[b-hebrew] 998 non-past wyyqtl's, Dave

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Wed Dec 1 16:08:21 EST 2004

On Wednesday 01 December 2004 13:22, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 01/12/2004 19:47, Dave Washburn wrote:
> >Hi Bryan,
> >
> >On Wednesday 01 December 2004 12:13, B. M. Rocine wrote:
> >
> >
> > ...
> >
> >>Take paraphrasing with wayyiqtol as an example of "crossing the white
> >>line." When a second wayyiqtol paraphrases or is identicle an earlier
> >> one, the writer and reader's shared world knowledge cooperate with the
> >> meaning of the wayyiqtol.  Writer and reader know the same event doesn't
> >> happen twice. Writer and reader both realize we are back-looping with
> >> the second wayyiqtol to cover the same sequence again.
> >
> >Let me be sure of one thing here: are you indicating that such a
> > "crossing" is deliberate on the part of the speaker or writer?  To
> > continue your analogy, in general when someone crosses that line, they do
> > it on purpose, and for what they consider to be a good reason ...
> I'm not sure that I like this traffic laws analogy. Sure, it explains
> why people don't always follow the rules. But it also implies that there
> is some set of prescriptive rules of language which people consciously
> break. But there were no prescriptive rules in biblical times, which
> people could get in trouble for breaking. There was just a set of
> conventions.

That's true in any language.  There are "purists" who want to say that this or 
that rule is hard and fast and if you violate it you're a dullard, but almost 
nobody listens to them (true even in the days of Attic Greek).  I usually 
state it this way: words mean what they mean because a society chooses to use 
them that way.  The same could be said of grammatical conventions: clauses in 
language X are structured in sequence Y because somewhere along the way, the 
society that adopted that language agreed, implicitly or explicitly, to do it 
that way.  Obviously, such conventions can change over time; witness the 
shift in Middle English from VSO to SVO under the influence of the conquering 
French.  But for such things to take hold, a large segment of the society has 
to accept them as at least somewhat prescriptive, or communication becomes 
tenuous at best, impossible at worst.  In that sense, yes, there was a set of 
"prescriptive rules of language" even in OT times, otherwise, they would have 
had an awful time trying to talk to each other.

> Perhaps a better analogy would be that people don't go to weddings and
> funerals in jeans or to the beach in a tux, although it is nowhere
> written down that you mustn't. At least, usually they don't. If you find
> someone breaking such rules, there may be a good reason, or it may just
> be that someone is being eccentric, or doesn't understand the
> conventions. So you are wasting your time trying to find explanations
> for every last case. And if you go back to insisting that such social
> rules are meaningful (or semantic) only if there are no exceptions, you
> have to conclude that there are no meaningful rules.

I didn't hear anybody insist on this.................

Dave Washburn
"No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk

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