Cohortative and lamedh-he truncation (DeCaen)

Henry Churchyard churchh at
Wed Apr 11 18:11:42 EDT 2001

> Subject: lx minimalism
> From: decaen at (Vincent DeCaen)
> Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 09:43:05 -0400 (EDT)

> re "Hebrew Linguistics and Biblical Criticism: A Minimalist
> Programme" a draft is sitting in my home directory /~decaen/papers/
> a revised draft is forthcoming in Journal of Hebrew Scriptures any
> comments, suggestions, &c, are welcome indeed.  Hebrew Syntax
> Encoding Initiative,

I looked at this; I don't know that I really have anything to say
about the more high-flying rhetoric contained therein, except that
I've never had any occasion to cite as references any books about
Derrida or Foucault, and I think that on the whole I'm proud of this

Re fig (3): Your analysis actually seems to assume that Qumran
waw-aleph-bet-kaph-he must have been _wa'ebhka_ rather than
_wa'ebhke_.  The two forms would imply completely different linguistic
derivations (true blocking of apocopation in the latter case, and
suffixation applying after apocopation in the former case), but the
Qumran orthography normally wouldn't distinguish these two
alternatives (unless there's an actually-attested example which shows
the rather sporadic replacement of letter he with letter yod).  (Also,
various minor points could be raised about your very confident
phonological transcriptions if they're meant to be of Qumran rather
than Tiberian.)

Re fig (4): If such a linguistic analogy took place, it took place
with respect to pronounced linguistic forms, not with respect to
sequences of ambiguous unvocalized consonant letters.

It's also rather unclear to me whether diagram 4 is synchronic or
diachronic.  See chapter 4 of my dissertation for diagrams which can
visualize the effects of grammar change or analogy while clearly
separating the diachronic from the synchronic aspects.

If "SUFFIXATION" in diagram 4 is a unitary process of suffixation of a cohortative -a vowel, then waw-aleph-beth-kaph-he in Qumran
should clearly be [wa'ebhka], but in 3 you said it was [wa'ebhke], so
I'm confused as to what your position is.

Also, the process in 4, if it is a diachronic one, actually does not
seem to be either a rule reanalysis (certainly not a reanalysis of
synchronic underlying forms between one diachronic stage to the next)
nor a rule reordering, but is actually a simple "rule generalization"
(the first person "cohortative" or pseudo-cohortative suffixation
process did not formerly apply to lamedh-he stems, but after a certain
point in time, this process became generalized so as to apply to
lamedh-he stems as well).  As you have it formulated in (4) the rule
generalization does not trigger reanalysis or reordering, but merely
acts as a simple "rule addition" within the synchronic derivation of
Qumran [wa'ebhka].  Note that rule addition, rule generalization, etc.
were first explored by Kiparsky in the mid-1960's, and were not any
kind of result of Chomskyan minimalist theory.

Of course, if you're not talking about Qumran, but about the Tiberian
vocalization of the Hebrew biblical text, then the cohortative ending
_-a_ only occurs very rarely in lamedh-he forms at all, from what
Gesenius-Kautzsch says in section 75l, and apparently never in 1st
person wayyiqtol forms -- a search turned up 48 forms of the type
[wa'ebhke] (listed below), and none of the type [wa'ebhka].  But the
form [wa'ebhke] simply shows failure of apocopation (instead of the
cohortative suffixation of hypothetical [wa'ebhka]), and so [wa'ebhke]
must be explained in a different way from [wa'ebhka] (your diagram (4)
simply wouldn't apply).  If it's true that there's an increasing
frequency of non-apocopated 1st. singular lamedh-he wayyiqtols at
later stages of the language, this would be interesting (though it's
hard to base an ironclad significant statistical analysis on only 48
items), but some of the details of your linguistic analysis, and your
more sweeping conclusions, don't really hold up...

 Jos 7.21 [K'tibh not not Q're]
 Jos24. 3 **wA'ar.b:Eh_4
 Jud12. 3  wA8'Er.'E5h
 1Sa13.12   wA'a`.alE3h
 1Sa26.21   wA'ES.g:E3h
 2Sa 7. 6  wA'E8h.yEh_4
 2Sa 7. 9   wA'Eh.yE6h
 2Sa12.22  wA8'Eb.k:E2h
 2Sa22.24   wA'Eh.yE6h
 1Kg 8.20   wA'Eb.nE6h
 Isa 6. 1   wA'Er.'E6h
 Jer13. 2   wA'Eq.nE6h
 Jer25.17  wA8'aS.qEh_4
 Jer31.26   wA'Er.'E2h
 Jer32. 9  wA8'Eq.nEh_4
 Eze 1. 1   wA'Er.'E3h
 Eze 1.28  wA8'Er.'Eh_4
 Eze 2. 9   wA'Er.'E3h
 Eze 8. 2   wA'Er.'E4h
 Eze 8. 7   wA'Er.'E3h
 Eze 8.10  wA8'Er.'Eh=3
 Eze10. 1   wA'Er.'E4h
 Eze10. 9   wA'Er.'E4h
 Eze11. 1   wA'Er.'E6h
 Eze20.14   wA'E`.E$E3h
 Hos11. 4   wA'Eh.yE6h
 Amo 4.10   wA'a`.alE5h
 Zec 5. 1  wA8'Er.'E2h
 Zec 6. 1  wA8'Er.'E3h
 Zec11. 7  wA8'Er.`Eh_4
 Zec11. 7   wA'Er.`E3h
 Ps 69.11   wA'Eb.k:E"h
 Ps102. 8  wA'E"h.yE"h
 Job 7.20   wA'Eh.yE"h
 Pro 8.30  wA"'Eh.yE"h
 Pro 8.30  wA"'Eh.yE"h
 Pro24.32  wA"'EH.EzE"h
 Qoh 4. 1   wA'Er.'Eh_4
 Qoh 4. 7   wA'Er.'E6h
 Dan 8. 2  wA8'Er.'Eh=4
 Dan 8. 2   wA'Er.'Eh_4
 Dan 8. 3   wA'Er.'E3h
 Dan 8.27  wA'E8`.E$E3h
 Dan10. 8  wA8'Er.'E4h
 Neh 1. 4  wA8'Eb.k:E3h
 Neh12.31   wA'a`.alEh_4
 1Ch17. 5  wA8'Eh.yE4h
 1Ch17. 8  wA8'Eh.yE6h
 2Ch 6.10   wA'Eb.nE6h

Henry Churchyard   churchh at

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