[b-hebrew] text on the BH verb structure

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sun Aug 25 07:31:57 EDT 2013


On Sun, Aug 25, 2013 at 2:43 AM, Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. <nir at ccet.ufrn.br>wrote:

>  *karl,
> *
>> > 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?
> >
> here i only reply to this part of your email.

That’s wise. That way we thrash one issue at a time, not the whole schmear.

> 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 adjusting of the TAM parameters is a slippery slope to
misunderstanding. Would it not be better to add new categories to TAM where
TAM doesn’t fit, than to reposition TAM to fit the language?

It’s my impression (correct me if I’m wrong) that part of the reason that
there’s so much disagreement among BH scholars is because each one is
making his own model, but using common terminology that ends up confusing

> 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
> whereas for FUTURE  EVENTS you would expect to find yiqtol or weqatal.

In this case the context is clearly past, so it doesn’t matter how the
verbs are conjugated.

In the Proverbs example that I cited, Yiqtols and Wayiqtols are used
interchangeably to present the same grammatical pattern. In Proverbs it is
present continuous indicative use.

While I haven’t done statistical analysis as have others, I have learned
not to expect the pattern you mention above.

However, most Wayiqtols are found in narrative, and with narrative being
such a large portion of Tanakh, it skews the stats. But when Wayiqtols are
used for future reference (from the speaker’s viewpoint), doesn’t that
negate the above paragraph?

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

Does it?

Sorry, I’ve put you in an impossible place of having to prove the negative,
so let me think about this a bit and see if I find positive examples. I
expect to find them. Right now I’m at a temporary hotspot and don’t have
the time to respond completely.


> 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 Proverbs passage I started to write a paper on it to present at a
meeting in Germany, before being disinvited by the institution. If I can
get that paper published, I’d finish it for publication.

In that passage there are about equal number of Yiqtols (some of them
Wayiqtols) and Qatals, but all of them used for repeated events in gnomic
situations. In other words, used in the same manner as present tense,
indicative mood, imperfective aspect verbs. It’s from many examples like
this that I claim that TAM doesn’t fit the BH verbal system.

> 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.

Context causes me to disagree with this response.

> 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.

The context clearly indicated previous generations, …

> nir cohen

Karl W. Randolph.
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