[b-hebrew] The Explicative use of wayyiqtol (To John Cook ): some clarifying questions

moon at sogang.ac.kr moon at sogang.ac.kr
Sat Apr 22 18:52:11 EDT 2006


John, thanks for the kind answers. Let me ask some clarifying questions.

 
[Cook]
a) I do not claim to have completely explicated the verb in Num 1:48. If it were easily solved we would not be discussing it, and we can multiply many more interesting examples such as it. I do think that the verb makes reference to a subnarrative in which God commands Moses not to number the Levites and he doesn't. The difficulty is, arguably, that we only have one action of a narrative, whereas most would define a narrative as a sequence of actions. Unfortunately, the next action in the subnarrative would logically be a negative one---Moses did not number them. The solution is not perfect, admittedly, but it is satisfactory I think. 


=> I assume that Num 1:48 is an isolated WAYYIQTOL. If we want to talk about a subnarrative,
therefore,  we should talk about an one-event subnarrative. "The next action in the subnarrative --
Moses did not number them" exists only implicitly, right? 

Also, could you please tell me some instances where X+QATAL is explained by a subnarrative consisting of more than one WAYYIQTOLs.  I am not talking about instances where X+QATAL establishes a setting for a subnarrative consisting of more than one WAYYIQTOLs.

[Cook]
b) I can't really respond well to your second point because I don't agree with your premise. You are presuming X-QATAL serves various purposes (a la Niccacci it would seem) and then wondering why my explanation does not fit your presumption. It is simply because I don't buy into Niccacci's discourse approach to the BH verbal system. 

=> OK. But we can accept the phenomenon that X+QATAL is either connected to the previous sequence or  starts a new sequence by establishing a new setting. Also, it seems that in the former case,  X is  a fronted topic or a fronted focus. When X is a brand-new entity, X+QATAL is typically used to establish a new setting for a new sequence.  I said that WLABAN NATAN
does not to fit in the context of  Gen 29:23-25a, 28-30a, because 
the context does not provide any motivation to make LABAN a fronted topic or a fronted focus,
nor  WLABAN NATAN would establish a new setting for the following sequence.

I think you know instances where X + QATAL is used even if the two contexts mentioned
above do not apply? Could you tell me some?
   
[Cook]
c) I'm glad you find Hatav's system satisfying. I admire much in her discussion. However, her treatment of WAYYIQTOL is a "tighter jacket" than mine (to use your phrase). Not only does Hatav (1997) claim that WAYYIQTOL always introduces a new R-time (i.e., is temporally successive), but she claims that QATAL does not. In addition, although not explicit about this, she seems to follow her teacher Reinhart (1984) who assumes that temporal succession and foregrounding are mutually implicating, which would mean that Hatav and Reinhart claim that WAYYIQTOL is both temporally successive and foregrounding in every instance.

=> Hatav could have been clearer on this point. But the semantic value she seems to attach to 
WAYYIQTOL is that it always introduces a new R-time rather than using an pre-established
one. It is "sequential" ONLY in the sense that it introduces a new R-time. Usually,
the new R-time is after the previous event, but it does not need to. Temporal successtion and
foregrounding are only "pragmatic" derivatives of this R-time introducing behavior. In this sense
Hatav's scheme is "less tight" a jacket than yours which explicitly attaches a "pragmatic"
value of foregrounding to  WAYYIQTOL. I hope I am clearer.

[Cook]
I have a long-overdue forthcoming article in JANES responding to Joosten's earlier JANES article in this regard.

=> Could I read a pre-print of this paper? 

Best wishes on your continued investigation of this intriguing matters. 

=> Thanks. 

Sincerely Moon  Jung
Professor
Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea
 

