[b-hebrew] Tenses and aspects; was: footnotes

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 8 17:32:54 EDT 2005


On 08/08/2005 20:01, Vadim Cherny wrote:

> ...
>
>>Vadim, you clearly don't have a clue about how professional translation
>>is done.
>>
>>    
>>
>
>I didn't - before I realized--with shagrin--that yours and Rolf's views on
>translation are not bizarre, but common.
>
>  
>
Well, Vadim, my views on translation are totally opposed to Rolf's. But 
both his views and mine are quite common. About the only thing we agree 
on relative to this thread is that Hebrew does not have tenses.

> ...
>
>>Do you know more about Burmese than the professional linguists who state
>>that it has no tenses?
>>
>>    
>>
>
>I have no idea about Burmese, but your other two examples, Arabic and
>Chinese, were plain wrong. But I really, really doubt that those Burmese
>folks have no idea of time, and thus don't have tenses. Most likely, they
>have tense constructs (like Chinese) instead of affixes.
>
>  
>
Well, probably Burmese, like Chinese, indicates time by added adverbs 
etc rather than grammaticalised tense. And probably Hebrew does more or 
less the same. Of course they have an idea of time, but they don't link 
that to a grammatical category.

>>Of course Hebrew had some obvious adverbial devices for stating clearly
>>whether an event was past, present or future if necessary.
>>
>>    
>>
>
>Come on. They are so rare. Phrases like "yesterday he say" are few, if any.
>If Hebrew affixes form aspects, not tenses, then Tanakh--and Hebrew thought
>of the time--practically did not employ tenses.
>
>  
>
In most cases the time is clear from the context. For example, the 
entire narrative of a historical book must be past. And in such cases 
there is no need for a specifying adverb, so none is written. Isn't this 
also true of Chinese?

-- 
Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
http://www.qaya.org/




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