<wayyiqtol> again

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Tue Jan 4 00:35:38 EST 2000

Dear Rolf,

I wonder if I am confusing myself, and no doubt anyone else who is 
reading, by making examples too complex on this issue. I certainly 
don't want to get into complex matters like the Psalms until I have 
understood simple narrative according to your theory. So let's look at 
something very simple:

(1) This morning I got up.
(2) After I got up I washed myself.
(3) After I washed myself I got dressed.

How would you analyse these sentences? (And Galia, how would you 
analyse them?) The following is how I would expect you, Rolf, to 
analyse them, am I right?

(1) C is speech time, RT is "this morning", ET is "I got up".
(2) C is speech time, RT is "I got up", ET is "I washed myself"
(3) C is speech time, RT is "I washed myself", ET is "I got dressed"

But on this analysis, in (2) and (3) RT is BEFORE ET and does not seem 
to intersect with it at all. So how would this fit into Broman Olsen's 

Or perhaps in (2) RT is the unspecified time after "I got up" when I 
washed myself (or completed doing so), i.e. the same as ET - and 
similarly in (3). Which do you think is correct? On this latter 
analysis, as RT in (2) and (3) is only specified as after a particular 
time, we can say nothing about its relationship with ET. So we cannot 
determine whether the verbs are "perfective" or "imperfective" 
according to Broman Olsen's definition.

But I guess that Broman Olsen would say that in (1) RT intersects ET 
at the nucleus, and so the verb is "imperfective". Well, actually RT 
not only "intersects" ET but engulfs it - as if one would ask where a 
road intersects with a pencil lying in it in a crosswise direction. Or 
is RT an unspecified point of time during this morning? Note that in 
Russian the verbs in all three sentences would have to be perfective. 
I am very suspicious of definitions of "perfective" and "imperfective" 
which contradict Russian usage as (if I understand it correctly) these 
terms are borrowed from Russian grammar; if Broman Olsen means 
something significantly different from the meaning in Russian (even in 
a simple case like this one), she would have done better to use 
different terminology.

Either of my analyses above ties in with Galia's idea of building a 
new reference time, if I am now right in trying to identify the 
concepts of reference time in the two theories (as apparently Broman 
Olsen herself wanted to). But is Galia's new reference time in (2) the 
time when I got up, or the time after that when I washed myself?

Now let's replace (1-3) by:

(1)  This morning I got up.
(2a) Then I washed myself.
(3a) Then I got dressed.

Same analysis? I assume so. Then let's translate into BH. We could 
come up with something like:

(4) hayyom babboqer qamti wa'erxac wa'elba$ 'et-bigdi

Would you agree? My point is that the structure is the same as 2 Kings 
17:6 and countless other verses in the HB. Now we cannot assume that 
the analysis of this Hebrew is the same as the analysis of the English 
from which I have translated it, but in this case I can see no good 
reason for a different analysis - though I could argue for "hayyom 
babboqer" being C for these sentences. Can you see any reason for a 
different analysis?

I would like to be able to sort out this simple case before going on 
to anything more complicated.

Peter Kirk

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