Genesis 6:1 "born"

Classical Hebrew morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by Kenneth Greifer »

Jason,
I thought it was just that I misunderstood the quotes. Thanks.
Kenneth Greifer
Jonathan Beck
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by Jonathan Beck »

ducky wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:48 pm Hi Jason and Jonathan,

Jonathan,
I don't want to be misunderstood so notice that even though I said that the "tenseless" view is my basic view, My actual view about the Hebrew is evolution.
Mine, too. But I do think Hebrew does express tense, for the same reason that you said - about the VAYIQTOL pattern being based on the yaqtul form in Akkadian/protosemitic. The yiqtol/wayyiqtol were originally two separate forms, so it is inappropriate to refer to them as vav-consecutive, vav-reversive or conversive, or any form otherwise. They were not originally related, as previously thought.

The yiqtol/qatal forms are too versatile and varied to be designated as a simple tense, but in the case of the wayyiqtol (I follow Cook/Holmstedt in their designating it a Past Narrative), we see it functioning as a past-tense verb in 90% of its ocurrences. In my mind, that's consistent enough to classify it as "specifically" a past-tense form.

So - my opinion is that Hebrew DOES express tense because it has an (almost) uniquely past-tense form. But, as you said, this doesn't hold up all the time. The other 10% of the forms occur in poetry, and once you get there, most bets are off when it comes to verbs. :)

Jonathan
kwrandolph
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by kwrandolph »

Jonathan Beck wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:51 pmBut I do think Hebrew does express tense, for the same reason that you said - about the VAYIQTOL pattern being based on the yaqtul form in Akkadian/protosemitic. The yiqtol/wayyiqtol were originally two separate forms, so it is inappropriate to refer to them as vav-consecutive, vav-reversive or conversive, or any form otherwise. They were not originally related, as previously thought.
I don’t buy anything based on protosemitic, as that is a made-up language that is nowhere observed. I like to limit myself to observations, like a good scientist. Secondly, just because a certain construct is found in a cognate language, such as Akkadian, does not mean it was ever found in Hebrew.
Jonathan Beck wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:51 pm The yiqtol/qatal forms are too versatile and varied to be designated as a simple tense, but in the case of the wayyiqtol (I follow Cook/Holmstedt in their designating it a Past Narrative), we see it functioning as a past-tense verb in 90% of its ocurrences. In my mind, that's consistent enough to classify it as "specifically" a past-tense form.
Just because 90% of its occurrences are found in past action narration does not make it a past tense marker. All verbs in past action narrative refer to past actions irrespective of their conjugations, with the exception of quoted speech.

What you need to do is to look at the 10% of occurrences, many of which are in quoted speech, to get a handle on its uses. Then look to see if the same use can be understood in narration without assuming a tense marker.

That’s what I have done. That’s why I say that the Yiqtol, the Wayyiqtol as well, often refer to a secondary or continuing indicative mood, a meaning that fits narration beautifully without making it a tense marker.
Jonathan Beck wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:51 pmSo - my opinion is that Hebrew DOES express tense because it has an (almost) uniquely past-tense form. But, as you said, this doesn't hold up all the time. The other 10% of the forms occur in poetry, and once you get there, most bets are off when it comes to verbs. :)

Jonathan
The other 10% are not always in poetry.

In which language does poetry, particularly didactic poetry as in Tanakh, use a different grammar than found in narrative and spoken speech? Therefore grammar uses in poetry are to be used to help understand grammatical uses in other uses of the language.

Karl W. Randolph.
talmid56
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by talmid56 »

I may be wrong, but from what I've observed, the main differences between poetry and prose in Hebrew are different vocabulary in poetry and structural differences. That is, parallelism and acrostics, that sort of thing. For the most part, the grammar is the same in both genres.
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כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--(E 84:11) 84:12 תהלים
ducky
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by ducky »

Hi Jonathan,

I don't remember I said that YQTL and WYQTL are two different "tenses".
I actually see the W of the WYQTL as an original regular prefix W.
Which its original vowel is a "vowel" ("a").
And whenthe stress went forward, the "a" became a mobile Sheva.

While the verb-forms that kept their stress in the beginning, the vowel of the W stayed "a".

That is based on the roots with a weak letters, which then, influence the whole forms.

**
But who knows?
one assumes this and the other assumes that.
each one and his view.
It doesn't change a lot in the practical understanding of the reading.
David Hunter
Jonathan Beck
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by Jonathan Beck »

ducky wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 11:58 am Hi Jonathan,

I don't remember I said that YQTL and WYQTL are two different "tenses".
I actually see the W of the WYQTL as an original regular prefix W.
Which its original vowel is a "vowel" ("a").
And whenthe stress went forward, the "a" became a mobile Sheva.

While the verb-forms that kept their stress in the beginning, the vowel of the W stayed "a".

That is based on the roots with a weak letters, which then, influence the whole forms.

**
But who knows?
one assumes this and the other assumes that.
each one and his view.
It doesn't change a lot in the practical understanding of the reading.
Nope, it does not. But what I'm arguing, which I think is a minority view, is that the wayyiqtol form is a true past tense (or preterit) verb form based off of the Akkadian. So, because of this, I don't buy that Hebrew does not express tense.

Jonathan
Jonathan Beck
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by Jonathan Beck »

talmid56 wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:09 am I may be wrong, but from what I've observed, the main differences between poetry and prose in Hebrew are different vocabulary in poetry and structural differences. That is, parallelism and acrostics, that sort of thing. For the most part, the grammar is the same in both genres.
Well, we can't call the grammar exactly the same in both genres, right? Most of the time, in poetry we lack the direct object marker, for instance. We usually don't see a wayyiqtol form to indicate past action.

