[b-hebrew] text on the BH verb structure

Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. nir at ccet.ufrn.br
Fri Aug 23 21:42:18 EDT 2013


the files are too big for me to handle. is there anywhere else where i could
post them which would be more convenient? e.g. a site dedicated to linguistics?

as to arguments, i will be glad to discuss them, although it might take some time.
below i describe one of them which i consider central. let me start with the 
observation (i am sure you will agree) that predictions based on TAM 
(tense-aspect-mood) often fail to explain the BH verb form. in jer. 2:2 we find

הלך וקראת...זכרתי לך

why is וקראת weqatal and not yiqtol? why is זכרתי qatal and not wayiqtol?

of course, there are MANY answers: e.g. in וקראת (i) HIPUX, (ii) CONSECUTIVE,
for זכרתי it is (i) PAST, (ii) PERFECT, (iii) PERFECTIVE, (iv) PLUPERFECT,
(v) CLAUSE-INITIAL, (vi) BACKGROUND (is it indeed?). you may pick your choice.

but then my question is: is there any alternative here? really, there is none. the waw in וקראת 
is there for SYNTACTIC reasons, and cannot just disappear. and the waw in זכרתי is 
simply not there, and cannot just appear (plus the problem of ellipsis).

so, syntax exerts a veto over the verb forms, sometimes. really, syntax acts on the verb form the same way that syllables act on, say, the phoneme ב ("in"): change its niqud according to the needs. the "basic rule" is schwa/patax, but often we find something else.

namely, in the linguistic hierarchy, from the smallest (say, phoneme) to the largest (say, sentence), each hierarchy exerts pressures on the lower hierarchy, which result in "changing
the laws" in some cases. in case of the verb form, this pressure comes from word order and  conjunctiveness/co(sub)ordination.
now,וילכו אחרי ההבל (ibid:5) is somewhat different, since there is areal alternative: ואחרי ההבל הלכו . although, even here syntax exerts a"gentle" pressure by adjoining the verb with the indirect preposition, indicating wayiqtol as the correct verb form. this could have been changed by fronting, but only "for a very good reason" (emphasis? discontinuity?  what are the rules of BH fronting?), which is not the case here.
thus, a priori (i.e. syntactically) BH verb units come in three varieties: doomed to be waw-prefixed, doomed to be waw-less, and those which have a choice. TAM laws can only shape the third type. in my manuscript i study in detail these situations. i believe that the basic idea (syntax) goes back to blau and peckham (and earlier), but i had only very partial access to their work. in general, it seems to me that in BH a discussion of verb forms without syntactic considerations is almost impossible - but it is the common practice!

more to come...
nir cohen

On Wed, 21 Aug 2013 19:31:07 +0800, K Randolph wrote
> Nir:
> Yeah, there’s a problem downloading it. So far Research Gate won’t let me get an account, without which I can’t download your book.
> Based on your description, I think I already disagree with it, but I’d at least like to see your arguments.
> Yours, Karl W. Randolph.
> On Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 12:11 AM, Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. <nir at ccet.ufrn.br> wrote:
> dear colleagues,
> i have completed a text (or draft) on the BH verb system, which can
> be found in
> www.researchgate.net/profile/Nir_Cohen/contributions/?ev=prf_act
> [pls alert me of any problem in downloading]
> consisting (due to its size) of 7 pdf files. it is a book of about 300 pages.
> it contains a detailed answer to many comments made here on the topic,
> especially by rolf furuli.
> the book is reader-autosufficient but is not easy to read, since it treats
> as coupled issues which we usually discuss in isolation: verb function,
> word order, waw-prefixed verb units, and a set of divisions which i find
> relevant to the bh verb; in fact, more important than both tense and aspect.
> namely, state vs event, episodic vs gnomic, sequential vs parallel.
> for this reason: the convoluted nature of the problem, i have avoided to
> discuss the issue so far.
> the book represents a limited vindication of the tensual (vs aspectual)
> position, and esp. of the syntactic school (peckham, blau). it also
> discusses a limited sense of fragmentation of grammar. it agrees in many
> points with the new ideas on temporality of carlota smith and veviurko,
> as well as the panchronic approach of andrason; but the point of view is
> synchronic. it offers a unified treatment of prose and poetry.
> each chapter starts with a theoretic discussion and then moves on to examine
> finer points by way of numerous examples from the OT.
> i would like to hear your opinions, and to renew the discussions on this topic.
> best
> nir cohen
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