WAW the conjunction

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sat Jan 8 15:46:39 EST 2000

Dear Alviero,

The new semester is soon to begin, so I have to reduce my posts. The most
interesting thing with your post, is that you stated your view that
WEYIQTOL  is a conjugation of its own in addition to the four which are
usually counted. I agree that WEYIQTOL in many cases is modal, but because
modality is a quite elusive property, I am afraid we will have much
circularity once we have decided that WEYIQTOL *is* modal.There are few if
any objective means to pinpoint modality.

I have some questions regarding WEQATAL. You wrote:

>Similarly weqatal is an independent verbform because it has a distinctive
>>morphology --is is not the result of copulative Waw+qatal. Actually in my
>>opinion the so-called copulative weqatal--in the weqatálti form as
>opposed to >weqataltí, see Joüon-Muraoka #119z--is not existent in BH.
>Usually, even the >difficult cases can be explained with the usual
>functions of weqatal, which are >two--first, to indicate simple,
>indicative future in direct speech, and, >second, habit or description in
>narrative. These two functions are also >recognized by traditional

(1) I understand you to say that *all* instances of QATAL with prefixed WAW
belong to the same conjugation, so the identification mark is not function
but form. Is that correct?

(2) If that is correct and all WAWs prefixed to "YIQTOLs" (WAYYIQTOL  and
WEYIQTOL) are part of verb morphology, we are in the strange situation that
while cognate languages such as Arabic, Aramaic, and Ge'ez flourish with
the WE/WA/FA-conjunctions, Hebrew has *no* conjunctions between verbs,
except between imperatives.

(3) Or perhaps the WAWs are *both* a part of verb morphology and a
conjunction at the same time, however unique that may be among the
languages of the world?

(4) If WAW is both a conjunction and part of the verb morphology, what
would a prefix-form (QATAL) look like if it was just prefixed by the
conjunction WAW? We know from Aramaic that such creatures do exist.

(5) I suppose you will answer that there would be no visible difference,
and then I will ask: How do we know that *no* examples of WEQATAL is not
the prefix-form (QATAL) with a prefixed conjunction? You may appeal to
discourse functions and say that we use to find QATAL in this and that
function and WEQATAL  in this and that. Generally I do not dispute your
analyses of mainline and other groups and subgroups, but the picture we see
is conventional Hebrew from Bible times, and is there any property with
QATAL that would prevent it from filling the position of indicative future
together with WAW and as habit or description in narrative? There ought to
be something apart from just saying that I see this conjugation in this
function and that conjugation in that function, that differentiates between
QATAL  and WEQATAL, provided they are two different conjugations.

(6) And further, what is the connective clue between indicative future and
(past) habit and description in narrative? For me they seem to be very
different, though constituting one conjugation. Do we find a parallel in
other languages? And what about my list of properties  WEQATAL paralelling
properties of QATAL, though with different frequency? I have also problems
with the designation habitual applied to WEQATAL.

Take some verses from Joshua 6 as an example. In v 8 we find one occurrence of
the weqatal TQ( with past meaning (we could also add v 13 where both the
ortography and the pointing show the form is WEQATAL). The priests blew in
the trumpets, and this fits the definition of being habitual. But what
about the  QATAL  of the same verb with past meaning in v 16? (another
example of the QATAL of the verb with past meaning is 1 Sam 13:3 /note the
nomen with prefixed WAW before it/). Is not QATAL habitual as well? What
signals habituality is primarily the Aktionsart and the context, and I
wonder if you can give *one* example where we on the basis of WEQATAL
*alone* can show that a verb is habitual. One last point to Joshua 6:8. It
seems to me that (BRW WTQ(W  simply are two QATALs connected with a
conjunction, and the action of both occur simultaneously, "the seven
priests ...passed on and blew".

I am not trying to make a reductio-ad-absurdum-argument, I am just trying
to find out if it is possible to make independent tests of your viewpoints
regarding QATAL and WEQATAL.



Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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