[b-hebrew] text on the BH verb structure

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


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

> 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

> 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)
> 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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