WEQATAL vs. QATAL statistics, cleaning up assumptions

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sun Aug 20 14:06:32 EDT 2000

Dear Randall,

I am very surprised that you cannot see the point here.

>the following needs to be cleaned up logically:
>> If there should be any meaning in a
>>comparison of the temporal reference of QATAL and WEQATAL, we first must
>>decide (assume) that they ARE  two different groups (Catholics and
>>Protestants). But then we have assumed what we should prove, namely, that
>>QATAL  and WEQATAL *are* two different groups.
>Come on, clean up the act.
>qaTALti and veqatalTI are two different forms and do not need an assumption
>in order for them to exist. They exist.

>People are not interested in hearing someone throw around 'debate tactics',
>but they would appreciate seeing that true reflection and understanding
>have taken place.
>RAndall Buth

The forms exist graphically, that is correct, and the accentuation is
different in a few forms (enough forms to show that the Masoretes
distinguished between them). Your error, in my view, is that you *presume*
that the stress is phonemic, but this is completely unfounded. Henry has
correctly argued that the stress distinction between QATAL  and WEQATAL
cannot be diachronically traced back to some older forms. My suggestion is
that in the chanting in the Synagogue the 'default' understanding ( to use
your words) was that QATALs with prefixed WAW for the most part was used
with future reference, and therefore these forms were marked with ultimate
stress, in contrast with WAYYIQTOLs with penultimate stress. This need not
be more than a *functional* view, an observational view, not a semantic one.

To use Catholics and protestants again. The people exist, regardless of
their religious faith. But to make a study of the difference in income, it
is not enough to study people in Catholic neighborhoods and compare them
with people in Protestant neigborhoods. What is necessary, is to make a
*semantic* distinction and decide that these particular people are
Catholics and these are protestants. Similarly, it is not enough that
QATALs and WEQATALs *exist*, but a semantic decision is necessary. You must
decide that the stress difference is phonemic, and that they are two
different semantic groups. In other words, you must in a scientific way
demonstrate that my claim that they are one and the same group, is wrong.
That is my challenge, and this is not tactics.



Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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