[b-hebrew] A Reply - WAV question

furuli at online.no furuli at online.no
Sun May 30 02:03:34 EDT 2004

Dear Vadim,

A six year old English girl masters her mother tongue with the 
aspects, tenses and moods without knowing a single grammatical rule. 
A Hebrew girl in the 1st millennium B. C. E. would master her 
language in a similar way.  Both would learn their language the 
natural way from informants (parents and friends). When we try to 
describe a dead language by way of induction without informants, we 
sometimes come up with rather complex rules. That does not make the 
language itself complex, but we, who describe the dead language by 
the help of a second language, need to write such a grammar. So, the 
simple thoughts of the Hebrew girl helped her to master her language, 
the rather complex definitions of aspect and mood help us to 
understand her language.

Best regards

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

>You're talking of the people who wouldn't even understand a notion of
>perfect tense. Those were very simple folks. Don't ascribe to them a love to
>modern grammar.
>Vadim Cherny

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