[b-hebrew] Basic observations on WAYYIQTOL

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 15 17:58:14 EDT 2005

On 15/08/2005 18:14, Ken Penner wrote:

>Thanks for this, Peter. I have had to bow out of the discussion because it
>was too time-consuming.
>Could you offer some examples of the following:
>>following a stative or continuing action (verbless or YIQTOL) clause 
>>refers to an event taking place while that state or 
>>continuing action is continuing.
Well, we have Gen 18:1-2 which surely implies that Abraham was still 
sitting down (participle) when he looked up (WAYYIQTOL). Then there is 
Genesis 1:2-3 where presumably the Spirit (or whatever) was still 
hovering (participle) over the waters when God spoke (WAYYIQTOL). And 
Job 1:1-2 where we presume that Job was upright (verbless) and fearing 
God (WEYIQTOL) at the time that his children were born (WAYYIQTOL); 
again 1:5-6 where Job used to pray every day (YIQTOL) and still did so 
when the angels presented themselves to God (WAYYIQTOL). 1 Samuel 1:7 is 
hard to interpret, but it was while Peninnah was provoking her (YIQTOL) 
that Hannah started to weep (WAYYIQTOL); in 1:9-10 it is while Eli is 
sitting (participle) and Hannah's soul is bitter (verbless) that Hannah 
prays (WAYYIQTOL).

I am not claiming that this has any specific semantic significance, just 
that this is a regular structure in Hebrew (and in many languages, with 
suitable equivalent verb forms) for moving from description of states or 
habits into the main line of events. This is elementary discourse 
analysis, the recognition of the shift in a discourse from description 
to the main line.

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

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