[b-hebrew] b-hebrew Uncancellable meaning and Hebrew verbs
farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 7 05:45:58 EDT 2009
> >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.
> >Now, please show me how wayyo'mer in Gen 12:1 is imperfective.
> The question above has been repeated five times or more in different
> posts of DK. My answer that it is not possible in many verbs,
> including this one, to see the relationship between reference time
> and event time, has been ignored. That is not fair!
Then this just means that you read back the meaning of the minority of
uses into the majority of uses. But how do we know that the semantic
meaning of the majority of uses wasn't in part cancelled to allow for
the minority of uses? How do we know that the meaning found in the
minority of uses is also by default to be attributed to the majority of
uses. Here work on frequency in linguistics would tell against your
position as I argued in my review.
> A few questions:
> 1) As I already have mentioned, S. R. Driver's view was that the
> verb of Genesis 12:1 was imperfective, "he proceeded to speak". How
> can we know that Driver was wrong, and that the WAYYIQTOL of the
> verse "looks at the situation from the outside, without necessarily
> distinguishing any of the internal structure of the situation"?
Context has no interrupted speech event, hence we can assume the whole
of the speech event is on view and not a part. Put another way, how do
we know its imperfective but from the minority of uses being read back
into the majority?
> 2) Is my definition more "elastic" or "vague" (that DK said
> elsewhere) than Comrie's? (Please note that I give a lot of details
> explaining the definition.)
> "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."
> "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
> 3) I am criticized by DK for by the words: "that he can even say on
> p.438 that
> perfective and imperfective aspect is "not mutually exclusive". But
> would not those saying that the aspects are mutually exclusive say
> that they have uncancellable meaning? If they do not have a fixed
> meaning that cannot change, how can they be mutually exclusive? In
> one place I am criticized because I say that something has semantic
> meaning, and in another context because I am not claiming semantic
It is elastic in the sense that, for example, your perfective aspect can
correspond at times to what under a traditional definition corresponds
to imperfective. I see that you have to have this elastic definition so
that you have a chance of trying to achieve an uncancellable meaning
across all of the occurrences of the verbs in the corpus.
> Best regards,
> Rolf Furuli
> University of Oslo
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