The meaning of the biblical Hebrew verbal conjugation from a crosslinguistic perspective

Moomo, David O. (2004-03)

Thesis (DLitt)--Stellenbosch University, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: One of the questions that have challenged scholars of BH for many years is whether the language should be regarded as a tense, aspectual or modal language. In this thesis, I argue that the lack and application of a metacategory for describing any language in general, and BH in particular, has been the main problem of the debate. A sound methodology is needed in order to be able to make an argument that can be tested empirically. The present study presents such a viable methodological approach. Using Bhatian parameters for tense, aspect and modal prominent languages, crosslinguistic metacategories of tense, aspect and mood were developed. These were applied to BH and the outcome was the hypothesis that BH is an aspect-prominent language. After formulating the above-mentioned hypothesis for BH, a corpus had been selected in the light of which the hypothesis was tested. The result demonstrates that BH consistently maintains perfective and imperfective aspectual distinctions. It was found that even where aspectual distinctions are extended to modal categories, the distinction in meanings between the perfective and the imperfective forms of the BH verb are not neutralised. From these observations, it has been concluded that there is the need to revisit the semantics of Proto Semitic. A model like the one used in this study could be replicated in the study of Proto Semitic. Such a revisit, it is hypothesised, may give fresh insights into the verbal system of Proto Semitic in general and BH in particular

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Een van die vrae wat reeds vir baie jare vir kenners van Byblese Hebreeus (=BH) In uitdaging is, is of die taal 'n tempustaal, 'n aspektuele taal of 'n modale taal is. In hierdie tesis voer ek aan dat die gebrek aan die toepassing van 'n metakategorie vir die beskrywing van tale in die algemeen, en BH in die besonder, die hoof probleem in die debat is. 'n Deeglike begronde metodologie is nodig om 'n hipotese daar te stel wat empiries getoets kan word. Hierdie studie wil so 'n metodologie formuleer. Deur gebruik te maak van Bhat se parameters vir tale waarvan die tempus, aspek en modaliteit prominent is, is kruislinguistiese metakategorieë vir tempus, aspek en modaliteit ontwikkel. Hierdie metakategorieë is op BH toegepas en die resultaat daarvan was die hipotese dat BH 'n aspek-prominente taal is. Nadat die bogenoemde hipotese vir BH geformuleer is, is 'n korpus geselekteer in die lig waarvan hierdie hipotese getoets kon word. Die resultaat demonstreer dat BH konsekwent die perfektiewe en imperfektiewe aspektuele onderskeid handhaaf. Daar is gevind dat selfs wanneer aspektuele onderskeidings uitgebrei is na modale kategorieë, die onderskeid tussen die perfektiewe en die imperfektiewe vorme van die BH werkwoord nie geneutraliseer word me. Vanuit hierdie waarnemings is tot die gevolgtrekking gekom dat dit nodig is om weer te gaan kyk na die semantiek van Proto-Semities. 'n Model soos die een wat in hierdie studie gebruik is, kan ook in die studie van Proto-Semities bebruik word. Die hipotese is dat so 'n hernude ondersoek nuwe insigte kan gee in die werkwoordsisteem van Proto-Semities in die algemeen en BH in die besonder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/53773
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