evolution of the suffixed forms

John Ronning ronning at ilink.nis.za
Tue Jun 15 14:41:30 EDT 1999

Dear Bryan,

If the qatal form was originally a tenseless attributive, it seems to this ameteur
theorist that it might help explain how it ended up as both past and future (weqatal)
by analogy with yiqtol/wayyiqtol (BTW - no one nowadays says the waw "converts"
anything, do they?).  But when this development occurred (i.e. wayyiqtol being
reserved for past, yiqtol for future/habitual), it seems to me there would be a vacuum
that qatal would irresistably get sucked into.  I.e. how many languages are there
where you can say "and he did" (wayya`as) but you can't say simply "he did" (isn't
this what your model is saying?), or "he did not do" (do you disagree that lo' qatal
is the negative of wayyiqtol?).

Some other questions that occur to me up in thinking of qatal as only an attributive
(all asked with an open mind):
To go back to Gen 1:5 - are all the translations since LXX which use the same verb
form to translate both wayyira' and qara' (i.e. probably all translations except yours
and Young's so-called literal translation) wrong?

If qatal is attributive, why would it necessarily be durative - i.e. why couldn't
*rats* mean "he was one that ran" rather than "he was a runner" (the first doesn't
sound much different from a simple past tense)?

Is qatal redundant with hayah plus participle (eg Deut 9:22, 24)?  Are there places
where qatal can be shown to be the equivalent of hayah plus participle?

How does hayah get translated as an attributive?  Qatal statives?

So I guess what I'm saying is it seems to me that the answer to your question
concerning time line development of qatal from attributive to simple past tense would
be that the process would have to start pretty early or else you'd have the "vaccum" I
mentioned above - just my 2 cents.



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