[b-hebrew] Re: deriving stems (was:

Naama Zahavi-Ely nxzaha at wm.edu
Wed Nov 12 12:29:04 EST 2003

>Message: 6
>Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 05:41:57 -0500
>From: "Trevor Peterson" <06peterson at cua.edu>
>Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] Hithpael and stative verb
>To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Message-ID: <000b01c3a909$997a8850$179cfea9 at SPEDRSON>
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>The danger I'm trying to avoid here is that we would conceive of the
>so-called derived stems (everything except G/Qal) as inflectional forms
>of the basic verb for the same root, similar to the difference between a
>perfect and an imperfect conjugational form. A native speaker would not
>generate binyanim in the same way that, for instance, a singular form is
>chosen to fit a given context rather than a plural. I like to think of a
>morphological continuum, where on one end we have purely inflectional
>morphology (formal distinctions between things like person and number)
>and on the other hand we have purely derivational morphology (noun
>patterns might be a good example). The binyanim I would be inclined to
>place near the latter end. There is some regularity in the connections
>between form and meaning, but nothing close to what we get in real
>inflection. So, an answer to this question should come more from
>lexicography than from grammar.

Speaking as a native speaker of (Modern) Hebrew, this is not actually 
true.  Native speakers of Hebrew -- and I assume other Semitic languages -- 
regularly invent inflections of verb roots by stems to convey new meanings 
and nuances.  So do children who grow up speaking Hebrew, as a natural 
stage in the learning of speech.    Such inventions are readily understood 
and sometimes enter the regular spoken language.

Best wishes

Naama Zahavi-Ely

>Trevor Peterson

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