Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

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kwrandolph
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by kwrandolph »

Ben Putnam wrote:karl katav
Karl Randolph wrote:The verb רעה means “to feed”, or did you mean רוע which means “to sound forth” as with a trumpet? I doubt you meant רעע “to be displeasing or act in a displeasing manner”. However, I think you meant ראה “to look”, when combined with the grammatical note above would make אני ראיתי.
Karl, did you mean לרעות, להריע, להרע, and לראות?
Ben:

The tradition among Biblical Hebrew scholars, and which I was taught in class, is to list all verbs by the third person masculine singular Qatal form, which is what I followed above. Apparently this is closest to the linguistic root.

From where did you get your question?

Karl W. Randolph.
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Ben Putnam
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by Ben Putnam »

Yes, I realize this, and that is fine for lexicography; however, ראה does not mean "to look." לראות (maqor, infinitive) means "to see/look." If we are concerned about meaning and internalization of BH using real words matched to actual, though approximate, meanings (i.e. glosses), then it makes more sense to speak of לראות as "to see" and ראה as "(he) saw" (past time) or "(he) has/had seen" (complete aspect).

ברכות
Ben Putnam
kwrandolph
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by kwrandolph »

Ben:

You nit pick.
Ben Putnam wrote:Yes, I realize this, and that is fine for lexicography; however, ראה does not mean "to look." לראות (maqor, infinitive) means "to see/look." If we are concerned about meaning and internalization of BH using real words matched to actual, though approximate, meanings (i.e. glosses), then it makes more sense to speak of לראות as "to see" and ראה as "(he) saw" (past time) or "(he) has/had seen" (complete aspect).

ברכות
In lexicographic traditions, English is listed using the infinitive, Hebrew using the third person masculine singular Qatal. Therefore, if we want to discuss words using lexicographic traditions, we list them so in our discussions.

The claim that Qatal form indicates past time is modern Hebrew, not Biblical. Does modern Hebrew also understand the Qatal to mean complete aspect? It doesn’t have that meaning in Biblical Hebrew.

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Ben Putnam
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by Ben Putnam »

דואין
יש פרה ויש בית.
עבת על הפרה והוא אדום.
אני רואה אתו.
אני גם רואה קרנים על ראש הפרה.
אתה רואה אותם
הקרנים הם גדולים או קטנים
I figured out how to make the Hebrew text display right-to-left with punctuation in the proper places instead of having the last punctuation mark thrown to the other end of a line of text. I used both the "right" and "heb" tags nested together.

Code: Select all

[right][heb]הנה הדבר הזה.[/heb][/right]
הנה הדבר הזה.
Ben Putnam
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by kwrandolph »

Dear Ben
Ben Putnam wrote:
דואין
יש פרה ויש בית.
עבת על הפרה והוא אדום.
אני רואה אתו.
אני גם רואה קרנים על ראש הפרה.
אתה רואה אותם
הקרנים הם גדולים או קטנים
I figured out how to make the Hebrew text display right-to-left with punctuation in the proper places instead of having the last punctuation mark thrown to the other end of a line of text. I used both the "right" and "heb" tags nested together.

Code: Select all

[right][heb]הנה הדבר הזה.[/heb][/right]
הנה הדבר הזה.
Thanks for showing how to have Hebrew properly formatted in this forum.

However, what you wrote is modern Hebrew, not Biblical. This time while reading through Tanakh, I decided to record present tense, indicative sentences that recorded spoken conversations. By far the most common pattern that I’ve found so far is subject, verb in Qatal, then the object, usually with accusative indicator. So, for example, if I want to say “I see the dog” the sentence would come out as:
אני ראיתי את הכלב
But if I want to emphasize that I am presently looking at the dog, the sentence would come out like:
את הכלב אנכי מראה
with the verb being a Piel participle. Look at Genesis 37:16.

If I want to say that there are a dog and a chariot, I’d say:
יש כלב ומרכבה
because יש can refer to both singular and plural objects. You need a יש at the beginning of your third line.

Did you intend that your sixth line would be a question? Also your seventh line, did you intend it to be a question? If so, those sentences should be prefixed with the interrogative Heh.

So go back and rewrite the sentences in Biblical Hebrew instead of modern Hebrew.

