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Friday, January 06, 2017


Good Film

The picture has no connection to the story... except for the tiny fact that I understand the name "Smilla"  (pronounced Smil' - la) as  Milra  מִלְּרַע
 since they sort of sound alike - sometimes I think "Smilra"...................
and then since it is milra, I pronounce "Smilla"  as  Smil-la with accent on the last syllable.

This intro will explain the following somewhat...
(there is a lot it won't explain, however.)


I was arguing Hebrew grammar the other day. It was a snow day; I'm sure a lot of people had time on their hands and were doing very similar things: shovel snow, have hot cocoa, make onion soup, decide whether to take the Christmas tree down early and not waiting a couple more weeks for the Kaiser's birthday... and talk about grammar issues.

So here is it: the Waw Conversive or Waw Consecutive:
...Biblical Hebrew has two additional conjugations, both of which have an extra prefixed letter waw, with meanings more or less reversed from the normal meanings. That is, "waw + prefix conjugation" has the meaning of a past (particularly in a narrative context), and "waw + suffix conjugation" has the meaning of a non-past, opposite from normal (non-waw) usage. This apparent reversal of meaning triggered by the waw prefix led to the early term waw-conversive (in Hebrew waw hahipuch, literally "the waw of reversal"). The modern understanding, however, is somewhat more nuanced, and the term waw-consecutive is now used.

and for example:

Used with verbs, the prefix has a double function. It is still conjunctive, but also has the effect of altering the tense and aspect of the verb. Weingreen gives the following example.[1] If one considers two simple past narrative statements, one expects to find them in the perfect tense:

šāmar hammeleḵ eṯ dəḇar YHWH

שָׁמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת דְּבַר יהוה‎
The king kept the word of the LORD

šāp̄aṭ eṯ haʿam bəṣeḏeq

שָׁפַט אֶת הָעָם בְּצֶדֶק‎
He judged the people in righteousness.

Šāmar ("kept") and šāp̄aṭ ("judged") are simple perfect qal forms, and they are the citation forms (lemmas) of these verbs. If however these two sentences are not separate but in one continuous narrative then only the first verb is in the perfect, whereas the following verb ("and he judged") is in the imperfect (yišpôṭ) with a prefixed waw:

A   šāmar hammeleḵ eṯ dəḇar YHWH wayyišpôṭ eṯ-haʿam bəṣeḏeq

שָׁמַר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת דְּבַר יהוה וַיִּשְׁפּוֹט אֶת הַעַם בְּצֶדֶק‎
The king kept the word of the LORD and he judged the people in righteousness.

Conversely, in a continuous narrative referring to the future, the narrative tense will be the imperfect, but this becomes a perfect after the conjunction:

  yišmôr hammeleḵ eṯ dəḇar YHWH wəšāp̄aṭ eṯ-haʿam bəṣeḏeq

יִשְׁמוֹר הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת דְּבַר יהוה וְשָׁפַט אֶת הַעַם בְּצֶדֶק‎
The king will keep the word of the LORD and he will judge the people in righteousness.

I am not very big on the whole "changing the tense of the verb" thing; i.e., changing from past to future and vice-versa. I find it very, very difficult to find any argument compelling in the slightest.
The imperfect Arabic also will function as a future tense with a few doodads, so mixing up future and imperfect is not difficult.

So I read   A   as something along the lines

"The king kept the word of the LORD   (as evidenced by the ongoing fact that)   he was judging and continued to judge the people in righteousness."

and B as

"The king will keep the word of the LORD and he will (always) be seen to have judged the people in righteousness (at some future time of memory)."

B is sort of a future perfect and A is an ongoing continuous future imperfect.


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