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

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 6 21:57:19 EDT 2009

Hi Rolf,

I guess I should add that I was just presenting a simplified analysis of 
the verb in Gen 12:1, since all I was wanting to show was that the verb 
is past. That is, I simplified since the point of reference overlaps 
with event time, I simply left the point of reference unmentioned (like 
Rogland). But if you want me to be a bit more explicit, with wayyo'mer 
in Gen 12:1, event time overlaps with the point of reference, which 
precedes the deictic centre. Thus the form here is past.

As I argued in my review, the examples of wayyiqtol you present as 
demonstrating that wayyiqtol is imperfective are better taken as 
non-prototypical rather than demonstrating what the uncancellable 
semantics of the form are. You have yet to counter this argument and 
demonstrate why such minority of examples are wholly diagnostic of the 
majority use of wayyiqtol. That you refuse to show how common examples 
like wayyo'mer in Gen 12:1 can be taken as instantiating imperfective 
aspect shows to me that the theory is upside down: better to take 
majority of function as prototypical, which then allows for 
non-prototypical examples like some present tense use or imperfective 
use etc.

David Kummerow.

> 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?)
> Thanks,
> 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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