[b-hebrew] Alleged "prophetic tense"

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Dec 6 19:11:55 EST 2012


I think that the term "tense" is foreign to Hebrew, and is inherently  
misleading. Hebrew does not have time indicators; there is no such  
thing in Hebrew as ANIY <–AKAL, with a back-pointing arrow to  
indicate past action, as opposed to ANIY AKAL–>, with a forward- 
pointing arrow to indicate future action. As I see it, the Hebrew  
verb is but a root supplanted by personal pronouns for the actors  
involved in the act.

By a certain agreement, and by a certain agreement only, an aft  
personal pronoun is used to indicate past action, as in say $ALAXTA =  
$ALAX-TA, 'you have sent', while a fore personal pronoun is used to  
indicate future action, as in TI$LAX = TI-$LAX, 'you will send'.

An English equivalent system would have been: banana eat-I for past  
action, and banana I-eat for future action.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Dec 5, 2012, at 1:15 PM, Jerry Shepherd wrote:

> I am, however, not convinced that the Hebrew verbal system is  
> tenseless.

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