[b-hebrew] text on the BH verb structure

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Aug 24 02:16:16 EDT 2013


Nir:

On Sat, Aug 24, 2013 at 9:42 AM, Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. <nir at ccet.ufrn.br>wrote:

>  karl,
>
> 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?
>

Right off the bat I don’t know of any, do any of the other readers out
there have any suggestions?

>
> as to arguments, i will be glad to discuss them, although it might take
> some time.
>

Time is what I thought a discussion board has in spades, if utilized
wisely.

>
> 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.
>

TAM was a dead idea to me long before Randall Buth taught me the acronym.
It’s European language centered, and has no place in Biblical Hebrew
grammar.


> in jer. 2:2 we find
>
> הלך וקראת...זכרתי לך
>
> why is וקראת weqatal and not yiqtol?
>

What I’ve noticed is that the imperative idea can be written with the
imperative form, the Yiqtol (as in Exodus 20) and the weQatal. Why these
three? I don’t know. Why not a Qatal? I haven’t found one yet. Why is one
used in one situation and not another? Again I don’t know. This is
imperative use.


> why is זכרתי qatal and not wayiqtol?
>

Present tense continuous indicative use, possibly the most common use found
in Tanakh for recorded conversations where action at the same time as
speech is indicated.

This is a quote of what YHWH wished Jeremiah to convey, with זכרתי being
the primary verb of the quote.

>
>
> of course, there are MANY answers: e.g. in וקראת (i) HIPUX, (ii)
> CONSECUTIVE,
> (iii) INDUCTIVE, (iv) IRREALIS, (v) INDIRECT VOLITIVE (vi) FOREGROUND etc.
> 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.
>

Could you please explain your answer here. Why “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 a real
> alternative: ואחרי ההבל הלכו .
>

Why the alternative not ואחרי ההבל ילכו as in the example of Proverbs
31:11, 14, 18, 27, 30 just as one example?


> 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.
>

How would fronting affect the alternative I present above? In fact, why
should we consider your alternative accurate? What are the rules that would
make it so?

>
> 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.
>

Which ones are doomed to be waw-prefixed, and which to be waw-less? And how
is the choice made?


> 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!
>

LOL! For me, because of my dyslexia, syntax comes almost first. That’s how
I compensate for dyslexia, starting with my primary language (English) and
extending to every other language I studied. “Context” includes the idea of
syntax. If something sounds out of place, I reread it until I’m sure I have
each word accurately recorded in my brain. That almost always clears up any
strange sounding sentence.

Of the TAM laws, I’ve found zero correspondence of the T & A portions to
Biblical Hebrew, and only limited correspondence of the M portion (Yiqtol
used for subjunctive and imperative uses and a few others to distinguish
them from indicative use where Qatal is used).

>
>
> more to come...
> nir cohen
>
> Sorry if I sound a bit harsh, that’s not my intention.

I now realize that almost everything I was taught about BH verbal use in
class was “first year lies” i.e. inaccurate. I had been taught that TA
portion of TAM, but by the time I read Tanakh through five–six times,
realized that what I had been taught had little relation, if any, to the
text before me.

If you can make a case for it, I’d appreciate it, but I may make you work
for it.

Yours, Karl W. Randolph.
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