Karl W. Randolph.
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by Kirk Lowery »

Ben has already given the basics, but I go into more detail about posting Hebrew here.
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Ben Putnam
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by Ben Putnam »

kirk

ani mode lexa
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Ben Putnam
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by Ben Putnam »

Karl Randolph wrote:. . . So go back and rewrite the sentences in Biblical Hebrew instead of modern Hebrew.
Karl, did you mean for that to sound so condescending? Because that is how it comes across to me.

Though your language suggestions on my response to Dewayne were unsolicited, I appreciate them. I especially appreciate the tip on the ה prefix for questions. That is something I haven't yet incorporated into my schema for the language and is helpful. I think my last line could use something like this to help make it clearer. Not sure that my אתה רואה אותם needs it though, since I understand that yes/no questions can begin without a ה. All this being said though, I can't say that I appreciate your last statement (above). It sounds rude and patronizing. I do not need to "go back and rewrite the sentences."

Allow me to explain if you will. There is a difference between "attempted biblical Hebrew" and "modern Hebrew." In other words, just because a Hebrew utterance may not be your idea of one-hundred-percent-perfect, biblical Hebrew doesn't mean it can or should be accurately labeled "modern Hebrew." Just as there exists such a thing as imperfect or "bad" modern English, there is also such a thing as imperfect or "bad" biblical Hebrew. If a Shakespeare enthusiast attempts the old dialect (Early Modern English) and makes a mistake here or there, it does not mean he or she is therefore speaking contemporary Modern English. It's still Shakespearean English. It just needs correction or adjustment to be more in line with the norms for Shakespearen English. Similarly, what I have written to Dewayne above is still biblical Hebrew (and as I will show below, it's not bad biblical Hebrew), even though it could be enhanced slightly to reflect "better" biblical Hebrew.

Side note:
It is interesting to note here that your suggestion, יש כלב ומרכבה, and the implication for my text, יש פרה ובית, both happen to be good modern Hebrew. That's right; your suggestion is good modern Hebrew. You won't see me going around telling you to rewrite this suggestion, however, since both of these statements are also good biblical Hebrew (and because I wouldn't want to be rude ;)).

As the field of second language acquisition (SLA) demonstrates, adjustments in one's language which build toward fluency don't always happen overnight. Language acquisition also isn't fostered by hypercritical correction. In fact, the opposite is the case; acquisition is hindered in a hypercritical and stress-laden environment. Time spent within the language, where real and meaningful communication is taking place in a fun and relaxed setting, is key. Mistakes should be a given. It is in this type of setting that constructive correction can be offered, received well, and hopefully with practice, incorporated.

For what it's worth, I am not really in agreement with your take on the Hebrew language of the Bible, specifically the verbal system.

For example, your suggestion, אני ראיתי את הכלב, for, 'I see the dog,' seems strange. I would generally read this as, 'I saw the dog,' in biblical Hebrew as well as modern. See 1 Samuel 22:9 as an example.
רָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־בֶּן־יִשַׁ֔י . . .
I saw Jesse's son . . .
For 'I see the dog' I would say, אני רואה את הכלב (in biblical as well as modern), similar to Jeremiah's response in Jeremiah 1:11.
מַקֵּ֥ל שָׁקֵ֖ד אֲנִ֥י רֹאֶֽה
An almond stick I see.
Here, מקל שקד is fronted for focus, since it is the answer to the question, מָה־אַתָּ֥ה רֹאֶ֖ה יִרְמְיָ֑הוּ, and the participle is used to refer to what Jeremiah is immediately, presently doing. Your Genesis 37:16 example is a good one and is not emphatic but is a simple statement.
Genesis 37:16
אֶת־אַחַ֖י אָנֹכִ֣י מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ
My brothers I am seeking.
Like in the previous example, את אחי is fronted because it is the answer to the question, מה תבקש. Here again, a participle is used for describing what Joseph was immediately, presently doing.
Karl Randolph wrote:If I want to say that there are a dog and a chariot, I’d say:
יש כלב ומרכבה
because יש can refer to both singular and plural objects. You need a יש at the beginning of your third line.
Yes, I would say, יש כלב ומרכבה, as well, for that concept. And I know יש is used with both singular and plural; however, in Line 3 I was not trying to say, 'there is a rope,' but, 'a rope is on the cow,' a slightly different statement. Genesis 1:2 seems to provide an example of this type of usage.
וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום
Perhaps, though, Line 3 could be better written. I'll give you that.

