[b-hebrew] VERBS

Ken Penner pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Wed Jul 27 10:06:31 EDT 2005

> >Were the examples below intended as counter-examples to my 
> statements? (They are not.)

> Yes, they were intended as such. Please explain why they are not.

> >>"All singing, all dancing" as a description of a product (e.g. 
> >>http://www.cdrinfo.com/Sections/News/Details.aspx?NewsId=13356)?

I am unclear about what the "singing" might refer to in this article, but I
don't see that it excludes change or duration. Are you suggesting that when
it "sings" nothing is happening? Or that it is instantaneous?

> >>"'Is that true?" he asked. 'No', he continued"? (OK, it takes 
> >>a finite 
> >>time to utter even the short word "No", but very few of 
> even the most 
> >>punctiliar verbs are actually strictly instantaneous.)

It seems to me that the event that is continued is the speech begun by the
previous statement, "Is it true?" It extends the event to include the new
statement, "No." One might argue that during the pause between the two
statements, the speaker was not "continuing," but in that case the "No"
would be a resumption, not a continuation of the speech. It is true that in
order for the continuation to be considered durative, the second part of the
event must cover a span of time. One could continue blinking, but only if
there was more than one blink. So the continuation is durative because the
statement "No" covers a span of time, even if it is very short.

> >>"She is always creating a fuss"?

How do you interpret this one? Is there one "fuss" that is constantly in the
process of being created but which never actually comes into existence, or
several repeated "fusses" each coming into existence at a different time? I
think the latter, in other words, "she repeatedly creates fusses." At the
point the fuss exists, the event of creating has reached its telic point.
One could argue that that once created, the fuss must be maintained for a
span of time, thereby extending the telic point to a telic span. I am
willing to consider that possibility. But creating is still a telic event;
it is building up to something. Contrast a non-telic event, "He is always
twiddling his thumbs."

Ken Penner
Dissertation: Qumran Hebrew Verb Form Semantics (Hebrew tense, aspect, and
modality between the Bible and the Mishnah).

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