[b-hebrew] Hebrew grammar, (was Zech 6:8)

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Thu Dec 1 15:40:34 EST 2005


On 01/12/2005 20:03, Herman Meester wrote:

> ...
>
>This is getting tricky.. are we moving toward a discussion on who are
>more conservative, Bedouin nomads or sedentary Egyptians? ;) ...
>  
>

I am not simply speculating, but basing my thoughts on half-remembered 
actual studies of language change among various populations.

...

>About your latter remark, I have been in Sharm once, and I usually
>heard people say something like "Sharm esh-Sheykh", I didn't hear the
>"L" I think. If they use the "L"-sound, I'd say it's for the tourists'
>convenience? Anyway, I didn't stay because I couldn't afford the
>hotel, so I went on straight to "Jebel Musa" ;)
>I love the Sinai desert, by the way.
>
>  
>
So do I. And I also didn't stay long in Sharm, so you may be right that 
the locals actually assimilate.

> ...
>
>However, what is your comment on the at-tarika vs. iltaqaa example?
>That, too, is illustrative. I don't think dissimilation has to happen
>in every case of gemination, as you suggest we should expect. The
>difference with other geminations in Arabic is that the "article" is a
>gemination of the first consonant, whereas other geminations usually
>occur in the second or third consonant of a word (stem II/V, IX).
>  
>

I think the examples of at-tarika, iltaqaa, hammaal etc show us that 
neither assimilation nor dissimilation is a purely phonological rule, or 
at least that the contexts are rather complex. But this is a matter for 
experts on Arabic, and neither of us is.
...

>
>But is there an essential reason why the "primary prefix gemination
>leads to Wayyqtl" theory would be more probable or less probable,
>depending of the kind of Yiqtol "inside" Wayyqtl? If the apocopated
>yiqtol was selected for forming the Wayyqtl tense, can we do anything
>other than just take that for granted? Obviously, the loose apocopated
>yiqtol really differs from Wayyqtl.
>
>  
>
No, your theory works equally well if it is based on the short rather 
than the long YIQTOL. The only puzzle that I see is how the original 
short yaqtul preterite, without vav, has become a jussive in Hebrew - 
but that is a semantic problem, not a phonological or morphological one.
...

>
>I think I agree with you. But then we still have the big problem: how
>can *wa-yaqtulu (or *wa-yaqtul) lead to both wayyiqtol *and*
>we-yiqtol?
>I guess, even if we have to assume there was a preterite yiqtol
>(*yaqtul), that when the distinction between the several yiqtols got
>blurred (when short end vowels fell off) and the preterite yiqtol
>started looking a lot like other yiqtols, the prefix gemination
>apparantly took over the job of given expression to what the preterite
>yiqtol (*yaqtul) had done before.
>  
>

My tentative answer is somewhat different: short yaqtul acquired the 
definite prefix and the vav to form wayyiqtol before the distinction 
between yaqtul and yaqtulu was lost, before short final vowels were lost 
- which may actually have been quite late, even after the biblical books 
were written, as the short final vowel would not have been reflected in 
consonantal writing.

An alternative tentative answer is that when the distinction between 
yaqtul and yaqtulu started to disappear speakers started to stress and 
so geminate the start of yaqtul simply to keep it distinct from 
yaqtul(u). But that idea turns the gemination into a phonological 
phenomenon rather than a definite morpheme, and loses the link to the 
definite article. Or I suppose they could have started adding the 
definite article to the start of yaqtul to distinguish it from 
yaqtul(u), which seems at first like the same thing but makes it into a 
morphological change rather than a phonological one.

>  
>
>>>One concluding remark on word order: this is best studied by writing a
>>>syntax of only those passages in BHebrew prose that clearly represent
>>>direct speech.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>      
>>>
>>Possibly, but that would skew the analysis of German and Dutch because
>>subordinate clauses are rare in direct speech.
>>    
>>
>
>I don't agree with you here, I think subordinate clauses are not so
>rare in Dutch, and certainly not in German. I speak the former daily,
>the latter I'm not so fluent in, but I think I can safely say that if
>we analyse direct speech in both, we will find a lot of "if..",
>"when..." "whenever...", "unless.." type of clauses in these two
>languages.
>
>  
>
OK. But my real point is more general, that restricting analysis to 
direct speech may skew the selection of clause types.



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




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