I've read some of the dialogue between you and Randall Buth over the years in the B-Hebrew archives, so I know somewhat where you're coming from. I've internalized some biblical and modern and am a linguistics enthusiast myself. I do find myself agreeing with Buth, though, and the evidence he presents as a linguist, specifically on the participle and on TAM (time-aspect-mood). However, I am not a scholar—maybe one day! :)—and I'd rather focus more at the present time on communicating in BH with others who have similar goals for internalization, and not so much on overbearing, critical analyses of my or others' communicative attempts. In other words, I am communicating with others in BH in order to progress toward fluency and for enjoyment and personal enrichment and satisfaction, not to satisfy you or your view of the language (which, as I've indicated, I don't believe to be totally accurate in the first place—no offense). Don't get me wrong, I am concerned with accuracy and learning the language correctly, but I also understand how SLA works and that mistakes are a part of the process. I also understand the limitations of BH with our limited corpus of extant sources; however, I remain confidently optimistic regarding the benefits of CLT (communicative language teaching) for BH and will continue to be humble enough to make necessary adjustments and be receptive to constructive feedback as I acquire more of the language. But one of my goals for this topic was and still is to foster a positive, "safe" venue for communicative BH practice. I hope you'll make an effort to respect that and engage in a less patronizing and criticizing way and, if not, maybe consider posting on a different topic instead.

Respectfully,
Ben

PS Dewayne, I hope you'll post a response and maybe another image when you get time. I enjoy practicing with you. I'll also try to post another image myself so all here can have more prompts for BH responses.
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kwrandolph
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by kwrandolph »

Ben Putnam wrote:Though your language suggestions on my response to Dewayne were unsolicited, I appreciate them. I especially appreciate the tip on the ה prefix for questions. That is something I haven't yet incorporated into my schema for the language and is helpful. I think my last line could use something like this to help make it clearer. Not sure that my
אתה רואה אותם needs it though, since I understand that yes/no questions can begin without a ה.

Allow me to explain if you will. There is a difference between "attempted biblical Hebrew" and "modern Hebrew." In other words, just because a Hebrew utterance may not be your idea of one-hundred-percent-perfect, biblical Hebrew doesn't mean it can or should be accurately labeled "modern Hebrew." Just as there exists such a thing as imperfect or "bad" modern English, there is also such a thing as imperfect or "bad" biblical Hebrew.
I understand that there’s bad Biblical Hebrew.

What I refer to here is the apparent use of the participle for the present tense. Sentence after sentence has a participle as a verb. That is a pattern that is not Biblical, but it is modern. I’m quite honest with the group that I don’t know modern Hebrew, other than that it’s a tense based language — the participle is used for the present tense, the Qatal for the past tense, and the Yiqtol for the future tense. So when I see a whole slew of sentences with all having participles for verbs, my first thought is “Modern Hebrew!” Since the only Hebrew I know is Biblical Hebrew, it just feels exceedingly odd.

Biblical Hebrew, on the other hand, doesn’t conjugate for time; neither tense nor aspect. Qatal is used for future and present as well as past, participles are used for past and future as well as present events, and Yiqtols are used for past and present as well as future. This is a harder lesson to incorporate than to remember that a question starts with an interrogative heh (other than those that start with interrogative words like who? where? etc.) because we all have grown up in languages that are tense based.
Ben Putnam wrote:It is interesting to note here that your suggestion, יש כלב ומרכבה, and the implication for my text, יש פרה ובית,
Actually you wrote יש פרה ויש בית and my suggestion here was for a smoother reading.
Ben Putnam wrote:As the field of second language acquisition (SLA) demonstrates, adjustments in one's language which build toward fluency don't always happen overnight.
I should know. It’s taken me decades to get to where I’m at in Biblical Hebrew.
Ben Putnam wrote: Language acquisition also isn't fostered by hypercritical correction. In fact, the opposite is the case; acquisition is hindered in a hypercritical and stress-laden environment. Time spent within the language, where real and meaningful communication is taking place in a fun and relaxed setting, is key. Mistakes should be a given. It is in this type of setting that constructive correction can be offered, received well, and hopefully with practice, incorporated.
Personally, I don’t think I’m being hypercritical. We’re talking about language that a three to five year old child would speak.
Ben Putnam wrote:For what it's worth, I am not really in agreement with your take on the Hebrew language of the Bible, specifically the verbal system.
From where did you learn your Biblical Hebrew? Do you think that by learning modern Hebrew that you thereby understand Biblical Hebrew as well?

