[b-hebrew] Paper uploaded: Tagging Hebrew Tense, Aspect, Mood

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Fri Dec 12 08:04:33 EST 2003

>===== Original Message From pennerkm at mcmaster.ca =====
>I am seeking feedback on a paper entitled "Toward a Method of Tagging Hebrew
>Tense, Aspect, and Mood." http://s91279732.onlinehome.us/thesis/TMA.pdf

"Yet because most agree that a waw prefix somehow changes ("converts") the 
meaning of the conjugations, there are at least four basic verb forms, and 
perhaps six if a formal distinction can be made between simple conjunctive waw 
and conversive waw." (p. 7)

A couple of thoughts here. First, it is probably not correct to say that "most 
agree" on the notion of a vav-conversive, at least not for the vayyiqtol form. 
The term temds to be abandoned in favor of vav-consecutive, preterite, or in 
the case of my teacher Doug Gropp, narrative. The point is that it is believed 
to be a historically distinct prefixing conjugation, which only happens to 
converge with the imperfect because of final vowel loss. The vav is not 
converting anything--it only helps to mark where this old preterite form has 
been preserved in Hebrew. (Prefixing preterites without the vav are thought to 
appear mostly in poetry by convention, and in a few conditioned prose 
contexts.) I don't think most people who hold this sort of view would want it 
lumped in with the vav-conversive notion.

I'm not sure the independent clause is right either. The imperative, jussive, 
and cohortative seem to be omitted from consideration here. Even if you 
disagree with the evidence for a formally distinct jussive, the independent 
imperative form is beyond question. I don't know, either, that anyone would 
consider conjunctive vav to establish a unique verb form. It's simply a vav 
with a verb, and the verb would normally be analyzed as if the conjunction 
were not there.

p. 9--Why not use the standard Semitic letter-abbreviations for the binyanim? 
It doesn't make a great deal of difference, I suppose, but I don't see much 
point in creating your own abbreviations, when perfectly workable standards 
already exist?

p. 11--In the section on Genre, "P or Prescriptive" is presumably a typo.

p. 12--As I recall, Maedchen actually has variable gender these days. It used 
to be neuter, but it has shifted in the direction of feminine.

p. 13 (line 6)--"I describe of each" is presumably a typo.

Trevor Peterson

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