, Seoul, Korea

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