[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Uncancellable meaning and Hebrew verbs

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 6 18:59:02 EDT 2009

Hi Rolf,

I see that you again shift the discussion away from evidence which would 
seem to go against your position. I ask again: please demonstrate how 
wayyo'mer in Gen 12:1 reveals imperfective uncancellable semantics.

(By the way, you've wholly misrepresented my again -- I said nothing 
about the relationship between event time and the deictic centre 
correlating with perfective aspect! Where on earth did that come from?)

David Kummerow.

> DK has demonstrated that he still does not understand the basic 
> parameters used by Reichenbach, Comrie, Broman Olsen and myself. Tense 
> is the relationship between reference time and the deictic center, not 
> between event time and the deictic center. This is so because event time 
> can start before the deictic center and continue after it. But OK, I 
> agree that the whole event time in Gen 12:1 is prior to the deictic 
> center. This shows that the reference is past, but not that the 
> WAYYIQTOL is past tense. And there is no way to look inside the verb and 
> know whether the whole or a part is made visible.
> But what about I Genesis 41:1-7?  In these verses we find 9 WAYYIQTOLs 
> and 6 participles. In all instances event time comes before the deictic 
> center. On the basis of the the definition above, the participles should 
> also be perfective. Is that correct?  And what about the hundreds of 
> YIQTOLs where event time is prior the the deictic center? Are they also 
> perfective? If not, how can we know?
> In the analysis of the verses below, let us start with )MD (to stand) in 
> verses 1 (participle) and 3 (WAYYIQTOL). To stand is a state, and a 
> state has a beginning and an end; the state holds between beginning and 
> end, and every part of a state is similar to any other part and to the 
> state as a whole. Let us now apply the parameters reference time (R) and 
> event time (E) to the states of the two verses. Please keep in mind that 
> E is the time of an event or state from beginning to end and R is the 
> part of E (small or great) that is is made visible. In verse 1, would 
> the writer signal that the end of the state was reached, i.e., that 
> Pharao *had stood* by the Nile but was no longer standing there? That 
> can hardly be the case. But what about the cows in v. 3? Would the 
> writer signal that their state of standing had reached its end, i.e., 
> that they had stood beside those on the riverbank? I do not think that 
> anyone would say that. Even if one would say that the writer meant to 
> make visible that the cows came up out of the Nile and began to stand 
> beside those on the riverbank, the end of the state is still not 
> reached. So, both in both the state expressed by the participle and by 
> the WAYYIQTOL R intersects E after the beginning and before the end. S, 
> how can this WAYYIQTOL be perfective?
> We may also focus on XLM in verses 1 and 5. Pharaoh had a dream, in the 
> first instance expressed by a participle and in the second by a 
> WAYYIQTOL. Is there a semantic difference? Are both perfective? How can 
> we know?
> The point I am trying to stress is that because BH is a dead language 
> and there are no informants, in many cases, probably in most, we cannot 
> on the basis of the context know whether a part of an event or state, or 
> the whole event or state is made visible. We must therefore look at 
> those situations that are transparent and where this can clearly be 
> seen. The situations where the relationship between E and R cannot be 
> seen must be interpreted in light of the situations where that can be seen.
> Gen. 41:1    When two full years had passed (WAYYIQTOL), Pharaoh had a 
> dream (participle): He was standing (PARTICIPLE) by the Nile,
> Gen. 41:2 when out of the river there came up (PARTICIPLE) seven cows, 
> sleek and fat, and they grazed (WAYYIQTOL) among the reeds.
> Gen. 41:3 After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up 
> (PARTICIPLE) out of the Nile and stood (WAYYIQTOL) beside those on the 
> riverbank.
> Gen. 41:4 And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up (WAYYIQTOL) the 
> seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up (WAYYIQTOL).
> Gen. 41:5  ¶    He fell asleep (WAYYIQTOL) again and had a second dream 
> (WAYYIQTOL): Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing 
> (PARTICIPLE) on a single stalk.
> Gen. 41:6 After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted 
> (PARTICIPLE)-thin and scorched by the east wind.
> Gen. 41:7 The thin heads of grain swallowed (WAYYIQTOL) up the seven 
> healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up (WAYYIQTOL); it had been a dream.
> Best regards,
> Rolf Furuli
> University of Oslo

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