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6349Re: [hugoye-list] Re: verbs in asyndeton

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  • Andrew Palmer
    Apr 26, 2014
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      Dear Paul,

      I like your term 'close-knit verbs'; but I think, on the basis of section 28 in Appendix I of your dissertation, you apply it too widely. I would only use it where waw can be omitted; and I think it probable that waw has often been added to such compound units by the scribe, even in sixth-century manuscripts, and that truly close-knit verbs ought always to stand in asyndeton.

      I would only count three close-knit verbs where they are all in asyndeton and all belong to the same clause (Noeldeke gives examples). Paradise VI 2.2b means 'when it [sc. Mind] entered, it was amazed and astonished'. The fact that three verbs happen thereby to lie nearly adjacent to one another does not make them close-knit; the last two are nearly synonymous (you omit to note this), but that does not make them close-knit either, in my opinion. In VI 12.4 you also count three verbs, but how can these verbs all be close-knit, when the first is active and the last passive, with an adverbial /hpak/ before it?

      [Paradise] V 8.5a and b each have three verbs likewise, but you rightly ignore the first in each case, as it belongs to a conditional clause, separate from the other two, which are in the main clause. These two contrasted pairs of verbs are complementary in meaning, not synonymous; and that is often the case (for example in VI 15.5a, where /shwaH/ and /npaq/ refer to successive stages in one continuous organic process). Verbs which are 'part of a complex action', in your felicitous phrase, are barely separable stages of one smooth and continuous action.

      (I put it to you that this is not the case with /rkeb wa-sleq/ at VI 23.6a, where mounting the cloud is one action and steering the cloud upwards is another; this duality is not present in the close-knit unit /nHet lbesh/ which I would restore at VI 23.5b, because the Incarnation - presumably - transcends such quasi-cinematographic sequentiality: the Word, as I imagine a theologian might prefer to formulate it, came into the World 'out of nowhere' - in spatial terms - and clothed itself in a body as part of one complex and indivisible action.)

      Where verbs are complementary in meaning and are conjoined with waw, we should perhaps call them complementary, rather than close-knit. I do not think Ephrem adds waw for the sake of the metre in V 8.5b, because this phrase is symmetrical with V 8.5a, where waw was not added for the sake of the metre.

      In VI 23.5b waw may have been added by a scribe who did not realise that a cluster of three consonants without a vowel between them can be counted, in poetry, as another syllable. The original text may well have had /nHet lbesh/ whereby, in singing, a note would have been given to the semi-vowel between /l/ and /b/ (or perhaps rather between /t/ and /l/, since this would explain the substitution of /wa-/ for the semi-vowel).

      The same may have happened with /shqal wa-shdon(y)/ in V 3.5b and VI 5.2a (you omit to cross-reference these two parallel hemistichs in the Appendix, though you may do so where you discuss this vivid image on pp. 64-66 of your dissertation): the fact that Ephrem does not attach the object-suffix to the first of these two verbs shows, I believe, that they are close-knit and so inseparable, even by waw. Originally, then, the text read /shqal shdon(y)/ and a note was supplied in singing to the semi-vowel generated between the two words by the consonantal cluster.

      (I know that this semi-vowel theoretically follows the second consonant, but that is phonetically unlikely, in my opinion, and I suggest the addition of wa- is an indicator that the extra note came at this point, as noted above.)

      By the way, in commenting on V 5.2b you say these are the same two verbs as in the preceding example, but you mean V 4.2a, not V 4.4. (The latter couplet is interesting from a prosodic point of view for the elision of the first syllables of /hepkat/ and /aniHteh/.)

      Looking at your dissertation more closely than I had done before has stimulated me to take your thinking one step further. This is how knowledge progresses. Perhaps the upward zig-zag of our exchange will continue. I shall send you my thoughts on close-knit verbs in the Life of Barsawmo, as soon as I have collected them. I am certainly going to adopt (and adapt, as argued above) the term 'close-knit' in my own discussions of this phenomenon. Thank you for that!

      Kind regards,


      Dr A. N. Palmer
      Bruininkhuizen 28
      4875 AG Etten-Leur
      On Saturday, 26 April 2014, 1:49, Paul Stevenson <sipatrans@...> wrote:
      Dear Andrew,

      I discussed this matter in my dissertation, where I called such pairs close-knit verbs and observed that they are sometimes connected with waw and sometimes not. In the stanzas of Ephrem's Madrashe on Paradise that I studied, the presence of waw generally seemed to depend on the meter (i.e., whether Ephrem required another syllable or not). You can find my discussion on pages 64-66 of the dissertation. I also have a section on them in Appendix 1, section 28 (pp. 289-290). There I list the pairs of such verbs (and even two groups of three verbs!) found in Madrashe V and VI and mention whether or not they are joined with waw.



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