Journal Article

The Semantics of Verbal Pragmatics: Clarifying the Roles of <i>Wayyiqtol</i> and <i>Weqatal</i> in Biblical Hebrew Prose*

John A. Cook

in Journal of Semitic Studies

Published on behalf of University of Manchester

Volume 49, issue 2, pages 247-273
Published in print January 2004 | ISSN: 0022-4480
Published online January 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-8556 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jss/49.2.247
The Semantics of Verbal Pragmatics: Clarifying the Roles of Wayyiqtol and Weqatal in Biblical Hebrew Prose*

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  • Middle Eastern History
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The parameters of temporal succession (labelled consecution or sequentiality) and foregrounding have long been associated with wayyiqtol and weqatal in Biblical Hebrew. Many recent models of the Biblical Hebrew verbal system distinguish these two waw-prefixed forms from qatal and yiqtol, respectively, based on the parameter of temporal succession, foregrounding, or both. Unfortunately, these parameters are generally presented as self-evident concepts and are therefore rarely defined with sufficient precision nor in many cases even distinguished from one another. This article distinguishes between temporal succession as a semantic property of clauses and the foreground-background distinction as a psycholinguistic feature of the processing and organizing of discourse. Correlation, or lack thereof, between each of these parameters and the waw-prefixed verb forms in Biblical Hebrew is then examined. This article concludes that a semantic analysis is crucial to explaining correlations between verb forms and discourse functions.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Middle Eastern History ; Middle Eastern Languages ; Literary Studies - World ; Biblical Studies

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