[b-hebrew] The use of the Yiqtol in Isaiah 1:21

dwashbur at nyx.net dwashbur at nyx.net
Tue Apr 21 20:29:56 EDT 2009

On 22 Apr 2009 at 9:56, George Athas wrote:

> I'm with Rolf on this one: tense is not grammaticalised in Biblical Hebrew. Rather, tense has to be inferred from deictic markers elsewhere in the clause.
> The distinction I work with, and it does seem to work, is that Qatal
> represents 'definite action', and Yiqtol represents 'indefinite
> action'. The distinction between these is similar to that of nouns: a
> definite noun is specific and particular, while an indefinite noun is
> less so. Both a definite noun and an indefinite noun can refer to one
> person (e.g. 'the king' and 'a king'), but the definite is quite
> specific, while the indefinite is less so. Wayyiqtol looks at an
> action as though it were happening 'live'. 

I agree that tense is not grammaticalised in BH.  I'm wondering how your distinction 
compares and contrasts with the "realis/irrealis" distinction between Qatal and Yiqtol 
suggested by Hatav and others (myself included)?

Dave Washburn

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