Prefix or Imperfect, Qal or D

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Thu Sep 16 13:59:05 EDT 1999

> I am using Kittel, Hoffer and Wright. I am getting a little concerned about 
> the terminology. What do you sugguest beginning students need to know about 
> terminology? For example:
> 1. Prefix or imperfect form.

In my online course I use the terms prefix, imperfect and yiqtol 
interchangeably (having explained them, of course) to get my 
students accustomed to identifying all the terms with the same 
form.  Given the choice, I use F. I. Andersen's shorthand developed 
in "The Sentence in Biblical Hebrew" which uses VS for suffixed 
verb, VP (I change this to PV to avoid confusion with the 
abbreviation for "verb phrase") for prefixed form, WS for waw-
suffixed and WP for waw-prefixed.  Since I seem to be the only 
person in the world who has adopted this pattern :-) my second 
choices are qatal, yiqtol, weqatal and wayyiqtol.

> 2. Affix or perfect form.

See above.

> 3. Qal Piel or D, D2, etc.

The letter forms have never caught on to my knowledge, except 
possibly in German works.  As far as I know, nearly everybody still 
uses the Qal, Pi`el, Niph`al etc.  I always try to put the reverse 
apostrophe in the names just because...that's how I do it ;-)

> What is the most appropriate way to describe the differences in terms, 
> (aspect and stem names,etc.) to beginning students?

I try to prepare them for what they will encounter in the literature 
such as the lexica, grammars and journals.  That's why I use 
several different terms interchangeably, because that's what they'll 
encounter "out there."

> 4. Should the traditional labels for stems be kept, or is there enough 
> reasons to accept the newer labels? Could someone provide me a list of 
> those labels?

I never learned the newer labels, and haven't seen a single journal 
article or commentary (at least in English) that uses them.  Hence, 
I would teach students the traditional labels, at least for the stems.

Dave Washburn
"Ich veranlassenarbeitenworken mein Mojo."

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