Aspect and modality in Biblical Hebrew

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Title: Aspect and modality in Biblical Hebrew
Author: Bae, Yunjung
Abstract: This thesis attempts to provide an encompassing account for the centuries-old question concerning how aspect and modality are grammaticalized in the verbal system in Biblical Hebrew. To this end, the semantics of the three verb forms qatal, yiqtol, and qotel are investigated by means of a theory-unbiased observation on the Biblical text. It is argued that Biblical Hebrew has an aspectual opposition of the perfective and the imperfective and that the two aspects are encoded by the verb forms qatal and qotel, respectively. Concerning the modal system in Biblical Hebrew, it is suggested that the Biblical Hebrew broadly distinguishes the realis and irrealis and that the irrealis is marked by a single verb form yiqtol. Finally, the verbs occasioned in the Book of Isaiah 52:13-53:12 are thoroughly examined in the light of the present study. The examination on the Isaiah passage consequently ascertains that the present study largely removes the existing obstacles in understanding Biblical Hebrew verb conjugations and lays the significant grounds toward the proper linguistic understanding of the Biblical text.
Department: Linguistics
Subject: aspect modality Biblical Hebrew verbs
Date: 2009-05

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