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

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 6 21:35:32 EDT 2009

Hi Karl,

Here's Rolf's definitions (p.69):

"The imperfective aspect is a close-up view of a small section of the
event where the progressive action is made visible. The perfective
aspect is a view, as if from some distance, of a great part of, or of
the whole of the event, where the progressive action is not made visible."

He explains:

"While the end is not the final decisive factor in Hebrew as it is in
English, it is important, because in most cases the imperfective aspect
makes visi-ble a small section before the end, and the perfective aspect
includes the end. Because the area of focus of the imperfective aspect
is so small, we will not expect that it includes both the beginning and
the end, and if it includes the end of an event, it does not include the
end of the resulting state. Because the focus of the perfective aspect
is so broad, in most in-stances it includes the end of the event.
Therefore the end is also important for the Hebrew aspects, but is in no
way decisive."

His definitions are so elastic that he can even say on p.438 that
perfective and imperfective aspect is "not mutually exclusive" and that
"if an overall picture [in any given context] is enough, different forms
can be used with the same meaning" (p. 460)! To me, this just shows that
the definitions are inappropriate. But when it comes down to actual
details of the text, even these elastic definitions don't always work
either -- wayyo'mer in Gen 12:1 being an example, which Rolf has so far
dodged in showing how this can be taken as imperfective.

I still see little reason to progress beyond Comrie's definitions (1976: 4):

"The perfective looks at the situation from the outside, without
necessarily distinguishing any of the internal structure of the
situation, whereas the imperfective looks at the situation from inside,
and as such is crucially concerned with the internal structure of the

Now, please show me how wayyo'mer in Gen 12:1 is imperfective.

Karl, I have not been "weird" on dialect as you claim. All I've asked is
that you treat it as a linguistic system, nothing "weird" about that. I
assume you're own dialect you treat as a system, so why not someone
else's dialect? You make these snide comments without backing them up.
It's not very nice at all.

David Kummerow.

> David:
> OK, define what you mean by perfective, imperfective, what YOU think
> Rolf means by “perfective” and “imperfective”, do so iHeren simple terms
> on line, not referring to off line books to which we do not have
> access.
> You have been so far weird on your treatment of dialect that I want to
> see something I can check up on in this discussion.
> I don’t know what Rolf means by “perfective” and “imperfective” if he
> is using different meanings than what is found in the grammar of such
> as Russian, but that verse is neither perfective nor imperfective as
> the terms are used in Indo-European languages. If you insist on the
> Indo-European definitions, then you have set up a false dilemma
> logical fallacy.
> Back up your so far unsupported statements.
> Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list