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

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 7 19:27:01 EDT 2009

>  > The arguments above are very dangerous linguistically speaking. Each
>  > language must be analyzed in its own right, and it is fallacious to
>  > analyze dead languages in the light of living ones. There are more
>  > than 20 different analyses of perfective and imperfective aspects, so
>  > which one should we choose?
> Actually, I think it is fallacious and dangerous to do otherwise.  You can
> suggest particular meanings for Hebrew verb forms but without native
> speakers you have no way to know if that is indeed what they intend.
> If a certain use of the verb in a hypothetical unattested case is 
> acceptable
> or not.  At least, if you have a cross linguistic comparison from another
> living language you can go ahead and show that it is possible to have
> had such an interpretation.  Knowing that something is possible but not
> knowing if it is right is slightly better than not knowing whether it is
> possible or right.  Furthermore, if there are no cross linguistic
> comparisons with living languages you have essentially a large ad-hoc
> assumption regarding Hebrew.  It is all very unsound.

Hi Yitzhak,

I could not agree more with this point.

I made this exact same point in my review but I have yet to see Rolf 
counter this arguement. I wrote (p.116):

"Dahl and Velupillai’s recent study of 222 languages (of which 101 made 
a traditional perfective || imperfective opposition; Dahl and Velupillai 
2005: 266–81),  in which a reanalysis of the traditional definitions of 
aspect was not required, would suggest that the typological tendency of 
language, if an aspectual opposition is made, conforms functionally to 
the traditional view. Furuli’s divergent claim requires functional 
justification in light of the strong typological tendency."

David Kummerow.

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