[b-hebrew] verb forms - Isaiah 56:6-7 was dying you shall die

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Thu Apr 19 06:39:18 EDT 2007

On 19/04/2007 04:11, Yonah Mishael wrote:
> Peter,
> I fail to see how the terminations -/é/ or -/í/ of the preterite and
> -/o/ of the present tense in Spanish can both refer to the same
> first-person /yo/. I don't see how the -/aste/ or -/iste/ termination
> of the second-person preteriste can be traced to the pronounce -/tú/.
> Does one have to go into the proto-languages to view this stage in
> development? ...

Yes, Yonah, you do. This process of attachment of personal pronouns to 
verbs to form verb conjugations happened, according to linguistic 
reconstructions, many thousands of years ago. Since then the process has 
been obscured by all kinds of phonetic changes in various languages. But 
the sheer variety of these phonetic changes implies that it is possible 
to reconstruct, rather speculatively, what changes did happen and when.

> ... If so, then it is still mostly conjectural, since there
> is no example of any Proto-Indo-European language at play anywhere in
> real world. It is a reconstruction (as even you state) rather than a
> practical demonstration.
You are welcome to hold the epistemological and methodological position 
that it is impossible to make any kind of reconstruction of languages 
which have not survived in writing. But in that case you cannot make 
claims like "it just doesn't seem to be how language works", only ones 
like "we have no idea how language works and no way of finding out".

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://www.qaya.org/blog/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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