Journal of Hebrew Scriptures - Volume 11: Article 8 (2011)
Alexander Andrason, "Biblical Hebrew Wayyiqtol: A Dynamic Definition?"
This article provides a concise, non-reductionist and non-taxonomist synchronically valid definition of the Biblical Hebrew verbal construction labeled wayyiqtol. Basing his proposal on findings of evolutionary linguistics (to which belong grammaticalization, path and chaos theories as well as cognitive linguistics) and employing the panchronic methodology, the author demonstrates the following: all semantic and functional properties (such as taxis, aspectual, temporal, modal and discourse-pragmatic values) of the wayyiqtol – as distinct and superficially incongruent they appear – may be unified and rationalized as a single dynamic category: advanced portions of the anterior and simultaneous trajectories (which constitute two sub-clines of the resultative path), developed within the three temporal spheres and, additionally, contextualized by the incorporation of an originally independent lexeme with a coordinative-consecutive force.
The author constructs his thesis enumerating various properties of the formation as witnessed in the Biblical material. This supposedly chaotic synchronic inventory is subsequently tidied up in accordance with the orderliness principle (imposed by the abductive type of argumentation) and pictured as a computation of portions of the two above-mentioned universal evolutionary scenarios. After that, the hypothesis is verified by diachronic (Proto-Semitic origin, cognitive basis and posterior development of the expression) and comparative evidences (properties of genetically related constructions in other Semitic languages). Having presented a new classification of the wayyiqtol, the author also shows how this proposal differs from another grammaticalization based model established by Cook (2002) and, finally, indicating certain weaknesses of his own explanation, sketches a plan of future research.
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