[b-hebrew] word order

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Thu Dec 1 00:57:41 EST 2005

Hi Peter,

What would you say the "prehistory" of the wayyiqtol form might be, ie 
its process of grammaticalisation?

I'm still sitting on the fence regarding this issue, but here's some of 
my thoughts. I understand prefixes to have often once been independent 
words. If this is true of wayyiqtol (I'm not decided yet), the entire 
form is now bound, sure, but once it may not have been. In other words, 
the fact that the form is now bound, even with a marker of definiteness, 
does not really prove one way or the other regarding whether an 
independent word (whether a marker of definiteness or something else) 
has become attached through regular use to the verb or not.

Now the grammaticalisation path of definite markers seems to be from 
anaphoric demonstratives. Since these deictic words are independent in 
Hebrew, this may point to a time when the prefix was not attached to the 
verb. This would probably be the case for whatever hypothesised word, eg 
'az etc.

Further, the matter may depend on at what stage wayyiqtol became 
grammaticalised, ie before or after the definite article in Hebrew (I'm 
here assuming this article theory for the sake of argument). If before, 
I think we would have to say that an independent word has become bound; 
but if after, we could say that the definite article came to be applied 
to the preterite\jussive verb.

Anyway, there's some thoughts. In the end, I'm not sure if we can prove 
the point from our texts. But stugying this area typologically would 
probably be fruitful. Cynthia Miller has some interesting things to say 
using a typological argument on the emergence of the definite article 
West Semitic; see:

Miller, Cynthia L. "Methodological Issues in Reconstructing Language 
Systems from Epigraphic Fragments." Pages 281-305 in The Future of 
Biblical Archaeology: Reassessing Methodologies and Assumptions. Edited 
by James K. Hoffmeier and Alan Millard. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004.

David Kummerow.

Ps. Dave: I've read your 1994 article and I'm troubled by your 
separation of syntax and semantics.

> On 30/11/2005 23:22, David Kummerow wrote:
>  >...
>  >
>  >2. Peter also suggested that wayyiqtols may be jussive forms without the
>  >the conjunction, a view promoted by DeCaen.
>  >
>  >
> Vice versa, of course. And I don't rule out Herman's idea that there is
> also a definite marker in there. I am not sure whether that definite
> marker would imply that WAYYIQTOL is "a converted (i.e. secondary, not
> basal) form", Dave's description which I questioned.
>  >However, in my opinion the view that Hebrew word order is verb-initial
>  >must at some point deal with the grammaticalised makeup of the wayyiqtol
>  >form. If it is analysed as [conjunction + clitic + preterite verb], it
>  >points to an original X-verb structure, ie verb second, ...
>  >
> No, I dispute this analysis. The definite marker is not a clitic, if
> this is to be understood as a separate component of the sentence which
> has become attached to the verb; rather it is more like a verbal prefix.
>  >... whereas it is
>  >often assumed that wayyiqtol confirms a "VSO" word order, ie verb
>  >initial. But as I said, depending on one's theoretical stance,
>  >[conjunction + clitic + verb] may still be taken as verb initial clause
>  >structure. ...
>  >
> Indeed, it is verb initial, for the "clitic" is simply a prefix.
>  >... Nothing is ever easy...
>  >
>  >
> Indeed!

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list