Do you think we should have a separate thread just to discuss grammar?
Ben Putnam wrote:For example, your suggestion, אני ראיתי את הכלב, for, 'I see the dog,' seems strange. I would generally read this as, 'I saw the dog,' in biblical Hebrew as well as modern. See 1 Samuel 22:9 as an example.
רָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־בֶּן־יִשַׁ֔י . . .
I saw Jesse's son . . .
For 'I see the dog' I would say, אני רואה את הכלב (in biblical as well as modern), similar to Jeremiah's response in Jeremiah 1:11.
מַקֵּ֥ל שָׁקֵ֖ד אֲנִ֥י רֹאֶֽה
An almond stick I see.
Here, מקל שקד is fronted for focus, since it is the answer to the question, מָה־אַתָּ֥ה רֹאֶ֖ה יִרְמְיָ֑הוּ, and the participle is used to refer to what Jeremiah is immediately, presently doing. Your Genesis 37:16 example is a good one and is not emphatic but is a simple statement.
Genesis 37:16
אֶת־אַחַ֖י אָנֹכִ֣י מְבַקֵּ֑שׁ
My brothers I am seeking.
Like in the previous example, את אחי is fronted because it is the answer to the question, מה תבקש. Here again, a participle is used for describing what Joseph was immediately, presently doing.
Just dealing with present event sentences, we can see the use of the Qatal for present actions:

Genesis 4:6 למה חרה לך ולמה נפלו פניך Why is there anger to you and why is your face fallen?
Genesis 4:9 לא ידעתי I do not know
Genesis 26:27 ואתם שנאתם אתי and you hate me
Genesis 26:28 ראו ראינו כי היה יהוה עמך we surely see that YHWH is with you
Genesis 27:2 לא ידעתי יום מותי I don’t know the day of my death
Genesis 27:46 קצתי בחיי (there’s no exact translation of this into English)
Genesis 29:5 ידענו we know
Genesis 29:6 והנה רחל בתו באה עם הצאן and behold his daughter Rachel is coming with the sheep.
Genesis 41:38 (one with a question) הנמצא Is there found …? showing the interrogative prefix on a Niphal Qatal verb. But don’t be too strong with this example, because it can also be read, “Can we find …?” as a first person plural Yiqtol verb. Either way it’s present action.

And there are more examples in Genesis. Shall we go on to Exodus and other books, or is this enough?

I also have many more examples using participles, but they are far fewer than with Qatals.
Ben Putnam wrote:
Karl Randolph wrote:If I want to say that there are a dog and a chariot, I’d say:
יש כלב ומרכבה
because יש can refer to both singular and plural objects. You need a יש at the beginning of your third line.
Yes, I would say, יש כלב ומרכבה, as well, for that concept. And I know יש is used with both singular and plural; however, in Line 3 I was not trying to say, 'there is a rope,' but, 'a rope is on the cow,' a slightly different statement. Genesis 1:2 seems to provide an example of this type of usage.
וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום
Perhaps, though, Line 3 could be better written. I'll give you that.
There are very few stand-alone Biblical Hebrew sentences that don’t have a verb or a verbal understanding from context (I know of none). Your example from Genesis 1:2 is not a stand-alone sentence, but part of a longer sentence with היה as the verb.

