[b-hebrew] Re: deriving stems

Deborah Millier deborahmillier at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 13 17:12:15 EST 2003

Naama Zahavi-Ely wrote:

> 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.

This may be true Naama, but a couple of factors might
be profitable to consider:

1) Modern Hebrew is the progeny of Eleazar
Ben-Yehudah, whose example was to "invent
inflections...to convey meanings."  In other words, MH
might be a special case, being fairly newly revived.

2) The pace of life--and language--has quickened. 
Therefore, though worth considering due to obvious
connections, MH (or any language group within easy
reach of modern communications technology) may not be
the best model to rely on when discussing more ancient
languages and their adaptations.

-- Michael Millier

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