root

yochanan bitan ButhFam at compuserve.com
Thu Sep 2 12:41:29 EDT 1999


the following still seems to be an issue: 

(quotes below are from the vav conversive thread)
>The root is the lexical form most of the time, although the term is 
>also used of the non-pointed (usually-)three-radical base from 
>which words are derived (e.g. )HB for both )FHAB the verb and 
>)FHFB the noun).  The stems or binyanim are inflections of the root 
>that are formed using various infixes and affixes.

i would strongly advise that the second line is correct and would point out
that the first line is very misleading, something endemic in our field. the
first line leads to "etymological" thinking and students thinking that they
can/should 'conjugate' new vocabulary. (e.g. waltke/o'conner's overview of
binyanim.)
roots are abstractions but are not lexemes (e.g. in terms of a deep
structure producing and filling predicate frames), despite the 1000-year
old dictionary convention of gathering verbs and other words under roots.

to exemplify the potential for misunderstanding i will cite another quote
from the thread:
(... The stem is the conjugating, which is roughly the adjustment of that
meaning for the specific usage.
Please understand that this is a quick and dirty answer...) {hey, i won't
hold the author to this, it is just a nice example.-rb}

SBL "linguistics and BH"  will discuss "piel" this year and i hope some of
the papers will be able to generate frameworks more in line with human
language and communication.
please don't get me wrong, etymology is a very useful and legimate
untertaking, but it is one level removed from lexicography and semantics.
using a semitic language usually makes these distinctions quite clear to a
learner, which is why it is important to clarify the issue for students who
are learning an abstract framework from a book.

braxot leshana tova
randall buth



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