tiberian weak spot?

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Fri Dec 10 19:43:51 EST 1999

Now that I am understanding this thread (thanks for the clarification 
- but is pa'al anything other than an alternative name for qal?), I am 
finding it interesting! I had thought G-stem might mean qal, but could 
make no sense of Vince's submission on that assumption.

Reinhard wrote:

     ... The G-participle is in great extend no real participle, but a 
     verbal adjective with dominant nominal character and functionally 
     to be divided from the participle of other stems. For the 
     exceptional role of the participle G confer to the existence of a 
     participle G passive (which could not be the morphological rest 
     of an old lost G-qal-passive conjugation at all). 

This seems a surprising statement. If I am not mistaken, in classical 
Arabic and in Ugaritic there are complete paradigms for both active 
and passive for the G-stem, as well as (at least in Arabic) the D-stem 
and causative. This is surely good evidence that there was a full 
passive of the G-stem in proto-Semitic, which was later lost. But do 
you, Reinhard, have any evidence to refute this? Admittedly the Arabic 
G-stem passive participle form, maqtuul, does not correspond exactly 
with the Hebrew form qaatuul and so may be of different origin (the 
Arabic form is an exception to the general Semitic rule that G-stem 
participles do not have preposed m- but all other participles do), but 
the Ugaritic form qatiil and the Syriac qtiil do seem to correspond 
better with the Hebrew. The Hebrew active participle qooteel 
corresponds well with the Arabic, Ugaritic and Syriac qaatil. (Data 
mostly from Patrick R. Bennett "Comparative Semitic Linguistics").

BRK is certainly an interesting root for Vince's study here, for as 
with DBR the G-stem is used almost only in the participle. But here do 
we in fact have a D-stem at all? The common forms (for the meaning 
"bless") are the Qal passive participle baaruuk and Piel imperfect 
forms like ybaareek - all with qamets under the B. These look like the 
Arabic forms for this root, which use the lengthened stem with a long 
a, e.g. the common Arabic mubaarak, a passive participle from this 
lengthened stem. Normally we assume that this lengthened stem does not 
exist in Hebrew, and that the qamets in the Piel of BRK comes from 
compensatory lengthening. But could this in fact be a survival of an 
old Semitic lengthened stem that also survives in Arabic?

Peter Kirk

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