Article published in:Interdependence of Diachronic and Synchronic Analyses
Edited by Folke Josephson and Ingmar Söhrman
[Studies in Language Companion Series 103] 2008
► pp. 221–247
The relevance of tense and aspect in Semitic Languages: The case of Hebrew and Arabic
This article presents an introduction to the verbal system of the Semitic languages and an historic account of the research on the verbal system of Hebrew as a background to the main subject of the paper: the verbal system of Hebrew and Arabic.At variance with the common view that these systems are based on aspect, we propose that Biblical Hebrew and – to a large extent – Arabic have a relative tense system. Although this is not a new notion it introduces the foreground/background distinction in this context, as well as the concept of marked and unmarked verbal forms as an explanation of the mysterious verbal system of Biblical Hebrew.The notion of aspect is, however, not discarded. Its use in modern written and spoken Arabic is dealt with at the end of this article.
Published online: 29 August 2008
Cited by 1 other publications
Gamliel, Ophira & Abed al-Rahman Mar’i
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