[b-hebrew] how scholars debate controversial issues
farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 29 17:59:39 EDT 2007
That's for you to decide. Personally, I don't hold to the principle that
there must be a "single, basic meaning that makes it easier to recognize
and appreciate non-standard uses." That is, I prefer to see prototypical
meaning, which is just that -- prototypical. Often it will equate to
your "single, basic meaning", but it doesn't have to.
So it's for you to decide how you choose what fits your "single, basic
meaning" and what doesn't. For the Hithpael, you seem to take the
single, basic meaning to be reflexive, so all the other uses I presented
have to some how be forced under this meaning rather than the
non-reflexive uses of the Hithpael simply seen for what they are:
non-reflexive uses. Sure, there's conceptualisation happening here:
"reflexive" is close to "reciprocal" and "grooming/body motion".
"Anticausative" seems to sit mid-way between "reflexive" and "passive",
but meaning can extend from "antipassive" to "generic passive" (cf
French "se") and also to "passive" (cf Russian "-sja"). So if a
reflexive morpheme etc extends its meaning to anticausative it can then
extend to generic passive and then to passive. If Waltke and O'Connor
are correct in their analysis, the Hithpael even can express passive. As
for the Niphal, it is perhaps debatable whether it is a true reflexive
(cf Steven W. Boyd, "A Synchronic Aanalysis of the
Medio-Passive-Reflexive in Biblical Hebrew" [PhD diss., Hebrew Union
College, 1993], but it certainly is used to express middle and passive
functions, neither of which, for me, can successfully be attributed to a
single, basic meaning of "middle" or "passive".
> Dear David:
> On 3/28/07, David Kummerow <farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com <http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew>> wrote:
> >/ Hi Karl,
> />/ Perhaps I'm wrong. I realise your actually methodology is different --
> />/ your working in lexicography, Rolf on the verbal system -- but are the
> />/ assumptions different? That is, do you think any given lexeme will have
> />/ some meaning which is consistent across its uses? This is what I got
> />/ from your treatment of the Hithpael binyan: you were seeking to find
> />/ something consistent between all the examples, which you gave as
> />/ "reflexive". It really depends how tightly you hold to this and what you
> />/ do with the examples that don't "fit".
> />/ Regards,
> />/ David Kummerow.
> /What defines "fit"? What about literary conventions? Irony? Sarcasm?
> Euphemisms? Idioms? Hyperbole? Other uses where a non-standard use is
> made of a lexeme and it is understood that that use is non-standard
> and what it's actual meaning is?
> Ironically, it is my understanding that lexemes have a single, basic
> meaning that makes it easier to recognize and appreciate non-standard
> uses. For example, the basic meaning of )BD is "to be lost", but it is
> often used as a euphemism for "to die", much as we say "to pass away":
> its use as a euphemism does not change its basic meaning.
> Further, what does "basic meaning" mean? How does that relate to
> translation? Interestingly, I first used that technique (looking for
> basic meaning) to help me learn modern languages, before I applied it
> to Biblical Hebrew. As for applying it to translation, I recognized
> from the beginning that the basic meanings seldom correspond exactly
> from language to language, not even close cognates, so while the basic
> meaning in the language may be unitary, its translation may require
> more than one term in the target language.
> All of this has been discussed before on this list.
> As for the binyanim, recognizing how each binyan functions in
> affecting the use of verbs helps also in recognizing basic meanings of
> So I close as I began, how does one define "fit"?
> Yours, Karl W. Randolph.
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