Vav conversive in Modern Hebrew

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by hadronic, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    In the Wikipedia article about vav conversive (or consecutive), they say :

    Modern Hebrew makes little use of waw consecutive constructions, but they are still found in classical allusions and references, and are readily understood.

    My question is about that latter statement : how much of it is really "readily understood" ?
    How much of it can really be used in literature to make a classical sounding effect (or humorous effect) without completely losing the audience?
  2. ystab Senior Member

    Maybe I'm bias because I am familiar with it, but don't forget that children in Israel begin to read in the Bible in the last month of the first grade, and this construction is very common in Biblical Hebrew, already in Genesis 1. And speaking of Genesis (this time 2), a masoretic family that conducts Kiddush every Shabbat dinner hears it every week in the Kiddush. So I would say that you can use it as much as you like, and people will understand you.

    There's even a slang construction - "עשה ויברח" - which is said on a person who pulled a trick and ran away.
  3. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    This is a very interesting question. I would like to hear more opinions.
  4. DieHigh Member

    As ystab said, it should be understood by any educated person in Israel as they learn the Bible in school since they're 7, so they familiar with it without necessary being religious. But I wouldn't recommend you to actually use it; no one talks or writes that way.
  5. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    It is the same in all languages. Half-way literate people in English-speaking countries "understand" the meaning of "thou", or "he hath", but they do not use them in speech.
  6. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Further question: Is the situation the same for both tenses (i.e. both וַיֹּאמֶר and וְאָמַר)?

    It's not "the same in all languages". In Russian, for example, people would be very unlikely to understand you if you tried to use the aorist tense.
  7. arielipi Senior Member

    Wait, is the question asking about the use of ו החיבור?
    if so, it is used, otherwise i didnt understand the question.
  8. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    It is asking about ו' ההיפוך
  9. arielipi Senior Member

    Ah, very rare nowadays, though understandable.

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