[b-hebrew] word order

Ken Penner ken.penner at acadiau.ca
Thu Dec 22 10:06:36 EST 2005

In light of recent discussion on Hebrew word order, listers might be interested in the following description of using software to search for various orders of verb, subject, and object.

Ken Penner
PhD cand., DSS Hebrew/McMaster
Post-biblical Hebrew/Acadia

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Peter Kirk
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 7:49 AM
To: Dave Washburn
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] word order

On 25/11/2005 01:05, Dave Washburn wrote:

> ...
>I'm one of them.  I find it amusing that anyone uses a statistical 
>argument for a base order of VSO, because the statistics are heavily 
>skewed by the frequency of the wayyiqtol, which just about everyone 
>agrees is a converted (i.e. secondary, not basal) form. ...

I'm not one of them. And I would have thought "just about everyone" is an exaggeration. An alternative view which I thought was quite widely accepted is that WAYYIQTOL is in fact a more original and ancient form, an old proto-Semitic verb form, to which is attached the vav marking the clause boundary. Because this form adheres to the original VSO word order and is not used in secondary constructions in which the verb has moved, the vav has become inseparable. - or perhaps jussives are WAYYIQTOLs without their vav. I don't claim that this is necessarily true, but I have seen no clear evidence that WAYYIQTOL is secondary, rather than primary and reflecting the original dominant Hebrew word order.

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

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