[b-hebrew] More on Verbs
jspinti at eisenbrauns.com
Thu Dec 13 14:02:05 EST 2012
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jspinti at eisenbrauns dot com
Begin forwarded message:
> From: "John A. Cook" <john.cook at asburyseminary.edu>
> Subject: Re: b-hebrew Digest, Vol 120, Issue 21
> Date: December 13, 2012 12:58:09 PM CST
> To: James Spinti <JSpinti at Eisenbrauns.com>
> Well this is slightly off topic, but let me respond briefly on the issue of the Inf. Abs. in Phoenician:
> 1) There is some uncertainty as to whether we should call this an Inf. Abs., which has arisen mainly on analogy with where BH uses the Inf. Abs. as a stand in for a finite verb form, continuing the same sense of a leading verb; I've long been intrigued (but how does one demonstrate the case?) with Gai's claim (see reference below) that this is not an infinitive but a "serial verb"—that is, a underspecified verb (N.B. the lack of person marking at the least, if not lack of all TAM markings).
> Gai, Amikam
> 1982 The Reduction of Tense (and Other Categories) of the Consequent Verb in North-west Semitic. Orientalia 51: 254–56.
> 2) Regardless of whether Gai is followed, the form does appear to function as serial verbs do in the handful of languages (mostly Africa and Southeast Asia) occur: they are "underspecified" in some way and they are dependent on a leading or ending finite form for their underspecified meanings. Note that in v. 3 of Karatepe, the "narrative" begins with a perfect form and only then continues with the apparent Inf. Abs. This sort of pattern has been argued for BH, but it leads to all sorts of problems such as having to posit that books beginning with wayyiqtol "assume" preceding material from which the TAM of the form is derived.
> 3) Thus, if we try to make an analogy with Phoenician, we end up embracing some sort of serial understanding of the wayyiqtol, which is a view that has been around for over a century and never widely accepted. As I argue in my 2004 JSS article (http://ancienthebrewgrammar.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/cook_bhwayyiqtolweqatal_jss2004.pdf), there is no evidence that wayyiqtol is underspecified in any way or is a serial verb of any sort.
> 4) So, to clearly address your question: on the view that the Inf. Abs. (or whatever the form) is a sort of serial verb form, we have a verb that does not grammaticalize past tense but appears in narrative. However, it is dependent on a leading form in order to maintain the past temporal location of the narrative. Without this leading verb, how could we know that the text is relating a past narrative as opposed to, say, a future prediction:
> I am Azitiwada, the blessed/vizier of Baal, servant of Baal whom Awarku king of the Danunians made strong (PFV). Baal made me (PFV) a father and a mother to the Danunians. I revived (INF ABS) the Danunians; I widened (INF ABS) the land of the valley of Adana from the rising of the sun to its setting. (I ll. 1-4).
> On Dec 13, 2012, at 12:00 PM, b-hebrew-request at lists.ibiblio.org wrote:
>> Message: 5
>> Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:28:40 +0100
>> From: "Rolf" <rolf.furuli at sf-nett.no>
>> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Fwd: Re. re. More on verbs
>> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
>> Message-ID: <700b-50c9e600-11-7021630 at 222805160>
>> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>> Dear John,
>> While I wait for your answer to the E-mail I posted this morning (local time), I have a question based on your comments below: In the 40 lines of the Phoenician Karatepe inscription, the verb form carrying the narrative forward is the infinitive absolute. There are 21 infinitive absolutes, 16 of which have a prefixed WAW, thus being syntactically similar to WAYYIQTOLs. Are these infinitive absolutes grammaticalized past tense, or can forms that have past reference but are not grammatcalized past tense be used as narrative forms in Semitic langauges?
>> Best regards,
>> Rolf Furuli
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