vav conversive

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Thu Sep 2 12:44:34 EDT 1999

Dear Dave,

I don't appreciate the tone of this answer, or failure to answer, a 
good question about "vav conversive". But I have a more specific point 
about the question about the meaning of "word".

I have concluded that a word is no more than the sequence of letters 
which are conventionally separated by a space or a punctuation mark in 
a particular language. My evidence: Look at the following:

Turkish: "alabilir" means "he can take", one word.
Azerbaijani: "ala bilir" means "he can take", two words.

Exactly the same sequence of letters, the same pronunication, the same 
meaning, in two closely related languages. The only difference is the 
writing convention. Incidentally "bilir", which alone means "he 
knows", is here being used as an auxiliary. Does an auxiliary verb 
have a "meaning in the lexical sense"? So is it a separate word, or 

If this looks too far from Hebrew, take this example:

Turkish: "ve salam" = "and greetings"
Hebrew: "veshalom" = "and peace/greetings"

This shows that it is merely a writing convention that the "ve-" or 
"we-" conjunction in Hebrew is joined to the following noun or verb.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: vav conversive
Author:  dwashbur at at internet
Date:    01/09/1999 16:50

> What is wrong with the following statement? 
> A vav conversive indicates:

This is the first thing wrong with it.


> 3. What constitutes a word in hebrew?

A word can be given a "meaning" in the lexical sense.  Thus the 
definite article is a "word" whereas the preformatives of the yiqtol, 
for example, are grammatical formatives without any true lexical or 
semantic meaning of their own.  They exist to modify the verb and
are not words in their own right.


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list