Jerusalem, neuter plural

Joe A. Friberg JoeFriberg at email.msn.com
Thu Sep 2 23:05:23 EDT 1999


----- Original Message -----
From: Jim West <jwest at Highland.Net>
To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Sent: Thursday, September 02, 1999 4:08 PM
Subject: Re: Jerusalem, neuter plural


> At 09:13 PM 9/2/99 +0300, you wrote:
> >I would like to hear from those on the list about any grammatical
> >concepts or linguistic rules that apply when taking a place name (or a
> >proper noun or noun) from one language to another with the results like
> >we find with Jerusalem in the GNT when it is a neuter plural:
> >IEROSOLUMA, TA.
>
> It has nothing to do with the use of neuter plurals for singulars or
> anything of the like.  In Hebrew- the name of the city is Yerushalayim...
> dual and not plural- which would be Yerushalim.  The origin of this usage
is
> quite simply the fact that Jerusalem sits on a couple of hills (thus the
> dual notion).
>
> When Greek writers took up the name of the city they used the plural
(since
> greek has no dual form, as does Hebrew).

The original question is still a good one.  Why does the name come in as
neuter (or feminine), and why the alternatives between n.pl. and f.sg.?

Are there linguistic universals at play?  I am aware of some studies
regarding the *phonology* of borrowed words/names, but know of none with
respect to the *morphology*, so, does anyone have that answer?

Joe Friberg
Arlington, TX








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