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Hebrew waw consecutive

From:David McCann <david@...>
Date:Thursday, August 21, 2008, 20:21
On Wed, 2008-08-20 at 13:43 +0200, Veoler wrote:

> Is there some hard evidence for this? As far as I have heard there was no > real foundation behind waw conversive, and I haven't ever seen any proof in > any direction. So I'm 67% non-believer in waw conversive and 33% agnostic, > until I see evidence. Do you have any references about the justification or > reason to assume the theory? > > I have'nt got very far in learning Hebrew and thought I should wait with > this question, but since it was brought up... >
I'm no expert on Semitic languages: a quick check shows I read Gray's Introduction in 1973 and Gelb on Akkadian in 1982! I took the example from A. B. Davidson's Hebrew Grammar, but he offered no comment. I've just looked at Robert Hetzron's article in Major Languages of the World. He regards the perfective wa- form (which he rightly, I think, calls a past tense) as original and the non-past form as derived after wa- came to be seen as a "tense switcher". He suggests an etymology hawaya "was". I seem to remember that Akkadian forms a past in u-; but if that's so, Hetzron evidently thinks it unrelated. Of course, we can't tell what the original vocalisation was; it would be too good to be true if the prefix were the only tense marker.


Elliott Lash <erelion12@...>