Translation of Piel (and Pual) roots

yochanan bitan ButhFam at
Sat Dec 25 16:48:58 EST 1999

>Using the Perfect Piel for example the use of Piel with the 3ms form of
Piel for the 
>word Q+L might be translated "he brutally killed."  Some treat it as
causative almost like a 
>Hifil. Other grammars indicated that the Piel root (and for that matter
the Pual root, while 
>being the passive) speak of the resultive or factive nature of the stem. 
The same word with a 
>transitive would require an object like "he killed Tom". Or if
intransitive it would be with no 
>object "He killed" .  The latter it seems would be difficult to
distinguish from the Qal form to 

your email comes as a timely example of a parallel discussion going on on
this list. 
what you have listed above shows that you are a good student and have been
making progress with what has been taught to you.

unfortunately, what you have been taught is misleading, or inside-out. 
it is etymology in place of semantics.
let me illustrate:
*qittel above does not exist. 
it is not a word. you are not allowed to "conjugate" new vocabulary. 

--but you might ask: couldn't a speaker create a new word?
--answer: yes, of course. in fact qittel is attested in medieval hebrew
(post-talmudic, piyyutim). 

to what may this be compared? 
what would you think about an english student and grammar that said:
"he killed them up", "she killed them up", "i killed them up", etc?

what does it mean? what would you tell an english teacher who taught that
to students?

i would wish better for our field.

>What does the use of Piel and Pual really tell me about the nature of how
it should be 

piel doesn't tell you anything until you know what the word means. 
[this is not a zen koan(sp?).]
after you know what the word means you know what the word means
you might be able to group it in a sub-category of pi`el's that show
similar semantic relationships  with related verbs (etymology).

elef braxot
randall buth

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