[b-hebrew] Psa 107:19-21 (was WAYYIQTOL)

furuli at online.no furuli at online.no
Sun Mar 14 14:18:31 EST 2004

Peter Kirk wrote,

>Rolf, I do not attempt to prove that ALL cases of WAYYIQTOL 
>necessarily advance the R-time, because according to my arguments 
>yesterday, which you chose not to answer, a distinction can be 
>semantically significant without applying in 100% of cases. I note 
>this partly by reference to a similar Azerbaijani construction which 
>is usually but not always sequential, and in certain contexts 
>contrasts semantically with an alternative non-sequential 
>construction. Nevertheless, I consider that you have been too hasty 
>in listing the following WAYYIQTOLs as non-sequential.

>Peter Kirk
>peter at qaya.org (personal)
>peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

Dear Peter,

I would like to clear up one point, which is important:

In principle a single contra-example is enough to falsify a claim. 
Provided that "came" is simple past, a clause like "I came to-morrow" 
would be impossible. If such a clause were grammatical, it would show 
that "came" is not a past tense. Whereas one contra-example *in 
principle* falsifies a claim, the real world is so complicated -and 
particularly dead  languages- that one example is not enough.  When I 
ask whether a characteristic is a semantic part of a verb form, I 
will accept exceptions, provided that they are given plausible 
linguistic explanations.  There are for example hypothetical 
conditional clauses, and there are different genres where an 
exceptional use of words can occur. But again, any claim must be 
explained, and arguments such as "the language of poetry is different 
from that of prose, and therefore a verb form has another meaning in 
poetry than in prose"   are not acceptable.

As to "a reasonable number" of contra-examples, in my data base there 
are 956 QATALs with future reference (less than 5 % are equivalent to 
English future perfect) and 997 WAYYIQTOLs with non-past reference. 
Your critical mind would of course discard a number of these, but 
more than enough would remain and show that the traditional views of 
QATAL and WAYYIQTOL do not hold. So these numbers would in my view be 
"a reasonable number" of contra-examples.

As to sequentiality, the simple conjunction "and" would in a 
narrative context normally signal sequentiality. so there is no need 
to apply sequentiality to the form WAYYIQTOL.

Best regards


Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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