Jer 15:6-9

Rolf Furuli furuli at
Wed Sep 15 12:02:33 EDT 1999

Dear Randall,

I found your post very interesting. Regarding "true futures" I may have
used the expression rather loosely. I did not mean "grammaticalized future
(=future tense), but rather "a real future sense contrasted with a
preterite which is used for the future in a special context but has past

Your words that "tense is not absolutely grammaticalized" indicate (by
normal linguistic terminology) that tense is not grammaticalized at all.
Either one or more forms are grammaticalized tenses, or tense is not
grammaticalized. This means, if I understand you correctly,  that we agree
regarding this most important point. So our principal disagreement is not
regarding the *quality* of Hebrew verbs (one form does not *always* signal
the quality of past, present or future) , but our disagreement relates to
quantity. You think that WAYYIQTOL *almost* never has a non-past meaning
and that QATAL *almost* never has a future meaning. But I claim there are
hundreds of examples of these meanings. I therefore see no need to create a
genre called "prophetic perfect". If first the "quality view" is broken (no
form has an inherrent tense value), there is absolutely no way to know *how
many* occurrences of a particular form, say QATAL, signal another time than
what it usually does. Therefore I see no reason to discard the view that
Jer. 15:6-9 refer to the future.


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>>Why can we not construe the three WAYYIQTOLs and the QATALs following them
>>(except L)H in v 6, which is present) as true futures?
>are you talking english or hebrew? lamma mayyim enam zormim lema`ala?
>english might prefer "true futures",
>but those are not "true futures" in hebrew.
>mi yitten vexol ha-hitkatvut ha-zot hayta bisfat `ever, af ha-`atiqa!
>again, take those verbs vv. 6-9 out of their context and they are plain
>past references, even though tense is not absolutely grammaticalized. it's
>just the way the language works, hundreds of thousands of times.
>when nothing else is around, we still have the verb forms. i know you don't
>like that. sorry. you may call it pragmatics, though, and find something of
>a middle ground.
>we extract real-world reference out of those minimally-differentiated
>e.g. in 2 Samuel 7.9  va'axrita 'and i cut off [past]' ... ve`asiti 'and i
>will make[future]'. all we have are the verb forms and the change right
>there. like the old judges 13.3 example: velo yaladt veharit 'and you
>didn't give birth and you will become pregnant'.
>randall buth

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