[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8

Dave Washburn dwashbur at nyx.net
Fri Dec 10 18:51:04 EST 2004

On Friday 10 December 2004 16:07, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 10/12/2004 14:39, Samuel Arnet wrote:
> > Karl Randolph wrote:
> >> The construct LMW occures over 50 times in Tanakh. Though the
> >> majority of its uses are for plural subjects, it refers to what is
> >> unquestionably a singular subject often enough that the numerical
> >> value of the -MW cannot be determined from the form. The only people
> >> I have run into before who insisted that LMW had to be plural did so
> >> for ideological, not linguistic, reasons.
> >
> > L/F^MOW is a plural form. For a discussion, and some literature, see
> >
> > http://whi.wts.edu/WHI/MORPH/BugTracker/7
> This is an interesting question which goes to the heart of what is meant
> by form and meaning. Samuel states that this is "a plural *form*", my
> emphasis. But in this link he says:
> > It seems best, therefore, to understand LF^MOW this way:
> > in form, it is always plural;
> > in meaning, it is most often plural, but it can also be singular.
> But on what basis do we say that the FORM is plural? Is this even a
> meaningful question? After all, there is nothing inherently singular or
> plural about any form, it is only by convention that certain forms may
> be used to indicate number or any other grammatical category.

At most, I would tend to say that the form is ambiguous in terms of number.  
At the same time, a "plural form" being used in a singular sense is nothing 
unusual; evidence how often the Greek neuter plural takes a singular verb.  
Usage of LFMOW would seem to hint that it breaks down as Karl suggests, the 
L- preposition plus a suffix MW.  Could it be that this particular suffix is 
deliberately ambiguous, both in form and in function?  Dunno.  But I sure 
wouldn't go to the wall for any idea about its form.

Dave Washburn
"No good.  Hit on head."   -Gronk

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