Making It Sound - The Performative Qatal and Its Explanation

  • Alexander Andrason


The Biblical Hebrew (henceforth, BH) suffix conjugation qatal— besides other meanings and functions1—is occasionally employed in order to perform acts (1.a) rather than to describe a situation or an activity (1.b). This means that, if determined conventional cir- cumstances are respected, the fact of uttering a given proposition with the verb in the qatal triggers a new state in the speaker’s reality. This is what scholars have been referring to as the ‘performative qatal,’ a use of the suffix conjugation where it appears2 with a clear performative force. This particular sense or function of the BH gram3 constitutes the object of the present paper.