Thursday, March 30, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Progressive Aspect

Genesis 1:2.
ב וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם:
Translation:     The earth was empty and chaotic and dark above the depths and a spirit of Gd was wafting back and forth above the water.
You should be asking me a question here: why is there a definite article with mayim but not with t’hom.  I don’t know. I tried to find something online that explains this.  They all focus on how the construct noun CAN’T have a definite article.
And now that other word, m’rachefet. Let’s go through the drill of classifying it.
The root is rachaf. It has resh which can’t take certain things in conjugation, and it has a guttural, chet, in the middle. (What are the other three gutturals? Just checking.)
The binyan is piel and I’ll say more about that in the next lesson.
It’s a progressive aspect.
It’s a feminine singular, and that’s all you need to know when you’re looking at progressive aspect.
There are two reasons to use progressive aspect here. One is that we have a prepositional phrase for a location, al p’ney ha-maim.
The other, and this is the basic reason the progressive aspect got its name, is that we have a continuous motion, not a one-time thing. I’ll talk more about that next lesson.
Here’s the conjugation.
Notice what happens under the chet in the plural. If this reminds you of what happened under the heh in some forms of hayah, you have good eyes. Both of these are gutturals and there are some things they can’t take. Normally there would be a shva in this position.
The mem at the start is the sign that this is piel. There’s another binyan that can put mem in this position for this aspect, and I’ll talk about it when I get to it. It’s kind of a uniting factor between the two binyanim, but at the point when it’s important, I’ll show you how to tell them apart.
Finally, do the endings on the verb remind you of anything?
If they remind you of the construct state noun, you have good eyes. That’s also a unifying factor that I’ll discuss when it becomes important.

For  now, let's move on.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

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