[b-hebrew] WAV Conjunction

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat May 29 14:49:09 EDT 2004

On Saturday 29 May 2004 08:57, wattswestmaas wrote:
> Hello board members,  I do not want to open a fiery debate about the
> infamous use of the WAV conjunction/consecutive since I have read many of
> your hot debates about this matter.
> What I really would like to appreciate is this: WHY is the tense of the
> classical hebrew verb, for the greater part, dictated by this one letter
> prefix.  While I understand that classical hebrew really only exists in the
> PERFECT and IMPERFECT 'idea'  --  I wondered if there was some explanation
> for the central position that this WAV occupies in the hebraic thinking of
> 'time'?  Past, present and future tenses seem such a logical way to
> ravel  --  but is this really a MODERN CONCEPT in language?
> I know that context plays a part in determining 'time' but this 'context'
> is an emphasis used in the translation process.  The hebrews did not need
> to translate but simply 'understand'.  The WAV plays a hugely important
> role and one that IRONICALLY leads to quite some debate rather than clarity
> in translation.

While I don't necessarily buy the idea that the prefix denotes time per se, it 
is precisely this feature, i.e. the way that it changes the force of the verb 
in some major way, that has led me to conclude that the WA. 
(waw-patah-dagesh, i.e. next letter doubled) is not a conjunction at all, but 
a distinct syntactical prefix that superficially happens to resemble the 
conjunction.  Boiling that down to plain English, I don't think it's a 
conjunction, I think it's a separate prefix that serves specific syntactic 

Dave Washburn
Learning about Christianity from a non-Christian
is like getting a kiss over the telephone.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list