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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Nov 28 15:41:34 EST 2004

On 27/11/2004 22:29, Rolf Furuli wrote:

> ...
> The data above includes only WAYYIQTOLs.  The table which the comments 
> above relates to, refers to  715 WAYYIQTOLs of 1st person 
> singular/plural.  Of these, 101 have a paragogic he ("cohortative"),  
> 51 are apocopated; 103 could have been apocopated but are not; and 460 
> could not be apocopated.  This shows clearly that non-apocopation was 
> the trend for 1st person-forms; the opposite of what we would expect 
> if a short form was sought whenever possible because the antecedent 
> was a short  YAQTUL.
Does this in fact apply to WAYYIQTOLs, which for the first person start 
vav-qamats-alef or vav-patah-nun-dagesh? I can only find 669 words 
starting with these combinations, and very likely some of them are not 
verbs at all. So what are the otherat least 46? Does you in fact also 
include WEYIQTOL forms, in which the vav is generally pointed with sheva?

I ask because it seems that the otherwise rare WEYIQTOL form is 
relatively common in the 1st person singular. For example, I looked at 
these forms of the common (&H or `asah "do", in 1st person singular 
only. I found:

11 examples which start with vav-sheva and are not apocopated, and all 
seem to have future or modal meaning (GEN 35:3; EXO 32:10; NUM 14:12; 
DEU 9:14; 12:30; 1SA 20:4; 2SA 9:1,3; 24:12; 1CH 21:10; NEH 6:13) - 
these are clearly WEYIQTOL forms;

5 examples which start with vav-qamats and are apocopated, and 
apparently have past meaning (DEU 10:3; EZK 12:7; 20:9,22; 24:18) - 
these are WAYYIQTOL forms;

2 examples which start with vav-qamats and are not apocopated, and have 
past meaning (EZK 20:14; DAN 8:27). These are indeed non-apocopated 
WAYYIQTOL forms, but it is interesting that they are both in late books, 
and that only one of the five examples in Ezekiel is not apocopated.

These are all the words in the Hebrew Bible written consonantally as 
vav-alef-ayin-shin and vav-alef-ayin-shin-he.

Tentative conclusion: in the first person, WEYIQTOL forms are not 
apocopated, but WAYYIQTOL forms are mostly but not always apocopated. 
Does your data contradict this?

So I started a further search and found 143 words starting with 
vav-qamats-alef and ending with he. These will include most but not all 
of the non-apocopated 1st person singular WAYYIQTOLs, as well as cases 
of. These also include a large number of cases of paragogic he, i.e. he 
added on after the end of the normal verb root, the opposite of 
apocopation (and common practice with the cohortative). I don't have 
time to look at all of these, but it is interesting that the huge 
majority of both non-apocopated forms and paragogic hes are in the books 
from Ezra onwards, in the English Bible order, in other words generally 
either late or poetic books. There are only two of them in the 
Pentateuch: DEU 1:16,18. This suggests that there is a late tendency to 
add paragogic he to first person WAYYIQTOLs by analogy with cohortatives.

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

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