conversive function of waw
is a reversing device.
Nominative suffix shuruk could distinguish passive nouns from active verbs, catav - davaru.
waw reverses the verbs into passive mode, hofal and paol. Unstressed vocal waw
in hofal reduced from long [o] to [u]. Waw in paol changed from long [o] to [u]
to differentiate from imperative.
makes the participles passive, catuv.
is used as conjunction meaning but or contraposing and which
reverses the sense of the previous clause.
Hebrew words have the opposite meanings, like nzr (bring forward, conceal); they
might originally contain waw conversive to denote the antonym form, but that waw
tense was originally produced from the past tense by adding prefix waw. That was
confusing because waw also served as conjunction without tense reversal.
the introduction of the affix-based future tense (tichtov), prefix waw
construction of the FT became archaic. Prefix waw became symmetrically employed
to build past tense verbs from the FT to affect the sense of archaism and –
because of the waw usage as conjunction – the sense of recital (and he would
say). Thus waw conversive is only used in the beginning of clauses.
and tense conversion are related through deictic center shift. The writer is
immersed in the events long past, and employs future tense.
were originally weyiqtols. Hexapla records both with ou, and shows no gemination.
The Masoretic vocalization drew secondary stress to wa-, and caused post-tonic
gemination (wAttictOv) similar to prefix ha (hAddavAr). Secondary accent pulled
the word’s accent, wAtictOv – watIctov. Slower intonation of recital and
tendency of stressing even vowels in verbs also worked to shift the accent.
in wa, however, is not a Masoretic invention. The Masoretes already heard some
wayiqtols short. The reduction of unaccented final vowel could only happen
because of the accent shift which in turn was caused by the secondary accent on
in wayiqtols was vocalized with short [ae], produced by two schwas in a row,
t’c’tov (tictov) – w’t’c’tov - wet’c’tov – wetictov. That
sound usually resembles hirek, but is closer to patah in wayiqtols. One reason
is intonation: conjunction we similarly becomes wa in phrase-final words. Prefix
wi would sound unpleasant, especially when hirek was already employed in
pronominal prefixes (*witiqtol).
Masoretic weyiqtol could equal wayiqtol where the intonation for some reason did
not change prefix we into wa. Waw a conjunction, weyiqtol could be “and FT”
rather than past tense. The grammatical innovation of waw reversing the future
tense proved ambiguous.