[b-hebrew] Hebrew "If-and" construction and the Book of Mormon

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 16 23:24:09 EDT 2006

Hi Kevin,

No, no quotation. Just my quick application of the study to the issue at 

Here's what I'm saying: when comparing individual languages, their 
coordinators/conjunctions will not always entirely match. That is, one 
language may employ fewer coordinators/conjunctions whereas another may 
employ more, the language employing fewer still expressing the same 
functions as the other language albeit with forms that display greater 
mutifunctionality/polyfunctionality. The BH coordinator/conjunction waw 
is an example: it would seem to bear at least the range of functions 
coordination-consecutive-resultative-adversative-disjunctive (plus some 
other finer-grained distinctions). English has the words: "and", "then", 
"so that", "but", "or" etc. So the BH "and" displays much greater 
multifunctionality vis-a-vis to English "and". What this means in 
regards to translation into English is that since English doesn't have a 
single mutifunctional word covering the same semantics as BH "and", then 
a choice has to often be made for another word, be it "so that", "but", etc.

Hope that helps.

David Kummerow.

> I'm sorry David, could you be a litle more clearer? Was that a direct 
> citation from the source you provided?
> >/From: David Kummerow <farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com <http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew>>
> />/To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org <http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew>
> />/Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Hebrew "If-and" construction and the Book of
> />/Date: Thu, 17 Aug 2006 09:04:38 +1000
> />/
> />/Cross-linguistically, some language coordinators/conjunctions commonly
> />/group meanings which other languages choose to divide (see the reference
> />/below). It is not uncommon for a single coordinator to group the
> />/meanings "and", "sequential" (then), "resultative" (so that), etc. The
> />/Morman translation, then, has failed to recognise that what Hebrew does
> />/with the one coordinator/conjunction (waw) English regularly does with
> />/two ("and", "then").
> />/
> />/Malchukov, Andrej. 2004. "Towards a Semantic Typology of Adversative and
> />/Contrast Marking." Journal of Semantics 21: 177-198.
> />/
> />/Regards,
> />/David Kummerow.
> />/ >
> />/ > I am looking to get some confirmation about an apologetic that is
> />/ > growing in popularity among Latter-day Saints. For those who are not
> />/ > familiar with the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith claims to have
> />/ > translated the text from gold plates that were written upon an Ancient
> />/ > Hebrew writer.
> />/ >
> />/ > The original manuscripts of the Book of Mormon include weird phrases
> />/ > that involve an if-and construction instead of an if-then
> />/ > construction. According to Mormon scholar Royal Skousen:
> />/ >
> />/ > "In a recent paper I describe two important examples of Hebraisms in
> />/ > the original text of the Book of Mormon that do not occur in the King
> />/ > James Bible. One example is the use of the if-and clausal construction
> />/ > instead of the expected if-(then) syntax of English, as in the
> />/ > following extended passage from Helaman 12 where it occurs seven times
> />/ > (thus showing that we are not dealing with an isolated transcriptional
> />/ > error):
> />/ >
> />/ > if he sayeth unto the earth move and it is moved
> />/ >
> />/ > if he sayeth unto the earth thou shalt go back that it lengthen out
> />/ > the day for many hours and it is done .
> />/ >
> />/ > if he sayeth unto the waters of the great deep be thou dried up and it
> />/ > is done.
> />/ >
> />/ > This construction is a literalistic translation of the Hebrew-language
> />/ > construction, but does not occur at all in the King James Bible."
> />/ >
> />/ > For our Hebrew experts out there, is it true that the "if-and"
> />/ > construction is a common occurence in the Hebrew Bible, and is it also
> />/ > true that this lingustic phenomenon is unique only to Hebrew?
> />/ >/

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