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

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Sat Nov 27 09:33:30 EST 2004

Hi Rolf, May I comment on the 998 non-past wayyiqtols?  First, I applaud 
your recognition of them.

You wrote:

> I agree with your comments regarding the use of WAYYIQTOL and QATAL in 
> past contexts, with one exception.  There are several examples of 
> WAYYIQTOL with non-past reference (at least 998).

I have not rigorously studied these 998 as a set, but I have noticed many of 
them and will credit you 998 or more.  I do not grant that the 998 negate a 
perfective meaning for the wyyqtl form.  In short, I would explain them as a 
writer's linguistic option for embedding a sequence into a modal context (I 
am including predictive texts as modal).  This explanation allows the 
possibility that the wayyiqtol form is semantically aspectually perfective 
even though 998 refer to the non-past.

Hopper gives the following example from Russian:

...Peasants returning from the city whipped (impfv.) their horses and rushed 
by (impfv.) in silence past these regualarly distributed figures with their 
highly felonious appearance.  The soxoz managers and the authorities rumbled 
by (impfv.) on carts and demostrably showed (impfv.) the colonists their 
double-barrelled and sawed-off shotguns, while people on foot stopped 
(impfv.) at the bridge and waited (impfv.) for other travellers.
While I was around the colonists never misbehaved (impfv.) or bothered 
(impfv.) the travellers, but when I wasn't they allowed (impfv.) themselves 
some dirty tricks, so that soon Zadarov refused (pfv.) to take the revolver 
and demanded (pfv.) that I absolutely had to spend time out on the road.  So 
I began (pfv.) to go out with every detachment, but still gave (impfv.) the 
revolver to Zadorov, so as not to deprive him of deserved pleasure.

Hopper's comment, "The habitual actions here do not come to an end with the 
event verbs 'refused', 'demanded', and 'began', but are thought of as 
on-going.  The three perfective verbs, however, are sequenced among 
themselves, and in fact the morphological difference between perfective and 
imperfective is a clear signal that these, and only these, events are 
presented as sequenced, and that they are not sequenced with respect to the 
imperfective verbs."

p. 10 "Aspect Between Discourse and Grammar" from   _Tense-Aspect: Between 
Semantics and Pragmatics_, ed. Hopper.  Amsterdam/Phila.: John Benjamins, 

Here's an example from the Hebrew Bible:
TNK Proverbs 31:14-15 She is (qtl) like a merchant fleet, Bringing (yqtl) 
her food from afar. 15 She rises (wayyqtl) while it is still night, And 
supplies (wayyqtl) provisions for her household, The daily fare of her 

Shalom, Bryan

B. M. Rocine
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13206

ph: 315.437.6744
fx: 315.437.6766

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