[b-hebrew] lexicography

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Sat Nov 15 14:57:39 EST 2003

>===== Original Message From "Julie Devall" <krena_li_mara at hotmail.com> =====
>Also relatedly, I'm wondering why JM call dibber a Denominative Piel, which
>is "not a grammatical, but lexical category."

The idea here (denominative) is that the verb comes from the noun 
(word-->produce a word), rather than the other way around (as we almost assume 
by default in Hebrew lexicography, so speak-->spoken thing/word). This is a 
lexical category, because it is a matter of how the word was derived in the 
past, not how a speaker would regularly generate it. (This is the sort of 
difference I was talking about earlier, when I called for distinguishing 
between derivational and inflectional morphology.)

>And behind it lies "a
>related, and assuredly more primitive, noun: dibber to speak (vs. davar)".
>Trevor, can you shed any light on why davar is "assuredly more primitive?"

I'm not sure exactly what their reasoning is, but I would say it's probably 
more primitive because of a few factors. One is that the form of the noun 
doesn't look like it was derived from a Piel verb. Given the distribution of 
the different verb binyanim, I think it's pretty safe to say that the Piel is 
the primary verb, and the Qal was probably derived from it at some point. (The 
Qal appears only in the infinitive and participle, and it is considerably less 
frequent.) A denominative verb can be in just about any binyan, but Piel is 
one of the more common forms that results. It might also be a consideration 
that outside of Canaanite (and some Aramaic that's probably subject to Hebrew 
influence), the verbal root dbr has a completely different meaning.

Trevor Peterson

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