48 The Verbal Part of the Clause—Tenses
48.1 Existence and Distribution of Tense Forms
The following are differentiated as the tenses of the Hebrew verb: In the Preformative Conjugation (PC), imperfect and imperfect consecutive (יִקְטֹל and וַיִּקְטֹל), and in the Afformative Conjugation (AC), the perfect and perfect consecutive (קָטַל and וְקָטַל).
These four “tenses”1 are distributed differently in texts of different genres [Gattungen]. In narratives the imperfect consecutive (ic) dominates with ca. 75% of all tense forms.2 For that reason, the imperfect consecutive is also called “Narrativ.”3 To this corresponds a low occurrence of imperfect (i) and perfect consecutive (pc) of ca. 2%.
In Other Gattungen
In texts and parts of texts that do not narrate (e.g. laws, sermons, prophetic speeches, psalms, also in the dialogue parts of narrations), the imperfect (i) predominates with about 50% of all tense forms. After this comes perfect-consecutive forms (pc) with 20%. In contrast to these, the ic-forms have only a share of ca. 5%.
In all genres, the perfect (p) is represented quite regularly (narration: 22%, non-narration: 28%).
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