Jos 14-21 (was die Flucht ins Prasens (was Ruth))

Bryan Rocine brocine at
Sun May 23 22:52:51 EDT 1999

Hi Rolf,
You wrote re Nehemiah:
> Alviero Niccacci wrote
> >
> >A special problem is present in 3:14 and 15.


I agree with the principle that the verb
> forms represent aspect and disagree with Bryan who apply
aspect to the
> phrases with the effect that YIQTOL in  Neh 3:14 is
perfective rather than
> imperfective.  However, I am not sure what you mean by
"perfective and
> imperfective information" and which Hebrew nuance you try
to convey by
> translating Neh 3;14 by "he was rebuilding it and was
setting up its doors."
> I hope that you and Bryan will define the terms
"imperfective" and
> "perfective", because there is much confusion as to their
meaning.  Just
> look at the list below which gives some the the
oppositions that have been
> suggested:

perfective = a situation presented as a whole, including,
most significantly, its end.  it most closely corresponds to
your "complete" below.

imperfective = a situation that does not have its end point
in view.  it therefore can provide a background onto which
perfective situation is overlaid.

So in the sentence, "While John was eating, I washed all the
other dishes" the eating is imperfective and the washing is
perfective.  The end of the eating is not visible, but the
end of the washing is.

BH exmple:  Gen 33:1 vayisa ya`aqob `eynav vayar vehineh
esav ba vayaxats...  The wayyiqtols clauses are perfective
and the
participle is imperfective.

> progressive - non-progressive
> dynamic - stative
> durative - punctiliar
> incomplete - complete
> process - result(ative)
> temporary - permanent
> continuous - non-continuous
> atelic - telic
> bounded - unbounded
> internal focus - external focus
> In the Semitic languages has the opposition
"durative-punctiliar" been
> particularly popular. We find it in Jouon/Muraoka (p 355)
for Hebrew, and
> in J. Huehnergard,1997, "A Grammar of Accadian", pp 98,99
for Accadian.
> However, these are Aktionsart terms and not aspectual

I suggest that the prefixed forms are fientive and the
suffixed forms are attributive, and although I do not class
these decriptions as aspectual per se, they are quite
compatible with tense and aspect notions.  I am not opposed
to calling the finite verb forms dynamic (for prefixed) and
stative (for suffixed) respectively, but in this case, I
would have to mean stative in a special way.  I would mean
stative in the sense, "the state the subject (of the verb)
is in at
the time being talked about."  I do not mean stative in the
sense, "a situation that is the same all through its
requiring no input of energy."


>The verb BNH is durative
and telic.
> Durativity and telicity are semantic properties (while
punctiliarity is
> pragmatic), and this means that *any* form of the verb,
finite and
> non-finite are durative and telic. Thus the QATAL of BNH
in v 13 is just as
> durative and telic as the YIQTOL of the same verb in v 15.
> building was finished at the time the book was written, as
were the other
> actions described. If we ask about the reference time,
where it intersects
> event time, we would, because BNH is durative and telic
and the action was
> completed, expect that reference time intersected the
event time at its
> coda, i.e. that the verb is perfective. (I suppose this is
the reason why
> Bryan takes the YIQTOL of v 15 as perfective. This is the
logic part of his
> model.)

yup.  So what sayest thou, Rolf?  Is this a counter-example
for you?  It doesn't strike me as awfully damaging to your
thesis.  But it does strike me as damaging to your use of
the word *aspect* or *imperfective* in your explanations.  I
still haven't figured out why you don't dump the terminology
of aspect from your explanations.  Why not just call the two
forms *subjective viewpoints*, *broad focus*, and *narrow
focus* and let them do what they want to time-wise and
aspect-wise.  Just wondering: aren't you concerned that you
will create misunderstanding by your use of the terminology
of aspect for a rather idiosyncratic classification of verb


> <Lists of borders and settlements of the tribes in Josh.
14-21 are also
> worth study in this regard.
> This is a good idea. The borders of the inheritance of the
tribes "went
> out", "passed", "turned" etc, but all these expressions
must describe the
> same thing - state(s). How then can we explain the
different verb forms
> used when the situation in all cases is the same?
> Joshua 16:
> v1: WAYYIQTOL and participle
> vv2,3: four WEQATALS
> v 5: two WAYYIQTOLS
> JOSHUA 17:

The Nehemiah 3 text is essentially expository with some
brief narrative insets like, "and then they stood up the
doors, its locks and bars."  X-qatal is appropriately used
(see my last post on the matter) for text segmentation in
the Nehemiah 3 text as it initiates each new section about
another of the gates.

Jos 14-21, in contrast, is essentially *narrative* with
pretty good-sized descriptive insets. The narrative part
recounts the falling out of the lots, done one tribe after
another, and in the case of certain tribes, the narrative
recounts special events connected with the dividing of the
land or their conquests and/or failures.  Wayyiqtol (and an
occasional X-qatal) is used for the narrative skeleton.  The
wayyiqtol of hyh is especially useful for segmenting this
text.  The use of wayyiqtol for each new section puts the
sections in
time order, an interesting contrast with the use of X-qatal
as the text segmenting clause in Neh 3 which gives
information that is not time-ordered.

Whereas the Neh 3 text uses occasional wayyiqtol *within*
each "gate" section for narrative elements, the Jos text
uses weqatal and X-yiqtol *within* the narrative sections
for each
tribe to describe the state of the respective boundaries.
The weqatal uses what, in my view, is the "attributive"
suffixed form, the approriateness of which should be
apparent for describing the state of the borders.  I view
the yiqtol as a fientive form, so its use may seem out of
place in texts describing a state.  However, two things make
yiqtol appropriate for such a text.  First, it appears only
in second position within its clauses.  I subscribe to the
notion, put forward by Niccacci, and the Arab grammarians
before him, that the clause with a nominal element in the
first position of the clause is indeed a nominal clause,
essentially stative albeit constructed with a fientive verb
form such as yiqtol.  Second, pragmatic convention of
literary Hebrew dictates that the X-yiqtol clause is the
partner of the weqatal clause when contrast, emphasis, or
some other species of topicalization is needed.

Hope this helps.


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

(office) 315.437.6744
(home) 315.479.8267

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