Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at
Wed Jul 31 10:49:35 EDT 2002

>===== Original Message From "Lisbeth S. Fried" <lizfried at> =====
>Are we sure that the aleph is a radical?

Well, if it's not, then what's it doing there?

>How come when hu or hi is added to a word, e.g. eliahu
>the waw is there, but not the aleph?

This is a different word--the -yahu suffix that represents the divine name.

>Moreover, I don't recall any confusion in these words when they are
>added as morphemes.
>So, what's going on?

You mean when we have suffixed pronouns? Correct--the distinction is 
maintained, and that's the case in the Pentateuch as much as anywhere else. 
(We do have confusing forms like the long -mo ending that seems to show up in 
poetic literature for just about anything. But I suspect that's a different 
issue.) And as has already been indicated, there's no comparative Semitic 
evidence suggesting that this was anything more than orthographic. Part of the 
complication comes from the different writing stages in BH. For instance, we 
would have no way of knowing where confusion might have occurred between the 
second person singular suffixes, since both would look like -k. The Masoretes 
were free to point it as they felt appropriate. The problem comes when it 
appears that we have conflicting interpretations in the stage that added the 
matres and the Masoretic stage.

Trevor Peterson

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