[b-hebrew] VERBS. Was " masorete pointing v's LLXtransliterations"

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Jul 26 18:50:18 EDT 2005

On 26/07/2005 23:17, Rolf Furuli wrote:

> ...
>I will argue that the perfective aspect in English is expressed by perfect
>(and not by simple past, which is a tense). When I say, "Elsie has walked in
>the garden," what I make visible is the the end of the action. We know that
>the action had a beginning, and we know that it progressed over some time, 
>only the end is made visible.  This is the perfective aspect.

As a mother tongue speaker of English, I consider that this is a 
misunderstanding of the English present perfect (which may be subtly 
different from its Norwegian counterpart here). I would say "Elsie has 
walked in the garden" normally if I have found some evidence for her 
presence there, such as something she has dropped. But that does not 
imply that she has stopped walking in the garden, she may be still there 
but hidden, or this may be a continuing regular activity. In fact all we 
know for certain is that the action has STARTED.

>The English aspectual system is very simple. The opposition is 
>uncompleted/completed, and when the imperfective aspect is used (present 
>participle) we know that the action was not concluded at reference time (at 
>the small area of event time that we make visible for the audience). And 
>when the perfective aspect is used (perfect) we know that the action was 
>completed at reference time.

The system is not as simple as that. The perfect is not a simple 
perfective aspect. I won't try to explain further, because this is a 
forum for Hebrew, not English. But this does illustrate how hard it is 
to grasp aspectual systems in a language which is not one's mother 
tongue, even for someone as competent in English as Rolf. And I don't 
think anyone today knows biblical Hebrew as well as Rolf knows English.

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

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