WEQATAL vs. QATAL statistics, cleaning up assumptions

yochanan bitan-buth ButhFam at compuserve.com
Thu Aug 24 18:04:14 EDT 2000

thank you for trying to reply, rolf.

>the ultimate stress of some WEQATALs do not fulfill any  of the
>requirements for phonemic stress.

You missed a point in your comparison with pausal forms: 
pausal forms are phonologically motivated by a phonologically defined
veqatalTI forms are NOT phonologically motivated. 
**Therefore they are still eligible for interpretation as a separate class.

>My principal claim against Henry's conclusion that my data showed that
>QATAL  and WEQATAL were two groups with different meanings,
> was that that
>this is circular because one first have to assume that QATAL and WEQATAL
>were two distinct groups. 

First, the forms are NOT defined by meanings, therefore the argument is not

>...I therefore suggest that WEQATAL is a QATAL which is
>used in a syntactic position where the conjunction WAW is needed. The onus
>of proof is on you to show that this simple explanation is not true,

Sorry, but we both agree that different FORMS can be assumed to have
different meanings. veqatalTI is a different FORMAL category.
The onus is yours.

> That Jeremiah should have used
>an artificial ultimate stress contrary to his natural intonation, 

Nobody is claiming that he used an artifitial stress or against his natural
intonation. That was your own restrictive reconstruction.

>A suggestion, therefore, is that a combination phonological rules
>stress, syllables and vowel length and the rhytm in reading narrative
>accounts can account for the penultimate stress of some WAYYIQTOLs and the
>opposite in WAW+QATALs of 1st and 2nd person, singular (when they are used
>contexts which are different from the normal past contexts). 

That's the point. There are no such phonological rules. The lack of qatalTI
versus the commonness of veqatalTI shows the non-phonological nature of the
accent change. If you don't understand this you don't have much grasp of
phonology yet. [Look, I don't want to sound condescending, but your
argument is like saying "who is to say a little division by zero can't be
done? And then, voila our problems disappear!". Just condescending

...>The consequence is that at some point after
>people started to chant the text in the synagogue, the pausal forms and
>possibly other accentuations were invented. This might have happened
>the Masoretes started their work.

Bells and whistles time. Pausal forms, by and large, are the archaic forms,
NOT the new INVENTED forms. You've got it nicely backwards. 

>I therefore do not see a single piece of evidence against the view that
>ultimate stress of some WEQATALs, is of the same nature as pausal stress
>and is non-distinctive, although it may have evolved on the basis of the
>use of QATAL + waw in contexts which were different from the normal past
>use of QATAL.

I will resist commenting on your inability to see a single piece of

Randall Buth

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