[b-hebrew] OFF-TOPIC Hebrew song lyrics

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Tue Nov 4 07:25:06 EST 2003


This isn't exactly about BH, so feel free to respond off-list. What is the 
hava in "hava nagilah?" I've only seen the song in general purpose 
transliteration, which doesn't always provide enough information. I think the 
usual gloss that's provided is "Come, . . . " which leads my English-speaking 
mind directly to some form of bo, but then I don't know what the initial he 
would be doing. Assuming it actually is an imperative verb, with a ventive 
ending like we get on the other volitives in this song, my next thought was 
yahav, which in this form I think should be written he-composite 
shva-vet-qametz-he. I can see where that might work semantically, but in any 
event I'm guessing it's a non-BH usage. Since I'm less inclined to know what 
I'm doing in that area, I figured I ought to get a second or third opinion. 
The rest of the song wasn't too hard to figure out, although I almost went 
with uru (beginning with alef), meaning something like "shine," until I 
thought to check under 'ayin and realized that 'uru means "arise" (which is 
the gloss I've seen).

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics




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