Verbal understandings come from words like יש and אין or interrogatives like למה, מי, and מה.
Ben Putnam wrote:I've read some of the dialogue between you and Randall Buth over the years in the B-Hebrew archives, so I know somewhat where you're coming from. I've internalized some biblical and modern and am a linguistics enthusiast myself. I do find myself agreeing with Buth, though, and the evidence he presents as a linguist, specifically on the participle and on TAM (time-aspect-mood). However, I am not a scholar—maybe one day! :)—and I'd rather focus more at the present time on communicating in BH with others who have similar goals for internalization, and not so much on overbearing, critical analyses of my or others' communicative attempts. In other words, I am communicating with others in BH in order to progress toward fluency and for enjoyment and personal enrichment and satisfaction, not to satisfy you or your view of the language (which, as I've indicated, I don't believe to be totally accurate in the first place—no offense). Don't get me wrong, I am concerned with accuracy and learning the language correctly, but I also understand how SLA works and that mistakes are a part of the process. I also understand the limitations of BH with our limited corpus of extant sources; however, I remain confidently optimistic regarding the benefits of CLT (communicative language teaching) for BH and will continue to be humble enough to make necessary adjustments and be receptive to constructive feedback as I acquire more of the language. But one of my goals for this topic was and still is to foster a positive, "safe" venue for communicative BH practice. I hope you'll make an effort to respect that and engage in a less patronizing and criticizing way and, if not, maybe consider posting on a different topic instead.
Oh, Randall Buth again.

I have to admit this much, he knows far more linguistics than I, has studied comparative Semitics which is a hole in my education, apparently his PhD dissertation is a tour-de-force held up as an example for aspiring scholars. But the Hebrew he knows best is modern Hebrew and he doesn’t know Bible, hence his knowledge of Biblical Hebrew is not as good as it could be. More than once he made a claim, and my answer was merely to list Bible passages, Bible passages that showed that his claim was wrong. I didn’t think I needed any further answer. I finally told him that the reason he made so many mistakes (in Biblical Hebrew knowledge) was because he doesn’t know Bible.

As far as TAM, it doesn’t work with all languages. How do you apply TAM to languages that don’t conjugate verbs, like Chinese? I hear Japanese also doesn’t conjugate verbs. Of those languages that conjugate verbs, do they necessarily follow TAM? As far as I can tell, Biblical Hebrew doesn’t.

I wanted to get the full scholarly education like Randall Buth and other professors, with studying the cognate languages and linguistics, but didn’t have the resources to pursue that route. At the time I was very disappointed. But now I’m thankful as my Biblical Hebrew understanding is uncontaminated with that other knowledge. My knowledge is based not on head knowledge of rules and scholarly studies, but on feelings, how does the text feel? I read Bible not with the goal of making scholarly studies, but on reading it over and over again, like a child hearing his parents speaking and thereby internalizing the language. And continuing that reading almost every day, even now. Randall Buth admitted he hasn’t done that sort of study, nor, for that matter, has any recognized scholar that I’ve heard of.

An example of feelings was the Josiah stone forgery that apparently fooled even many scholars. But my first reaction was that it didn’t feel right, like a foreigner speaking with a slight accent.

As for SLA, yes mistakes are part of the process, but so is correction. At this point I’m not jumping on every little thing, rather just the major mistakes. SLA without correction is not learning the second language. I don’t intend to be overbearing, but if I am, let me know how I’m doing so.
Ben Putnam wrote:Respectfully,
Ben

PS Dewayne, I hope you'll post a response and maybe another image when you get time. I enjoy practicing with you. I'll also try to post another image myself so all here can have more prompts for BH responses.
Karl W. Randolph.
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Re: Some Fun with Biblical Hebrew for Real Communication

Post by Ben Putnam »

Karl Randolph wrote:That is a pattern that is not Biblical, but it is modern. I’m quite honest with the group that I don’t know modern Hebrew, other than that it’s a tense based language — the participle is used for the present tense, the Qatal for the past tense, and the Yiqtol for the future tense. So when I see a whole slew of sentences with all having participles for verbs, my first thought is “Modern Hebrew!”
No need to cry, "Modern Hebrew!" if biblical Hebrew uses participles for immediate, present, concurrent situations as well, which it does.

