[b-hebrew] Verbs

B. M. Rocine brocine at twcny.rr.com
Thu Jul 28 18:17:08 EDT 2005

Hi Rolf,  my questions and comments are at the bottom.

Rolf Furuli wrote:

<noted and snipped>

> My examples below represent "academic translation," and is no final product.
> They were made while I wrote this post, and the purpose was to give a broad
> illustration of one side of Bible translation that would be influenced by my
> dissertation,
> namely the choice of English tenses.

<noted and snipped>

 > 53:12 For that reason I will give him a portion (YIQTOL) among the 
many, and
 > with the mighty ones he will divide (YIQTOL)  the spoil.  Because he will
 > let his soul be poured out (QATAL)  to death, and will let himself be
 > counted (QATAL) among transgressors.  He himself will carry (QATAL) 
the sins
 > of many people, and he will make intercession (YIQTOL) for the
 > transgressors.
 > Because I chose a future setting, most of the verbs have been 
translated by
 > future. If the setting is viewed as past, the same verbs would have been
 > translated by past, or sometimes by perefect.  This means that 
according to
 > my system, the conjugations have very little to tell us about the 
 > references of the verbs.  The temporal references must be construed 
on the
 > basis of the context.  The traditional way of translation leads the 
 > through a confusing zig-zag journey, QATALs and WAYYIQTOLs are 
translated by
 > past or perfect and YIQTOLs and WEQATALs by future. For example, look 
at the
 > two last clauses of 53:12, where we find one QATAL and one YIQTOL. Many
 > modern translations give these two verbs the same temporal reference
 > (perhaps in most cases past reference).  But if a QATAL and a YIQTOL can
 > have past reference in these two clauses, why cannot the same be true
 > throughout the whole text?


Okay.  I follow you.  Your English translation demonstrates what you 
have consistently claimed on this list for years now, that the finite 
verb forms are *not* tenses, i.e. they do not grammaticalize past, 
non-past, present, or future.

I wish you could demonstrate for us what, in your model, the verb forms 
*do* bring to the passage.  I assume the writer is choosing a form for a 
reason.  Do you agree?  If so the forms themselves are meaningful.  At 
least the forms may guide us through the text.  If so, can we capture 
the message of the Hebrew verb forms in, for example, an English 
translation of Isaiah 53:12?

Thanks in advance,
Bryan Rocine

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