___________________ 
John A. Cook 
Editor, Eisenbrauns 
574-269-2011 ext. 240 



> ------------------------------ 
> 
> Message: 2 
> Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 13:04:57 +0900 (KST) 
> From: <moon at sogang.ac.kr> 
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] The Explicative use of wayyiqtol (To John 
> Cook) 
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org 
> Message-ID: <18606414.1145592297189.JavaMail.root at mail> 
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII 
> 
> Dear John, 
> 
> many thanks for your answers to my post. I read your JSS article, and I enjoyed it very much. 
> 
> It makes a lot of sense that temporal succession is not explicitly marked in most 
> languages, and what is marked is DEPARTURE from the default temporal succession. 
> Your paper made this fact quite clear. 
> 
> But it is not easy for me to understand your new claim that WAYYIQTOL is a verb form for 
> "foreground" information in the narrative. I sort of feel that your proposal is also "over-committed" 
> claiming more about WAYYIQTOL than it bears, like the claim that WAYYIQTOL 
> inherently marks temporal succession. 
> 
> 
> Let's consider examples you mentioned, Num 1.48. Genesis 29:23-25a, 28-30a. 
> 
> (1) Num 1.48 
> 
> 46 And all those who were numbered were 603,550. 47However, the Levites according to the tribe of their father were not numbered (X+QATAL) among them. 48Yhwh (had) directed (WAYYIQTOL) Moses saying, "Only the tribe of Levi you must not number (i.e., include in the census) . . . " > 
> 49-53: "Continuation of commands" 
> 54: Thus the children of Israel did (WAYYIQTOL); according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so they did (X+QATAL) 
> 
> You said: 
> 
> the event of God's directive to Moses not to count the Levites is then expressed by WAYYIQTOL because it is the one salient event within the subnarrative explaining why the Levites were not counted in the census. 
> 
> Here, v 48 is NOT a one salient within the SUBNARRATIVE explaining why the Levites were not 
> counted in the census. There is no subnarrative here, but only one WAYYIQTOL standing 
> alone. vv 49-53 is simply the quotation of God's saying. v 54 is a summary of the chapter 1, 
> and does not go with v 48. This example is different from Josh 24:32, 24:33, where 
> a single stand-alone WAYYIQTOL occurs next to X+QATAL, but 
> the WAYYIQTOL states something which FLOWS OUT OF THE CONTEXT set up by X+QATAL. 
> 
> Here in Num 1:48, the single stand-alone WAYYIQTOL does NOT flow out of the 
> context set up by v 47. It simply states something which FLOWS INTO the statement in 
> v. 47 by X+QATAL, which adds a sort of background/complementary information 
> to the narrative of census in Num 1:46. Logically speaking, WAYYIQTOL in v. 48 
> describes background to the QATAL statement in v. 47. 
> Anyway, you would know what's my problem:-) 
> 
> 
> (2) Genesis 29:23-25a, 28-30a 
> 
> You said: 
> 
> I think the WAYYIQTOL forms in these instances mark the giving of the maidservants as highly salient to the narrative---particularly poignantly expressed by being placed in the middle of the report of the consummation of each marriage. 
> 
> You also said in the article: 
> 
> In each of these excerpts the use of WAYYIQTOL to report Laban's gift of a maidservant 
> seems out of place: we may justifiably expect a back-ground construction using QATAL, 
> such as WLABAN NATAN. 
> 
> ---------------- 
> 
> I find it hard to understand this second comment. X+QATAL may belong to the previous 
> 
> narrative sequence or starts a new narrative sequence by providing the setting for the 
> 
> narrative. But in the context of Gen 29:23-25a, 28-30a, WLABAN NATAN does not fit 
> 
> in either role. In the former case, X typically refers to the entity which the reader 
> 
> would be interested to know about, given what the speaker said so far. The most famous 
> 
> example would be WLABAN NATAN Gen 1:5ab: God called (WAYYIQTOL) the light day, and the darkness God called (X + QATAL) night. Having said that God called the light day, the speaker expects that the reader would be interested to know the answer to the 
> 
> question "what about the DARKNESS?". So she goes on saying "The DARKNESS 
> 
> God called night". But in the context of Gen 29:23-25a, 28-30a, the reader would not 
> 
> raise an implicit question "what about LABAN?", so WLABAN NATAN does not fit. 
> 
> 
> 
> In the second case, X + QATAL provides a setting for the following narrative sequence. 
> 
> In the context of Gen 29:23-25a, 28-30a, there is no way that WLABAN NATAN , 
> 
> provides a setting for the following narrative. So, WLABAN NATAN does not fit in the 
> 
> context of Gen 29:23-25a, 28-30a, at all. So, the use of WAYYIQTOL in this context is NOT 