A note on frequency versus usage. You have mentioned frequency of participles a few times as if that simply by itself were a determining factor of what is and is not biblical Hebrew. Have you ever considered that perhaps the reason you don't see "a whole slew of sentences" in the tana"x with participles for present tense is that there are not too many sections of the text where "a whole slew" of true present tense verbs would be needed? In other words, usage is what is important here, not frequency. In much of the text there are past time narratives ("He went here, and did this, and said this," etc.) and future situations ("I will do this") being discussed. We should not expect to see as many strings of true presents ("She is [currently] saying this, and doing this, and going there") in literary works such as these. But that is something we should naturally expect in everyday interactions. Examples (in English) follow.

- Where are you headed?
- [walking out the door] I'm going to the vineyard.
(immediate, present, concurrent situation)

- What is he doing?
- He's eating bread and speaking with the woman.
(immediate, present, concurrent situation)

- Where is Dad?
- He's walking on the beach, looking for silver.
(immediate, present, concurrent situation)

- What are you up to?
- [stirring a pot] I'm cooking some fish for supper.
(immediate, present, concurrent situation)
Karl Randolph wrote:Biblical Hebrew, on the other hand, doesn’t conjugate for time; neither tense nor aspect. Qatal is used for future and present as well as past, participles are used for past and future as well as present events, and Yiqtols are used for past and present as well as future.
This confuses the data. Also, the question is not "What all can a participle do?" or "What is every possible function that a qatal can have, or a yiqtol?" but "What is used to mark an immediate, present, concurrent situation?" The answer to this question is "a participle."

The examples you have given do not get at this question, as I will demonstrate below.
Karl Randolph wrote:
Ben Putnam wrote:It is interesting to note here that your suggestion, יש כלב ומרכבה, and the implication for my text, יש פרה ובית,
Actually you wrote יש פרה ויש בית and my suggestion here was for a smoother reading.
This is a misunderstanding. I said, "the implication for my text," not "my text" itself. In other words, if I applied your suggestion to my text it would have been written יש פרה ובית. It is a smoother reading, yes, though the original was not wrong. And my point was that your suggestion is also good modern Hebrew. Sometimes good biblical Hebrew also happens to be good modern Hebrew. And this similarity does not make the biblical Hebrew utterance "modern." In other words, no one is saying the dialects are identical, but one can notice a similarity without crying "Modern Hebrew!"
Karl Randolph wrote:I should know. It’s taken me decades to get to where I’m at in Biblical Hebrew.
Let the reader recognize that these kinds of personal comments are merely anecdotal and cannot serve as real evidence. It is possible for a person to cement wrong conceptions of a language into their mind through repeated misuse over the course of twenty or forty years. And it is always helpful to take one's theories out for a test drive with the data.
Karl Randolph wrote:Just dealing with present event sentences, we can see the use of the Qatal for present actions:
We will see. I'm going to number these for clarity. In biblical Hebrew, the participle is used for immediate, present, concurrent situations. It will become apparent that the examples you listed do not demonstrate that qatal is used for these types of situations.

1.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 4:6 למה חרה לך ולמה נפלו פניך Why is there anger to you and why is your face fallen?
I see this as present perfect. "Why have you become angry, and why has your face fallen?"

Unambiguous examples are what are needed for you to demonstrate your theory that qatal marks immediate, present, concurrent situations. This first example is not unambiguous, so it doesn't work as evidence.

Another reason it doesn't work for evidence is it's a question. According to Buth (see reference below), questions can be a special register and are often seen with yiqtol in present situations. For example:

Genesis 37:15
מַה־תְּבַקֵּֽשׁ
What are you looking for?
(What would you be looking for?)

You will need to find some examples that are unambiguous. In order to be unambiguous, they need to meet the following criteria (criteria borrowed from Buth, the linguist, at http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-he ... 38853.html).

a. No questions
b. No poetry
c. No habitual/omnitemporal/timeless (including negations)

See the link above for the reasons these restrictions are necessary.

2.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 4:9 לא ידעתי I do not know
In my understanding, the definite tense-aspect ידעתי here indicates decisiveness and functions as a 'perfect', while masking/suppressing its capability for carrying a past time feature. In other words, Cain's main point is not that his lack of knowledge occurs in the present time; rather his main point is the lack of knowledge itself. Thus, qatal fits nicely here.

