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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sat Nov 27 13:06:51 EST 2004

On 27/11/2004 17:01, Rolf Furuli wrote:

> ...
> I am very sceptical to Russian examples used to illuminate classical 
> Hebrew, because what is called the imperfective and perfective aspects 
> in Russian are more like Aktionsart than aspects.  For example, 
> "habituality" is not an aspectual quality in my definition of Hebrew 
> aspects, but is a function of aspect + Aktionsart +possibly context.  
> Peter Kirk may have more to say about this, because he knows both 
> Russian and Hebrew.
Rolf, since you ask me to comment:

First I will say that there are points of similarity between Russian 
aspect and the Hebrew distinction between on the one hand QATAL and 
WAYYIQTOL (short form where there is a distinction possible), and on the 
other hand YIQTOL (long form without WAY-) WEQATAL. (Rolf, I don't 
expect you to agree.) But the similarity is certainly not perfect e.g. 
it seems to me that Hebrew YIQTOL covers habitual and iterative past and 
present and any future, whereas in Russian future which is not habitual 
or iterative is perfective. So I agree with you that the factor 
distinguishing between Hebrew verb forms is not the same as Russian aspect.

But when you say

> what is called the imperfective and perfective aspects in Russian are 
> more like Aktionsart than aspects

I am forced to differ. For linguists, the canonical definition of 
"aspect" is based on Russian, and the word "aspect" is itself a 
translation of the Russian grammatical term "vid". If you have 
discovered a linguistic feature X which is so different from Russian 
aspect that you are forced to say that "aspects in Russian are more like 
Aktionsart than X", the implication is that X is not aspect but 
something different. Don't play down your discovery by trying to 
redefine the term "aspect" to mean your X. So you need a new term for X. 
Perhaps you should call it "the Furuli factor" or something like that. 
:-)  But it is clearly something different from aspect.

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

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