[b-hebrew] The perspective of this native speaker of Modern Hebrew of Biblical Hebrew tenses

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Sat Nov 27 19:15:05 EST 2004

Thanks for the clarification.  I understand what you meant now...

On Saturday 27 November 2004 13:44, Rolf Furuli wrote:
> Dear Dave,
> Thank you for your post.  See my comments below.
> Dave Washburn wrote:
> >On Saturday 27 November 2004 02:07, Rolf Furuli wrote:
> >
> >Rolf,
> >[snip]
> >
> >>It is true that Indo-European scholars have imposed upon classical
> >>Hebrew their definitions of aspect, but it is my impression that most
> >>modern Israeli scholars have done exactly the same, not with aspect,
> >>which they reject, but with tense.  When you say that the
> >>perfective/imperfective distinction work about half the time, you are
> >>correct.  But note that this is when you apply English aspectual
> >>distinctions to classical Hebrew.  And this is a cardinal error in
> >>Hebrew studies, to assume that aspect is one and the same thing in all
> >>aspectual languages, namely, the opposition incomplete/completed or
> >>incomplete/complete!  I am not aware of a singly scholarly study that
> >>presents a different view.
> >
> >Then you haven't read either my paper (Hebrew Studies 1994) or Galia
> > Hatav's monograph, because we both take different views.  Hers in
> > particular addresses your questions about aspect, R-time, and all the
> > rest.  While I don't agree with her in all respects, I found her approach
> > to be a real breath of fresh air, and was able to make some modifications
> > of my own theory based on it.
> >
> >snip
> >
> >In any case, I heartily commend Galia Hatav's book to you as you continue
> > your thought-provoking research.
> I should have stressed in my words above that I spoke about new
> *definitions* (semantic meaning) of the aspects different from
> "incomplete/completed" and "incomplete/complete", and not about new or
> adjusted *uses* (conversational pragmatic implicture).  I have a copy of
> Galia's paper in my library, and in my dissertation I argue against her
> view that a WAYYIQTOL always give a new R-time (The same is done by J.
> A. Cook, 2002).  While Galia present different new viewpoints, she does
> not present a new definition of the aspects.
> A big advantage of her study is that she distinguishes between aspect
> and Aktionsart (p. 2), something which Comrie, on whom she often leans
> does not do.  This is very fine.  Regarding aspect she says (p. 6):
> "The aspect, on the other hand, plays a major role in the verbal system
> of BH.  Thus the crucial temporal relations in BH are those holding
> between the situations and their R-times.  The aspects will define: a)
> sequentiality; b) inclusion (=progressive); and c) perfect."  If I
> understand her correctly, b) is almost identical with "incomplete," and
> c) is almost identical with "completed" (though she mentions the
> "parasitic" use of  QATAL, p. 9).  True, she stresses sequentiality, but
> this is a pragmatic and not a semantic property.  She also stresses
> modality, but that is something in addition to b) and c) and does not
> invalidate these two points.  Others who define the aspects as
> "incomplete/completed" make use of modality as well.
> Galia shows that English may use tenses where Hebrew uses aspects and
> says (p. 9): "To conclude, the English and BH perfects are not
> identical, but they both share the "parasitic" nature and many of the
> temporal and pragmatic functions." It is true that Galia argues that the
> *use* of the Hebrew aspects in some respects are different from the use
> in English.  But I am not able to find a new definition of the meaning
> of the Hebrew aspects compared with the English ones in her work.
> Best regards
> Rolf Furuli
> University of Oslo
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Dave Washburn
"No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk

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