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

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 7 19:39:12 EDT 2009

> As you observe the two groups are not mutually exclusive. 'Perfect' 
> *can* make both the beginning and end visible but is not required to do 
> so. This allows for overlap with what Rolf has called the 'imperfect' 
> group. Unless you are willing to engage with Rolf's definitions it is 
> impossible to discuss this objectively.
> You continue to challenge Rolf to show how Genesis 12:1 is imperfect and 
> not perfect and yet acknowledge that Rolf's definition allows for 
> overlap between 'perfect' and 'imperfect'. This makes no sense on any 
> level whatsoever.

James, neither Rolf nor I use the language of 'perfect' and 'imperfect'; 
rather, we use the aspectual terminology of 'perfective' and 
'imperfective'. Linguistically, there is a difference, although Hebrew 
scholars have tended to use the language of 'perfect' when really they 
meant 'perfective'.

Now, I still do not see how Rolf's definition of imperfective can 
possibly suit wayyo'mer of Gen 12:1. The verb would include both the 
beginning and end of the speech event (not 'resultative' as per Rolf's 
definition and not interrupted so as to not include the end), hence 
perfective under both Rolf's definition and the traditional definition 
of perfective. Yet Rolf's claim is the WAYYIQTOL is consistently 
imperfective throughout the entire corpus.

> You also continue to refuse to offer a concrete definition of your use 
> of the terms. All it would take is a few lines of text to make it clear 
> to us how you understand and use these terms.

I've provided Comrie's definition to which I agree.

> Just to set you straight, I am undecided if their is an uncancellable 
> meaning to the BH verb system. But if there is an uncancellable meaning 
> then I am unaware of any other work than Rolf's that accounts so well 
> for what that is. However, my real opinion is that I still hold a number 
> of reservations because:

Well, we have a totally different opinion here. I do not think Rolf 
accounts well with the data at all. Much evidence which has bearing on 
the issue is left untreated in his work which I mention in my review.

> a) We have no informants who can help us conclude the discussion
> b) There is simply not enough data
> c) Only a small percentage of the data we have allows for a complete 
> analysis
> d) The possibility exists that certain verbs allow for exceptions for 
> semantic reasons (e.g. like 'think' in English)
> You should therefore view my questions as aids to help you make your 
> criticisms more concrete and academically acceptable rather than 
> assuming I am against your position. How could I be against your 
> position when you still have not defined it properly?

OK, that's fine. You kept pushing me to show how wayyo'mer in Gen 12:1 
is imperfective, but I do not agree with this. Maybe you don't either, 
but please don't try to get me to say things which I don't accept.

> In summary, I am (as yet) undecided but as it stands Rolf has shown a 
> higher level of academic practice in his style of presentation and has 
> succeeded in answering the question he posed (If the BH verb system has 
> an uncancellable meaning, what is it?). You may have some good points to 
> make but are losing the attention of many list members by your refusal 
> to engage in good academic practice.

James, he has not succeeded in showing what the uncancellable meaning 
is. Regarding WAYYIQTOL, he's only shown that it may be imperfective in 
a minority of occurrences in the corpus. This says nothing about the 
other occurrences of WAYYIQTOL in the corpus.

> James Christian

David Kummerow.

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