vav conversive

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Mon Sep 6 15:12:36 EDT 1999

> Your posts have been very helpful, especially with respect to the
> discussion on the nature of a word. One thing that was mentioned
> yesterday is still unclear, if you or Paul for that matter would
> respond, I would like to know what is wrong with referring to the
> construction as a vav or waw conversive?

The waw doesn't convert anything.  The name is based on the 
medieval idea that the "tenses" denote just that, tenses, and we 
now know this isn't the case.  Supposedly, the waw converted a 
present/future (yiqtol) to a past and converted a past (qatal) to a 
present/future.  We know now that it's hardly that simple, but apart 
from that, the term is misleading in the way it describes what the 
waw-preformative does.  We're still undecided on exactly what it 
does, and there are at least three opinions that I know of on this 
list alone, but conversion to an opposite tense isn't among them 
that I'm aware of.

I hope this clears it up.  If it doesn't, let me know and I'll try to do a 
better job.

Dave Washburn
"Ich veranlassenarbeitenworken mein Mojo."

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