BH, word order, now and then

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Fri Sep 10 15:36:04 EDT 1999

Interesting, but this is modern Hebrew, not biblical Hebrew. It is 
well known that modern Hebrew has been strongly influenced by Germanic 
languages (English, Yiddish etc), so no surprise to find some 
similarities. But this tells us nothing about b-Hebrew.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: BH, word order, now and then
Author:  <decaen at> at Internet
Date:    09/09/1999 17:00

hi folks, ready for another year?! (happy 5760!)

as some of you know, i defended the idea that at the heart of the 
hebrew verbal system is a basic dynamic of verb movement, what in 
english grammar is often referred to as "auxiliary inversion". my 
contention has always been that if you bracket the consecutives in the 
classical idiom, you have the same basic syntax from day one... until 
the present.

been teaching myself modern hebrew so i can access materials on 
masoretic studies. interesting to look at the grammars by glinert, or 
muraoka's "modern hebrew for biblical scholars". most explicit 
statement on word order with prefixed form is ch13 in Rosen's "A 
Textbook of Israeli Hebrew" (recommended by Muraoka as a definitive 
statement, pc).

notice especially 13.2.3, p72

L) NDBR     "we shall not talk", YWSP YDBR "Joseph will talk"


)L NDBR "let's not talk", YDBR YWSP "let Joseph talk!"

(cf. Germanic verb-second in main clauses).

this basic dynamic was recognized by Revell 1989 and Nicacci 1987, and 
yet still hasn't made a dent in the nonspecialists understanding 
<sigh>. go figure. and yet you'd think at least the israelis would've 
picked up on by now. <shaking head>

(that doesn't mean i've got all the answers! just the basic key) 
Dr Vincent DeCaen     <decaen at>
c/o Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, 4 Bancroft Ave., 2d floor 
University of Toronto, Toronto ON, CANADA, M5S 1A1

Hebrew Syntax Encoding Initiative, 

The mind takes to a new idea the way the body takes to microbe: 
It rejects it.  --P.D. Medawar

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