[b-hebrew] Kamatz katan; Ashkenazi pronunciation; was: Translating

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Sat Oct 7 14:10:06 EDT 2006

> So, it is *a fact* that  there are no proofs that
> WAYYIQTOLs existed before the Masoretes. I did not discuss speculation and
> beliefs; I discussed morphological evidence.
> Rolf Furuli

It is very much possible that the Masoretes invented wayyiqtol. They had a
good reason to do that.
As I see it, tense forms developed as follows:
- qatal for the past tense, weqatal for the future
- new FT form yiqtol
at that point, there were two forms of the future tense, and one form for
much more common past tense. Someone should have got a bright idea of
developing a form for the past tense symmetrical to weqatal. Thus, wayiqtol
is likely an artifical form.

Could the MT wayiqtols been originally weyiqtols. Very much!
Hypothetic weyomer meant, "and he would say." The verb relates the past
events, but does so with deictic center shift. Such usage is extremely
common in Old Slavonic and even old Russian epics, and could well be common
in Hebrew. The prefix w is very meaningful, it specifically points to
recital, immersion in the events (at least that is so in Russian mentality).

At some point, Hebrew started losing its deictic center shift flexibility
(that only happened in modern Russian). The Masoretes probably understood
the original meaning, but sought to both clarify the meaning (reference of
the future tense verb to past events) and create a past tense form
symmetrical to weqatal.

Why specifically patah in wa? It could be a shortened tzere. [e] in weyiqtol
is very long, approaching tzere. In accented or semi-accented syllables
closed by stop (dagesh), tzere shortens to patah, e.g., hitlabesh -

A note to Peter: logically, Rolf correctly equates absence of positive
evidence with negative evidence. That is the way of proof in all sciences
but mathematics. Perhaps some future experiments would invalidate the speed
of light limit, but before that, we take that limit for proven. Science
develops through refutations, not positive proofs.

Vadim Cherny

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