W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Fri Mar 18 12:08:16 UTC 2011
Just a few remarks concerning Agustinus Gianto's comments posted by Tom:
Agustinus has drawn our attention to a set of very interesting data.
Nevertheless, I dare to say that - as far as I know - the whole scenario
of how the Hebrew (and West Semitic) tense/aspect/mood forms have
developed is rather complex and perhaps a bit more complex that
described by Agustinus. I understand that he has spoken of just a
"skeletal picture", but in order to relate this picture to the question
of complexity, some additional comments might be helpful (and necessary)
(I'm sure that Agustinus is well aware of all these arguments, but maybe
that they are of some help to the Funknet community):
> The TAM system in Biblical Hebrew (BH) is a good example of a
> grammaticalization process that adds complexity to a previous system,
> Aramaic, though stemming from the same system as BH, took the opposite
> The development of the "prefix conjugation" in BH (generally called
> "imperfect, yixtov 'he writes'; cf. Arabic yaktub-u) is a strategy to
> handle the confusion resulting from the loss of final short vowels
> /a,i,u/ at the end of a word in a previous stage. Comparative evidence
> (cf. Arabic) suggests that the prefix conjugation in this earlier
> stage had at least four forms, i.e, 3masc. sg. imperfect: yaktub-u,
> narrative yaktub-ø (=zero); jussive: yaktub-ø, optative yaktub-a. (The
> narrrative and jussive have the same form but they have a
> complementary distribution.)
According to my knowledge, a 'co-existence' of the two 'aspect'-like
forms yaktub-u ('imperfective') and yaktub-ø ('perfective/narrative') is
mainly reconstructed for Ugarit. The form yaktub-ø seems to have been
the original form of the 'perfective > narrative' as illustrated by the
Accadian perfective 'iprus'-paradigm (competing with the imperfective
'iparras'-paradigm). Most likely, the zero-form also functioned as a
'jussive' in given contexts. The -u-paradigm (the yaktub-u type)
probably emerged from an older 'relative/subordinating' paradigm (marked
by *-u, as in Akkadian) that could be added to both perfective and
imperfective forms (Accadian iprus-u (perfective, relative), iparras-u
(imperfective, relative). The 'dynamic' pair iprus(-u)/iparras(-u) stood
in opposition to a stative-like, more nominal construction based on some
kind of participle (the Accadian paris- ~ paras- ~ parus-type), that
later on turned into the standard suffix conjugation (the kataba-type).
So, what we have is first a merger of the iprus/iparras-forms (due to
phonetic and accentual reasons) in Late West Semitic, resulting in the
generalization of the imperfective function, but using the simple
iprus-type. However, the underlying perfective notion of the iprus-type
still competed with the new perfective paris-type. Hence the augmented
form (the relative form marked by -u) had been taken to mark this new
imperfective, probably also because in subordinated clauses, the
imperfective fucntion conveying background information prevailed.
Although the processes alluded to above sound rather complex, they do
not suggest - in my eyes - a rise in complexity, but simply a shift in
paradigmatic organization. The two basic domains, perfective (~ telic)
and imperfective (~ atelic) had been present in all stages of these
processes. In addition, the processes to not introduce new material, but
simply rearrange given paradigms and sub-functions.
Now, as for the processes in Hebrew itself:
> When the final short vowels dropped, the forms risk to get confused
> with one another and their special use got compromised. In Hebrew,
> yixtov< *yaktub< *yaktub-u was generalized as the imperfect form in BH.
Well, this has not been the case for all verb forms. Some verbs still
retain the opposition -imperfective vs. zero-jussive: There are 'Hifil'
verb stems (when occurring without a further suffix) that have an -î- or
-û- following the second radical in the imperfective, but -ê- or -ô- in
the jussive (compare yaxtêv (3sg:M:JUSS) vs. yaxtîv (3Sg:M:IMPERF).
Crucially, the waw-consecutivum construction mentioned by Agustinus
takes up this opposition if given, confer: wa-yyaxtêv (wa-cons.) vs.
simple yaxtîv. In this context, Agustinus assumes:
> The narrative yaktub-ø, however, still looked very much like the
> imperfect. To deal with this, BH only allows the narrative yaktub-ø to
> stand in the first-position - and to "seal" this constraint, a
> conjunction wa- was prefixed to it, hence the form wayyiqtol
> ("converted imperfect") is always clause initial.
As far as I know, the waw-consecutivum construction is not bound to
imperfective verb forms. Rather, it basically marks a consecutive
clause, preceded by a clause in either the prefective or the
imperfective. There is some kind of crossing principle: If the first
clause is perfective, then the second clause takes the imperfective
wa-consecutivum construction (then having a perfective function). But if
the first clause is imperfective, then the second clause takes the
perfective waw-consecutivum construction (then having an imperfective
function) (sure, with many exceptions). Only in a later stage, the
imperfective-based waw-consecutivum construction became possible also in
text initial sequences.Hence, the waw-consecutivum construction did not
elaborate the narrative function of the older *yaktub-form, but showed
up as a general option to mark secondary elements in a chain of
subsequent event images (quite parallel to Arabic fa-). In addition, the
fact that the 'imperfective' waw-consecutivum construction makes use of
the jussive paradigm (if different) suggests that it has started from
the zero-form *yaktub, and not from the newer imperfective form *yaktub-u.
Now, as for the so-called 'optative' yaktub-a (better perhaps: finalis):
> The old optative yaktub-a took another path. When the final vowel -a
> was dropped, it became yaktub, making it too similar to the imperfect.
As far as I know there is hardly any evidence available that Hebrew ever
knew the Arabic-like -a-finalis. The history of this element is rather
obscure. Some people think of relating it to the so-called 'status
energicus' of Arabic, South Arabic, and Ugarit etc. (-an) that would
have dropped its -n just as it is true with 'nunated' and 'non-nunated'
forms of nouns (e.g. Arabic bait-u-n 'a house' vs. al-bait-u 'the
house'). But this is more like a guess....
> The strategy taken is interesting. The optative paradigm gave up its
> 2nd and 3rd persons. But the sg and pl of 1st persons got stabilized
> into what BH grammar calls "cohortative" 'ektva: and nektva: 'I/we
> wish to write'.
Well, it should be kept in mind that the so-called cohortative (marked
by the 'he cohortativum/voluntativum/paragogicum') is -â, and not -a.
This cohortative (which may (rarey) occur, by the way, with the 2.Sg
imperative and 3Sg:M imperfective, too) has occasionally been related to
the above-mentioned status energicus (-â < -an). But again, there does
not seem to be sufficient evidence to set up a final decision. In other
words: The cohortative simply continues would seems to have been given
already in Late West Semitic (or even beyond).
To sum up: I cannot fully understand, why
> BH opted for an ever complex grammaticalization
As far as I can see, there are no new grammatical categories that would
have emerged in Hebrew via grammaticalization. The loss of final -u did
not condition the creation of such a new category. Whether Hebrew ever
knew the structure yaktub-a remains controversial. Thus, the paradigms
at issue did not single out in a number of new sub-paradigms (idealiter
addressing 'new' functional domains) but are simply marked for
*Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze *
Institut für Allgemeine & Typologische Sprachwissenschaft
Dept. II / F 13
Tel.: 0049-(0)89-2180-2486 (Secretary)
Email: W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de
<mailto:W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de>/// Wolfgang.Schulze at lmu.de
<mailto:Wolfgang.Schulze at lmu.de>
Personal homepage: http://www.wolfgangschulze.in-devir.com
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