(short) re: Long: Re: QATAL C/RT [Statistics]

yochanan bitan-buth ButhFam at compuserve.com
Sun Aug 6 02:59:20 EDT 2000

vayyixtov rolf
>This conclusion is possible only if the premise mentioned above is used.
>Let us see what the result will be if we discard the premise. Then we get
>the following point of departure: 1)  QATAL and WEQATAL  can be parts of
>one conjugation or be two defferent conjugations, and 2) each Hebrew
>conjugation can have past, present, future, and perfect reference and
>signal modality. Can we on the basis of my data draw the conclusions
>if we take this as our point of departure? Certainly not! 

Au contraire. Your second point incorrectly implies/assumes 'equality as a
starting point' to the forms based on what I call 'brittle' semantics. The
point was that the 'profile' of past, present, future and perfect for QATAL
and WEQATAL were significantly, statistically inverted. It is that
inversion that your "equality" ignores and why it is misleading. Ditto for
YIQTOL VAYYIQTOL. And these inverted profiles are related to morphological
categories, thus EMIC (I'm still not convinced you understand this), and as
additional, excessive confirmations the cateogories are related to forms
that have a history that can be traced back through remarkable time periods
with comparative data and that also have confirmation in the known
historical periods of language contact like LXX and Qumran/JPA Aramaic.
(see below for more on assumptions)

Bottom line: your statistics still show emic qualities that your analysis
is ignoring. You ask the wrong question: [sic]"Can we come up with a
flexible enough pragmatic/aspectual definiition that will unite the WEQATAL
and QATAL?" and you have implied that you'd like to stand there until
'proven impossible', which itself will be nearly impossible if your
definitions are slippery and subjective enough.  Instead you need to be
asking why the profiles are inverted when mapped out into the "real" world.
Then, acknowledging their EMICstatus, ask in what sense WEQATAL and YIQTOL
are same/different semantically and pragmatically. That is "Linguistics
101" or at least 301.
As for examining assumptions: I refuse to define daylight as "dark." I
examined assumptions 30 years ago, found that the four categories are
'solid' and emic and have had that confirmed hundreds of thousands,
actually millions of times since through language use, which is what every
language user experiences in every language. Again, we're not talking about
metalanguage definitions of the system but the emic scope of the system. 
I start at the MT, (yes, we all have starting points!), and find "four"
categories, (everyone agrees here) and then look for
confirmations/contradictions, theories as to whether the MT is a radical
innovation or a continuation. The evidence is overwhelming that it is a
continuation. Your own data so painstakingly gathered, backs up one aspect
of this. 
[Theoretically, you have made an ASSUMPTION to reject the MT (a
'wrongheaded' assumption that I must reject, especially with the confirming
evidence in all directions). You replace what does exist with an assumption
speculating about what doesn't exist. I call that enterprise a historical
fiction and another red herring for students. HO'EL ULMAD 'T-A-SAFA, AX

shabbat shalom
Randall Buth

PS: the 'fudge factor' added to red herring:
>Let me add that when I speak of four "pragmatic groups", I simply mean
>we have one group where YIQTOLs stand alone and another where they are
>connected syntactically with waw, and similarly with QATAL.

This statement is not true. You had stated that something was
"pragmatically" distinct between VEyiqtol and VAyyiqtol, that the different
vavs reflected some kind of Massoretic "pragmatic" categorization (that you
wanted to erase and reject). (Perhaps you intuitively recognized that its
emic status undermines your analysis?) 

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