See Buth's "A Short Syntax of the Hebrew Verb" in Living Biblical Hebrew: Selected Readings with 500 Friends (2008), where he gives more information on qatal as present perfect. He explains, "It is common to use the past tense, i.e., the definite tense-aspect, for states that are already completed. This usage is especially common with mental states, such as remembering and knowing." See as examples Numbers 11:5 זָכַ֙רְנוּ֙ אֶת־הַדָּגָ֔ה "we remember the fish" ("we have remembered the fish"), Genesis 12:11 יָדַ֔עְתִּי כִּ֛י אִשָּׁ֥ה יְפַת־מַרְאֶ֖ה אָֽתְּ "I know you are a woman beatiful to behold" ("I have known . . .").

This is also a negation, so it doesn't work for evidence.

3.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 26:27 ואתם שנאתם אתי and you hate me
This is not a present situation but a past one. The gloss should read, "and you hated me." This is evident from the story. Isaac had previously been sent away from Abimelech (see verse 16), and now Isaac is recalling this incident from the past: "you hated me," (past tense).

4.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 26:28 ראו ראינו כי היה יהוה עמך we surely see that YHWH is with you
This example occurs within the same narrative as number 3. It is also past (they came to Isaac because they "saw"), or it may be a present perfect ("we have seen"). But read the context; this is not a present.

5.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 27:2 לא ידעתי יום מותי I don’t know the day of my death
Here again we see qatal being used for mental states like knowing and remembering. This definite tense-aspect here is suppressing its past time feature while marking for aspect, a 'perfect'. See note above on number 2. It is also a negation.

6.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 27:46 קצתי בחיי (there’s no exact translation of this into English)
"Exact translations" aren't necessary. Glosses are fine. But how about "I have had enough of my life"?

This is not an unambiguous example. Rebekah needs to be presently crying or running or doing some other concurrent and immediate action, an actual present, for this to work. It looks like a 'perfect' to me and may fall into the "mental states" category described in number 2., but regardless, it does not fit the necessary criteria.

7.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 29:5 ידענו we know
Again we see qatal for the mental state of knowing. This is looking like a pattern...

8.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 29:6 והנה רחל בתו באה עם הצאן and behold his daughter Rachel is coming with the sheep.
This is a participle, not qatal. Though you may feel free to read it differently, I am not sure that it would be correct.

The only difference between בָּאָה as a participle and as a definite tense-aspect is where the stress is placed. In this case, I read it as in the expected place for a participle (ba'A), which fits nicely here. For an example with the definite tense-aspect, compare Genesis 29:9 (only a few verses later), where it is said that Rachel בָּאָה BA'a "came, arrived" with the sheep (past). Since the form of the word בָּאָה is the same for the participle and qatal, this example is not helpful. It is ambiguous at best and against your theory at worst.

9.
Karl Randolph wrote:Genesis 41:38 (one with a question) הנמצא Is there found …? showing the interrogative prefix on a Niphal Qatal verb. But don’t be too strong with this example, because it can also be read, “Can we find …?” as a first person plural Yiqtol verb. Either way it’s present action.
This is a question and thus cannot function as evidence. You also do not even see it as unambiguous, so I am at a loss for why you would even point to it as evidence for your theory. I should not have to say that ambiguous examples prove nothing. On top of that, it is not a present. A present would be something like "Are we finding?" which is not what is being asked here.

So, zero out of the nine examples you gave work to demonstrate your theory for qatal or yiqtol as the default for present tense situations. Again, the reader is referred to the examples in my previous post above for the participle filling the role of the present tense in biblical Hebrew. Again, just because the participle is used as a present tense does not mean that it cannot be or is not used in any other way. When one is communicating in biblical Hebrew and wants to describe what a woman is doing as she is walking across the room, one would correctly say, hi holexet היא הולכת without regard to all other possible contexts in which holexet might have been used.
Karl Randolph wrote:And there are more examples in Genesis. Shall we go on to Exodus and other books, or is this enough?
I also have many more examples using participles, but they are far fewer than with Qatals.
Well, if you can find some examples that meet the criteria for an immediate, concurrent, present situation, then maybe you could cite those. Otherwise, please let's not waste time and space in this thread. As I stated previously, I wanted this thread to be devoted primarily to using the language, not critiquing others' biblical Hebrew or arguing for certain theories. We have all those other threads for those things.

braxot
Ben Putnam
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