[b-hebrew] Basic observations on WAYYIQTOL

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sat Aug 20 20:11:46 EDT 2005

On 20/08/2005 22:58, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

>On 8/19/05, Peter Kirk wrote:
>>But I realised another reason why I would take this as QATAL rather than
>>a participle: in participial clauses the participle is generally
>>preceded by an explicit subject, as in v.1, whereas here the subject
>>follows the ambiguous form. But I am not sure off hand how general this
>>rule is.
>I wonder if there is a way to compare how many times the sequence
>QATAL vs VERB as participle in the Bible.
Well, this would need a well marked up text and better software than I have.

>>Agreed. In fact I would suggest a contrastive focus on the cattle,
>>contrasted with the flour and bread which were Sarah's concern.
>>Contrastive focus in narrative is commonly marked by a fronted element
>>before a QATAL verb. And this probable analysis seems to me another
>>reason to prefer to understand the verb as QATAL.
>In light of this, I would read such a QATAL as parallel to the previous
>action since "contrastive focus" appears to me to be a form of 
>parallelism.  That is, by forming a textual unit from the text "Abraham said 
>this to Sarah to do, and Abraham did this himself," the text appears to me 
>to reference actions occuring simultaneously rather than in sequence.
I agree that this is a form of parallelism, but not that the semantic 
parallel is necessarily in the syntax. In this case there is a clear 
simultaneity between Sarah making bread and Abraham preparing the meat 
and dairy products. (It is interesting that he served them together, not 
exactly kosher!) And it is probably here that the contrastive focus, 
parallelism and simultaneity should be found, rather than in the 
strictly syntactic parallelism between the WAYYIQTOL "he said" and the 
QATAL, or participle, "he ran".

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

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