[b-hebrew] text on the BH verb structure

Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. nir at ccet.ufrn.br
Sat Aug 24 14:43:36 EDT 2013


karl,

> now,וילכו אחרי ההבל (ibid:5) is somewhat different, since there is areal 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?
>

here i only reply to this part of your email.

having said that the BHVS is not 100% TAM-related, i still maintain that it is TAM-related in its own way. 
i think it is a mistake to associate TAM with european languages, as you do, in spite of its formative 
history, since it was applied quite successfully in analyzing most of the world's languages. the 
problem is that in each language you have to adjust your TAM parameters, and even modify the exact 
TAM model you use. and more so in ancient languages, due to their more isolated development and 
lack of sofistication.

the question is, what are the BH parameters. this is what my book is about.

 וילכו אחרי ההבל - this is EPISODIC, i.e. an account of real facts. here we expect PAST EVENTS 
to apply either qatal or wayiqtol. this use is plainly tensual, UNLESS BARRED BY SYNTAX. 
whereas for FUTURE  EVENTS you would expect to find yiqtol or weqatal.

this rules out your suggestion ואחרי ההבל ילכו: this does not describe a PAST 
EVENT in the EPISODIC case.

now to your examples from proverbs. these are all REPEATED EVENTS in GNOMIC situations. in
fact, most of proverbs and psalms is gnomic. these situations describe a quality of the action 
which is atemporal. BH reserves for the repeated event the yiqtol form, independent
of time: past, present and future. thus, they fall under a different category, and so are tensed 
differently. now, SEQUEL REPEATED EVENTS use wayiqol, since the waw is there, and it is inverting.

the repeated yiqtol is not tensual, and aspect (imperfective) is a better model for it.

ושלל לא יחסר - there is no attempt to label this as past, present or future; rather, to 
describe a quality. so, repeated event in yiqtol.

ממרחק תביא לחמה - ותקם  -  again, תביא uses atemporal description (repeated event) in yiqtol. it 
concentrates not on the action, but on the distance. 
ותקם (sequel repeated event) in wayiqtol.

while you might argue that וילכו אחרי ההבל also describes a repeated event, its rendering is not atemporal 
but specifically past, since the speaker wanted to imply a past event. thus, the choice of episodic or gnomic
speech depends on what type of clause you want to form: factual or qualitative.

nir cohen
 
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