[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Uncancellable meaning and Hebrew verbs
farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 3 19:38:17 EDT 2009
> Hi David,
> I haven't read your article and don't where it is. I'm guessing from
> comments in this email that your basic position is that different forms
> have different uses and that there is generally a usage which occurs
> frequently enough to be the default understanding. If so, then we seem
> to agree on this point.
> May I make an observation? Very often in all fields of research we see a
> flame war of some kind, the opposing parties of which, at first glance,
> seem to have contradictory views. However, on closer inspection these
> flame wars generally boil down to minor misunderstandings and that, in
> actual fact, the two parties seem to be defending almost the exact same
> position but with different approaches that blind the opponents from
> realising just how similar their position is. This seems to me to be
> what is happening between you and Rolf.
> When we analyse your positions closely you both seem to be saying almost
> the exact same thing but with different approaches. You both seem to
> concur that:
> 1) pragmatics and semantics both have influences
> 2) pragmatics can cancel default semantics
I agree. But Rolf disagrees. And that is the basic sticking point. For
him, any meaning which is able to be cancelled is not in fact semantic
meaning but is pragmatic.
> 3) the pragmatics in our hebrew corpus show that tense is often cancelled
> 4) the pragmatics in our hebrew corpus show that aspect is often cancelled
I agree. But Rolf redefines aspect so that to his reading of the text in
every case it is not cancelled. Again, this is a sticking point -- hence
my questions regarding wayyomer.
> 5) the corpus shows that hebrew verbs have different uses as Rolf's
> statistics show
> It seems to me that the reason you seem to be blinded to the fact that
> you are arguing an almost exact stance as Rolf is that you seem to be
> stuck on this uncancellable meaning thing and Rolf's conclusions of the
> uncancellable meaning of the verb forms.
No, that's not true. See my responses above.
> Rolf has already made it quite
> clear that the uncancellable meaning thing is actually a very small part
> of the study.
Not true. PLease read his dissertation. Trying to find the uncancellable
meaning of the BH verbal forms is his aim throughout his work!
> The most salient part of the study, and what you seem to
> be missing, is his analysis of the verbs and the statistics he has
> gathered which show the various uses of the verbs and that both tense
> and aspect are often cancelled.
No, he claims that his definitions are suitable for every example in the
> Rolf has also made it clear that he
> accepts the possibility that there may be no uncancellable meaning to
> the verb forms but has shown that if there is an uncancellable meaning
> that his study attempts to explain what it is.
> At the end of the day it really makes little difference if there is or
> is not an uncancellable meaning. It is very unlikely that the hebrews
> were conscious of such a meaning when they used the verb forms. What
> they were conscious of (I conclude by introspection) was the intended
> usage they had in mind each time they used the verb forms. So the really
> interesting question is "What signals can we reliably use to discern the
> intended usage?" rather than "What is the hypothetical uncancellable
> meaning that the hebrews were unaware of?".
> The great value of Rolf's study is the statistics he has gathered using
> his method of analysing the verbs.
Yes, I agree wholeheartedly and stated this explicitly in my review.
> This gives us a starting point to
> consider the different usages and ways of identifying them reliably. And
> so, as I have said before, if you really wish to give a worthwhile
> critique of Rolf's work, it's high time you moved on from the
> uncancellable meaning thing and moved onto Rolf's technique of analysis.
James, I've already published in this area. I do not get what you
meaning by "moving on from the uncancellable meaning thing" -- as I've
been arguing, we should all move on from it because it is not a
linguistic reality. I can't "move on" from it because I do not hold that
> I would like to invite you one more time to analyse a section of the
> corpus using Rolf's method to see if your results have any major
> disagreements with Rolf's.
Well, OK, I'll start at Gen 12:1. First verb is problematic. Default
construal can really only be taken as past perfective. Rolf would say
that it is past imperfective. Already we see it not working so I see no
point in continuing on.
More information about the b-hebrew