dwashbur at nyx.net
Thu Dec 23 17:37:25 EST 1999
> is a root a word, a verb,
> or is a formed verb a word, but root isn't?
> one conceptual problem continually seems to reoccur with hebrew students.
> they mistake a root for a real word.
An excellent point. There are cases where a "root" is used as a
"real" word, e.g. BFRF) in Gen 1:1 or RUAX in Gen 1:2, the former
a verb and the latter a noun (obviously). But there are "roots" that
don't occur at all, as you point out below.
[snip examples - good material]
> this applies especially to the word frequency lists mentioned in recent
> days on this list.
> all of the ones mentioned suffer from the same conceptual problem for
> beginning students.
> they present roots as though they are words. they also get the semantics
> confused from time to time.
> (sometimes that is explainable because they confuse roots with words.)
One thing I like about the Watts list is that in cases like the ones
you mentioned where a verb doesn't occur in qal, he lists the "root"
unpointed and indicates in parentheses what stems it does occur
in. OTOH, the modern Hebrew dictionaries I have list things like
$FLAX and HI$LIAX separately under shin and he, respectively. I
like that arrangement, but wonder how likely it is that a BH
dictionary arranged this way will appear in any of our lifetimes.
One reason I use Holladay's lexicon and recommend it to my
students is because he lists things like nouns, adjectives etc.
separately rather than listing them under triliteral roots the way
BDB does. Would you consider that a reasonable compromise
approach for the time being? Or perhaps my question should be,
how would you like to see a dictionary (or a word list) arranged? I
suspect one reason that such resources are arranged the way they
are is that this is how most of us learned the language: start with a
root, apply the stem and get a "word" with a "meaning." I'm also
thinking of the average English dictionary, which has an entry for
"think" but no (verbal) entry for "thought" as a past-tense form; this
is usually indicated as part of the entry under "think." Since they
are forms of the same verb, that makes sense even if it is
occasionally difficult for some learning English who don't yet fully
understand the strong verb system. Of course, it's a little easier in
English since we only have three basic "principal parts": think,
thought, thought or shake, shook, shaken. Hebrew is a tad more
complex since we not only have the two "tense" forms qatal and
yiqtol, but we also have the various stems. I'm not sure there's a
"good" way to do it, but I'd be interested in your thoughts on it (as
well as everyone else's).
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name.
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