> 
> marked. 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Having raised some questions about your proposal, I would like to mention Galia Hatav's 
> 
> proposal. In her book "The Semantics of Aspect and 
> Modality" (1977) and Journal of Linguistics 2004 article, she claims that a WAYYITOL clause always introduces a NEW reference time which contains the event time of the clause. Though 
> this New R-time introduced by WAYYITOL typically refers to the time "just after" the 
> previous event, it does not have to. The new R-time can refer to sometime back in the 
> narrative. Hatav posits less about the semantics of WAYYITOL than you. She does not say 
> that by introducing a new R-time, WAYYITOL marks foreground information, although > 
> there is such tendency. 
> 
> 
> 
> Her proposal for R-time introducing feature of WAYYITOL comes as a pair with non-R-time introducing feature of QATAL. 
> 
> 
> According to Hatav, QATAL does not introduce a New R-time, but needs / refers to 
> an already established R-time, typically the current R-time for the previous sentence. 
> 
> Hatav calls QATAL "parasite" verb for that reason. Another parasite verb is QOTEL 
> 
> (progressive "tense"). 
> 
> 
> 
> But, as you also mentioned, there are cases when QATAL introduces a New R-time 
> 
> moving the narrative/direct discourse forward. EG: Gen 4:18, Gen 24:46, two QATALs in Gen 40:10 (gone up hath its blossom, its clusters have ripened grapes;) 
> 
> 
> 
> Every sentence needs the referencde time to anchor 
> 
> the claim of the sentence to the time line. Without the reference time, 
> 
> it is impossible to interpret sentences fully. So, both WAYYIQTOL and QATAL 
> 
> need the reference time. HATAV distinquishes two ways of getting the 
> 
> reference time. One is to "build" a new reference time relative to the previously 
> 
> built ones. This is the way of WAYYIQTOL. The other is to anchor to a previously 
> 
> established reference time. This is the way of QATAL. I think this distinction is 
> 
> important and contributes to the way the narrative is organized. 
> 
> 
> 
> But, Hatav's theory is based on the assumption that QATAL is quite 
> 
> similar to the English perfect "tense", which indeed does not introduce 
> 
> a new R-time, but can say several things in parallel about the given 
> 
> reference time. I do not think Hatav explained satisfactorily the 
> 
> counter-examples where QATAL introduces a new R-time. 
> 
> 
> 
> In sum, I think that Hatav's proposal is on the right track more than 
> 
> yours. The notion of foregroundness is too tight a jachet although 
> 
> less tight than the notion of temporal succession. (But I do not 
> 
> exclude the possibility that I like Hatav's proposal because I am 
> 
> familiar to the paradigms and the notions that she uses, e.g. the reference time, the possible words, the file card semantics, discourse representation structures.) 
> 
> 
> 
> I would modify Hatav's hypothesis as follows: 
> 
> 
> 
> (1) WAYYIQTOL's R-time building behavior: the same as Hatav 
> 
> (2) QATAL: 
> 
> (1) X+QATAL is often used, when X is the topic inferrable from the previous 
> 
> discourse about which the reader is expected to know. So, QATAL should 
> 
> have some features that cooperate with this topcalization behavior of 
> 
> X+QATAL. X + QATAL can talk about various aspects of the "current" 
> 
> situation. These various aspects do not 
> 
> need to be background information. For example, in Gen 1:5ab, the v 
> 
> 1:5a and 1:5b are parallel, and so both are foreground in this context. 
> 
> I find it difficulto to take Niccacci's translation, 
> 
> "God the called the light day, while he called 
> 
> the night darkness", which intends to convey that "while he 
> 
> called the night darkness" is background, complementary information. 
> 
> 
> 
> (2) QATAL introduces a new R-time or uses a pre-established one. 
> 
> 
> 
> If QATAL does not introduce a new R-time, it indeeds is capable to cooperate 
> 
> with topicalization behavior of X+QATAL. 
> 
> Because it does not move the narrative forward, it can talk about various aspects 
> 
> of the current situation. But, even when the R-time moves foward 
> 
> according to the knowledge of the world, the speaker can organize 
> 
> a subsequence (WAYYIQTOL + X+QATAL) which enters 
> 
> into the narrative as a unit. 
> 
> 
> 
> ----------------------------------------------------------- 
> 
> I know that QATAL's indeterminate behavior with respect to R-time building is quite> 
> 
> strange. But if it can explain phenomenon well, we can posit such a hypothesis. 
> 
> That is the very procedure of doing science, as far as I know. 
> 
> 
> 
> Sincerely 
> 
> Moon-Ryul Jung 
> 
> Sogang Univ, Seoul, Korea 
> 
> 
> 



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