So in short, while the grammar of poetry differs from that of narrative, as my professor would say "Poetry is not weird; it does exactly what it's supposed to do!" :)

Jonathan
Jonathan Beck
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by Jonathan Beck »

I don’t buy anything based on protosemitic, as that is a made-up language that is nowhere observed. I like to limit myself to observations, like a good scientist. Secondly, just because a certain construct is found in a cognate language, such as Akkadian, does not mean it was ever found in Hebrew.
No, it's not a made-up language. It's a theoretical reconstruction of original forms based on earlier languages that we already know (Ugaritic, Akkadian, and Arabic). Just because it's theoretical doesn't necessarily mean it's incorrect. Furthermore, my espousal of a true past narrative form isn't based on a theoretical language - it's based on Akkadian, of which we have evidence - there is a true preterit form in that language.
Just because 90% of its occurrences are found in past action narration does not make it a past tense marker. All verbs in past action narrative refer to past actions irrespective of their conjugations, with the exception of quoted speech.
No, that's exactly what it means. If 90% of the attested wayyiqtol forms occur in narrative prose, we shouldn't say that it shouldn't be called past narrative because of outliers - we can safely say that it is a past narrative form with some exceptions. There are exceptions in every language. That said, perhaps there is some work still to be done to clarify the significance of these outliers.
What you need to do is to look at the 10% of occurrences, many of which are in quoted speech, to get a handle on its uses. Then look to see if the same use can be understood in narration without assuming a tense marker.
Exactly right. But I'm merely a student of a Hebrew linguist, not a Hebrew linguist myself. So I think this is something that certainly could be developed in order to clarify what's going on in the poetry where it occurs.
That’s what I have done. That’s why I say that the Yiqtol, the Wayyiqtol as well, often refer to a secondary or continuing indicative mood, a meaning that fits narration beautifully without making it a tense marker.
But that's what I'm saying. When I call it a past NARRATIVE form, I'm referring to the fact that it occurs predominantly in narrative text. I don't think the poetic texts in which the wayyiqtol forms occur have been adequately dealt with at this time. But I feel like there can be a conclusion (or several).

The other 10% are not always in poetry.
Well yes. Which is why I call it a past NARRATIVE form. It occurs 90% of the time in narrative prose. 10% are in poetry; 90% are in prose. Which is why, in my estimation, it is a fair play to call it a Past Narrative form.
In which language does poetry, particularly didactic poetry as in Tanakh, use a different grammar than found in narrative and spoken speech? Therefore grammar uses in poetry are to be used to help understand grammatical uses in other uses of the language.
Well, I can speak only from the perspective of English and Spanish, but we fudge our grammar to fit meter all the time in poetry. And no. (At the risk of contradicting myself) We can't equate modern English poetry with ancient Hebrew poetry. That's stupid. There are many literary devices used in Hebrew poetry that aren't used in modern language, such as parallelism. So yes. In Hebrew, there is precisely a separate grammar for poetry and a separate grammar for prose.

Jonathan
kwrandolph
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by kwrandolph »

Jonathan Beck wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:42 pm
I don’t buy anything based on protosemitic, as that is a made-up language that is nowhere observed. I like to limit myself to observations, like a good scientist. Secondly, just because a certain construct is found in a cognate language, such as Akkadian, does not mean it was ever found in Hebrew.
No, it's not a made-up language. It's a theoretical reconstruction of original forms based on earlier languages that we already know (Ugaritic, Akkadian, and Arabic). Just because it's theoretical doesn't necessarily mean it's incorrect.
It doesn’t mean that it’s correct either. “Theoretical reconstruction” is just a fancy way of saying “made up” based on certain presuppositions that may or may not be correct.
Jonathan Beck wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:42 pmFurthermore, my espousal of a true past narrative form isn't based on a theoretical language - it's based on Akkadian, of which we have evidence - there is a true preterit form in that language.
And with that comes my second objection—just because it is found in a cognate language, it does not follow that it was ever found in Biblical Hebrew.
Jonathan Beck wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 8:42 pm
Just because 90% of its occurrences are found in past action narration does not make it a past tense marker. All verbs in past action narrative refer to past actions irrespective of their conjugations, with the exception of quoted speech.
No, that's exactly what it means. If 90% of the attested wayyiqtol forms occur in narrative prose, we shouldn't say that it shouldn't be called past narrative because of outliers - we can safely say that it is a past narrative form with some exceptions. There are exceptions in every language. That said, perhaps there is some work still to be done to clarify the significance of these outliers.
What you need to do is to look at the 10% of occurrences, many of which are in quoted speech, to get a handle on its uses. Then look to see if the same use can be understood in narration without assuming a tense marker.
Exactly right. But I'm merely a student of a Hebrew linguist, not a Hebrew linguist myself. So I think this is something that certainly could be developed in order to clarify what's going on in the poetry where it occurs.
It occurs in prose as well. You need to give greater weight to the “outliers” and examine exactly how they are used, especially those “outliers” in prose. It is those prose “outliers” that indicate that the Wayyiqtol is not a past narrative indicator.

While I haven’t done a detailed study (mainly because of a lack of time) yet while reading the text I’ve noticed times in prose, just have not recorded those times in a data base, where the Wayyiqtol occurs in prose as other than a past tense marker. But we have examples such as Numbers 11:13 and 1 Samuel 2:29.

Karl W. Randolph.
Jonathan Beck
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Re: Genesis 6:1 "born"

Post by Jonathan Beck »

I actually agree with all of this. We're on the same page here.

Except to say we do have a form functioning as a preterit all of the time. And, we have a preterit from in Akkadian as well. All protosemitic does is attempt to explain how the final form was derived. It is a theoretical construction, but in my opinion, it's a darn good opinion.

Jonathan
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