[b-hebrew] Tenses - Deut 6:4

George Athas george.athas at moore.edu.au
Mon Feb 26 22:00:05 EST 2007

According to recent research in Hebrew, there is no real 'tense' in Hebrew.
Rather, there is verbal aspect, which determines not so much 'when' an
action occurs (tense), or even 'how' the action occurs (Aktionsart), but
rather 'where' the action occurs in relation to the reader.
My quick surmise of the verbal conjugations:
Qatal = concrete action, viewed up close
Yiqtol = less-concrete action, viewed at a distance
Wayyiqtol = progressive action which 'materialises' in a narrative context,
driving a story forward
Weqatal = adjunctive action which expands the thought begun by a previous
verb, without moving to a new thought.
In all these conjugations, the context provided by the surrounding text
(deictic markers) helps determine the 'tense' we use in English translation.
As I've mentioned in past messages, I'm writing a Hebrew grammar which takes
this verbal aspect approach ('Dynamic Spatial Aspect' approach). At present,
I self-publish it each year for use at various institutions, with a view to
building it up into a volume for 'proper' publication in the near future.

Best Regards, 

Moore Theological College (Sydney) 
1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia 
Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774 



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