Andrew Chapman wrote:Hi Karl,
I didn't understand Qatal and Yiqtol as indicating tense per se,
I was originally taught tense in class…
Andrew Chapman wrote:but I did understand them as indicating aspect.
When I was taught Hebrew, this idea was just then coming into vogue, so the professor introduced us to this idea too.
Andrew Chapman wrote:I am using Davidson's Analytical Lexicon,
Excellent resource for the beginning student of Hebrew, I used my copy until it fell apart. But its categories are dated. Translate “preterite” into “Qatal” and “future” into “Yiqtol” and you should be fine 99% of the time.
One caveat, Davidson assumed two things that I have found false—1) the Masoretic points are always correct, which I have found usually, but not always, correct, and 2) every noun and adjective has a tri-literal verbal root. Both of those suppositions are based on tradition that was still taught when I studied Hebrew.
Andrew Chapman wrote:and have been converting his 'preterite' and 'future' into 'perfect' and 'imperfect', which is what my grammars call the conjugations, explaining them in terms of completion and non-completion (eg Davidson/Mauchline §17.1). You say that they don't indicate aspect either, so can I ask what you think they do indicate?
For verbal conjugations, I know of TAM—Tense-Aspect-Mood. Every western language that I’ve studied conjugates for tense, some for aspect as well, but none for mood. Mood is indicated by context. All the grammars of Hebrew that I know of were written from people whose mother tongues grammaticalized tense and sometimes aspect, but none from a background of mood. That includes medieval Jewish grammars, as medieval Hebrew, as well as the native languages that they spoke, grammaticalized tense and sometimes aspect too. Tense and aspect are both measurements of time.
Moods that we are taught in English include indicative, optative, and subjunctive. Biblical Hebrew has different moods, and the Qatal and Yiqtol both take more than one mood, context indicates which.
Qatal is connected with indicative, also with the idea of changing subjects or indicating certainty of action.
Yiqtol is connected with secondary, or follow-up indicative (continuation of subject), subjunctive or intent.
Optative is not expressed by conjugation in Biblical Hebrew.
I have written a dictionary that is a .pdf file that I send out to people who request it at email@example.com
. I update every six months. In the back I have a short grammar in which I go into greater detail as to the grammaticalization of Biblical Hebrew verbs. It assumes that the user has basic knowledge of Biblical Hebrew (which it sounds like you have) and who doesn’t mind reading unpointed Hebrew.
My 2¢, I hope it helps.
Karl W. Randolph.