[b-hebrew] A new understanding of Hebrew verbs

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Fri Jun 2 03:54:08 EDT 2006

Dear list-members,

I was recently asked about my dissertation, and below I give some data:

1) For the first time all the 79,574 finite and infinite verbs of classical
Hebrew have been analyzed in the same study.

2) A distinction between semantic and pragmatic factors is sought, and this
means that quality is stressed rather than quantity. The goal has been to
find verbs with so restricted contexts that their semantic meanings can be
pinpointed with a reasonable amount of certainty (cf. minimal pairs).

3) The basic tools used in the analyses have been Reichenbach´s old
parameters (slightly redefined), the deictic center, reference time, and
event time. Tense is viewed as the relationship between reference time and
the deictic center and represents deictic time, while aspect is viewed as
the relationship between reference time and event time and represents
non-deictic time.

4) The conclusions drawn on the basis of the interplay of the above
mentioned factors in the whole corpus are that tense (grammaticalization of
location in time) is non-existent in classical Hebrew, and that the
conjugations represent aspects with a nature quite different from English
and Russian aspects. Thus, it is argued that WAYYIQTOL, YIQTOL, and WEYIQTOL
represent the imperfective aspect and QATAL and WEQATAL represent the
perfective aspect. The functional differences between the prefix-forms are
pragmatic and not semantic, and the same is true with the differences
between the suffix-forms.

The dissertation is published by Awatu Publishers, Oslo. The price is 300
Norwegian kroner (appr. US $ 46) plus postage.  Those who want to read a
four page abstract of the dissertation or who want to order
it can send an E-mail to awatu at online.no.

For a discussion of the main points see:  Furuli, R. (2006) "The Verbal
System of
Classical Hebrew An Attempt to Distinguish Between Semantic and Pragmatic
Factors" in Current Issues in the analysis of Semtic grammar and lexicon :
cooperation 3rd-5th June 2004" (Abhandlungen für die Kunde des Morgenlandes
56,3) pp. 205-231. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2006.  I received my copy of the
book yesterday.

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list