Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Getting the walk right

To begin my investigation of verbs in Hebrew I started with the first verb in the Psalms - walk. The first verb is in a negative expression -
Happy is the one who has not walked לֹא הָלַךְ
in the advice of the wicked

Has not walked is my rendering of the qal perfect 3rd person singular of HLK - with the negative particle. How should the tense / mood / aspect of this verb be expressed? Is has not walked better than did not walk? Or should it be is not walking or does not walk? These questions catch the problem of the verb related to its time - past, present, or future, and its ongoing or complete nature. To be blunt, after two years of messing about with Hebrew, it seems to me that one can do almost anything with a verb. To see if this is true, or not, I will painstakingly list all occurrences of HLK in the psalms and see if I can decipher a pattern of usage.

To make things more interesting, this first verb is very similar to another verb YLK which is also sometimes translated 'walk' - so here is my first cut at all the instances of these two roots (HLK first then YLK) in the psalms (missing a few rows and columns which I will have to add by hand and containing a few rows I will have to delete since my root algorithm needs so many exceptions - O brute force!).

Walk is frequently used in Hithpael, that rare conjugation - right away an interesting statistic. Also one can see that the KJV translates the perfect as 'walketh' in psalm 1 and the imperfect as 'walketh' in psalm 91. There is no 1 to 1 mapping of English to Hebrew tenses / moods / aspect / conjugation.

This is impossible to read. But constructing it was a good first exercise in verbs. I think I maintain my first impression - you can almost do what you want in English whatever the form of the verb is in Hebrew. Occasionally, as the YLK example shows, come, lead, and walk are dependent on the binyan in Hebrew - lead is a kind of causative walk and come a commanding walk.

Psalm Root English HebrewConjugation
Psalm 1:1 הלך has not walked לֹא הָלַךְ Qal, perfect
Psalm 12:8 הלך are walking יִתְהַלָּכוּן Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 15:2 הלך Walking הוֹלֵךְ Qal, active participle
Psalm 26:1 הלך I have walked הָלַכְתִּי Qal, perfect
Psalm 26:3 הלך and I have walked myself וְהִתְהַלַּכְתִּי Hithpael, perfect
Psalm 35:14 הלך I walked הִתְהַלָּכְתִּי Hithpael, perfect
Psalm 38:6 הלך I walk הִלָּכְתִּי Qal, perfect
Psalm 39:6 הלך so walks a man יִתְהַלֶּךְ אִישׁ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 43:2 הלך will I walk אֶתְהַלֵּךְ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 55:14missedwe walkedנְהַלֵּךְPiel, imperfect
Psalm 56:13missedso I will walkלְהִֽתְהַלֵּךְHithpael, infinitive
Psalm 58:7 הלך wandering about them יִתְהַלְּכוּ לָמוֹ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 58:8 הלך he will go away יַהֲלֹךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 68:21 הלך hair of one walking שֵׂעָר מִתְהַלֵּךְ Hithpael, participle
Psalm 73:9 הלך will strut תִּהֲלַךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 77:17 הלך also walked about יִתְהַלָּכוּ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 78:39 הלך walking הוֹלֵךְ Qal, active participle
Psalm 81:13 הלך would walk יְהַלֵּכוּ Piel, imperfect
Psalm 82:5 הלך they are walking יִתְהַלָּכוּ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 84:11 הלך from those walking לַהֹלְכִים Qal, active participle
Psalm 85:13 הלך will go יְהַלֵּךְ Piel, imperfect
Psalm 86:11 הלך I will walk אֲהַלֵּךְ Piel, imperfect
Psalm 89:15
they will walk
יְהַלֵּכֽוּןPiel, imperfect
Psalm 91:6 הלך he walks יַהֲלֹךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 101:2 הלך I will walk continually אֶתְהַלֵּךְ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 101:6 הלך walking הֹלֵךְ Qal, active participle
Psalm 104:3
walking on the wings of the wind
הַֽמְהַלֵּךְPiel, participle
Psalm 104:10missedthey run
יְהַלֵּכֽוּןPiel, imperfect
Psalm 104:26missedthere go
יְהַלֵּכוּןPiel, imperfect
Psalm 105:13 הלך and they were going וַיִּתְהַלְּכוּ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 105:41 הלך they ran הָלְכוּ Qal, perfect
Psalm 115:7 הלך will they walk יְהַלֵּכוּ Piel, imperfect
Psalm 116:9 הלך I will walk אֶתְהַלֵּךְ Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 119:1 הלך those walking הַהֹלְכִים Qal, active participle
Psalm 119:3 הלך they walk הָלָכוּ Qal, perfect
Psalm 119:45 הלך walk I will וְאֶתְהַלְּכָה Hithpael, imperfect
Psalm 126:6
going he will go out
הָלֹוךְ יֵלֵךְ Qal, infinitive see also below
Psalm 128:1 הלך those walking הַהֹלֵךְ Qal, active participle
Psalm 131:1 הלך nor do I walk וְלֹא הִלַּכְתִּי Piel, perfect
Psalm 142:3 הלך I walk אֲהַלֵּךְ Piel, imperfect

Psalm 23:4 ילך even if I walk in the valley כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא Qal, imperfect
Psalm 26:11 ילך I will walk אֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 32:8 ילך you will go תֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 34:1 ילך and he went וַיֵּלַךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 34:11 ילך come children לְכוּ בָנִים Qal, imperative
Psalm 39:13 ילך I go אֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 42:9 ילך do I walk אֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 46:8 ילך Come see לְכוּ-חֲזוּ Qal, imperative
Psalm 66:5 ילך Come לְכוּ Qal, imperative
Psalm 66:16 ילך come and hear לְכוּ שִׁמְעוּ Qal, imperative
Psalm 78:10
to walk
לָלֶֽכֶתQal, infinitive
Psalm 80:2
וּלְכָהQal, imperative
Psalm 81:12 ילך and they walk יֵלְכוּ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 83:4 ילך they have said come אָמְרוּ לְכוּ Qal, imperative
Psalm 84:7 ילך They will go יֵלְכוּ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 89:30 ילך remain יֵלֵכוּן Qal, imperfect
Psalm 95:1 ילך Walk לְכוּ Qal, imperative
Psalm 97:3 ילך goes תֵּלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 106:9
he led them
וַיֹּולִיכֵםHiphil, imperfect
Psalm 107:7
to walk
לָלֶכֶתQal, infinitive
Psalm 122:1 ילך we will go
נֵלֵֽךְQal, imperfect
Psalm 125:5
he will lead them
יֹולִיכֵםHiphil, imperfect
Psalm 126:6 ילך he will go out יֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 136:16
for leading
לְמֹולִיךְHiphil, participle
Psalm 138:7 ילך Though I walk אִם-אֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 139:7 ילך will I go אֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect
Psalm 143:8 ילך I should walk אֵלֵךְ Qal, imperfect

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