[b-hebrew] MI- nouns and Which reading
randallbuth at gmail.com
Mon Jan 18 07:58:18 EST 2010
Looking over the list from this month I see that you have had several
questions that have not been given real answers or biblical
First of all, your mi- question is valid. And It can be taken as a 'given'
that Semitic languages have noun patterns that are NOT participles.
This is easily demonstrated from comparitive linguistics, where we
can compare the various traditions of Arabic, Hebrew, Phoenician,
Syriac, Aramaic, Ugaritic (yes the alef forms give us a small glimpse
into the vocalization system), and Akkadian. Having said this, it is also
true that we do not have absolute certainty at many points along the
trajectories of the various systems, where we can reconstruct eariler
forms and later forms, but do not know exactly when and where the
changes took place. I would recommend looking at the
noun descriptions in Jouon-Muraka as a starting point (also available
in French older edition). If you prefer German, there is the work of
Bauer-Leander from about the same time as Jouon.
But of course, the etymology of a word cannot predict a meaning.
You will find that noun patterns and verb patterns have more than
one kind of meaning.
Your question on "Which reading?" is different:
>The last word in Ps 91:7 is YIGF$, he will come near.
I read in a version, that gives the Hebrew text transliterated to Latin
characters, that this is read as "yigAsh" (vowel A).
I'm wondering whether this reading is right as concerns vowel A.
Is the qamats under gimel a normal qamats? Or rather is it a qamats qaton?
The usual vowels for the Qal Imperf. 3rd person singular masculine of verbs
pe-nun are I and O, as in Jb 14:18, Dt 32:43...
If so, the A in "yigAsh" would be a qamats qaton and thus should be read as
with vowel 'o': "yigOsh", as it happens too with verb "nafal" in Ps 35:8:
Yipol and not Yipal.>
That is an interesting verb in general, because the prefix-verb is from the
Qal pattern but its suffix-tense verb is from the nif`al pattern. (This is a
kind of thing called 'suppletion', where two verb patterns in history fuse into
one verb, like 'go' and 'went' in English, eleusomai and Hlthon in Greek. Even
halax and yelex in BH from different roots h-l-k, y-l-k.)
The future/imperfect/modal of yiggash has an 'a' vowel. Lots of qal verbs
in Hebrew and related languages have 'a' in their simple, prefix-verb
conjugation. That verb was written in Psalm 91:7 with qamats
because it was at a "slow" part of the verse where
"pausal" forms occur. Pausal forms typically have a lengthed vowel and
in many cases may preserve an older form of the language. A long
'a' is written by the Masoretes with qamats.
The rule that you are applying "closed syllables must have short
vowels" only works in unaccented syllables. If the Massoretes wrote
yippol in a context where "-pol" received an accent they would write it
with Holem. But because they removed the accent they had to write
the 'o' sound with a corresponding short vowel, which is your
On a public elist any theory can be proposed, but they are not all
equally probable or possible. For example, one of your responses
>I previously mentioned that I think Biblical Hebrew was a CV
(Consonant/Vowel) language (like Japanese) where every consonant was
followed by a vowel. That would make YHWH a four syllable name. I took that
a step further and said that there were no materes lectionis, that waw and
yod never stood for a vowel in Biblical Hebrew, rather that every time that
we find waw or yod in the text, it is to be pronounced as a consonant. When
I try reading Biblical Hebrew poetry using these rules, I notice that there
is a very definite rhythm, or beat, to the text that does not exist using
other pronunciation rules. Does this prove my supposition? No, but it is
evidence for it.
>I acknowledge that my theory may be wrong. But I do not consider evidence
from the Masoretes as valid evidence against my theory."
At least he acknowledges that his theory 'may' be wrong. Again, from
comparative linguistics, Semitists know that his theory IS wrong. It
cannot explain the development of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Ge'ez and Arabic
with their rich, genetically-related morphologies that all include CVC
none of which supports the view that proto-western Semitic was ever a
CV language. For that matter, even Afro-Asiatic does not appear to have
been a CV language. Even if it were, in the unrecoverable mists,
CVC syllables developed long before Semitic divided into West and
East or the West divided into North and South,
or the NorthWest divided into Cana`anite and Aramaic.
So not only did Biblical Hebrew have CVC syllables, but proto-Hebrew as
Again, I would start with Jouon-Muraka so that you will be 'in the ballpark',
to use an American phrase, for reasonably close.
Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
More information about the b-hebrew