-mw suffix (was Re: [b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8)

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Dec 14 06:25:18 EST 2004

On 14/12/2004 07:21, Vadim Cherny wrote:

> ...
> >
> > In fact what is happening in such cases is that the pausal form retains
> > the full vowel which is lost when the stress shifts off it in the
> > non-pausal form.
> Exactly my point above. The reduced vowel may elongate back to kamatz 
> in pausal.
> > It can hardly be parsed as
> > regular l- plus a root mo, because there is no root mo.
> I think it could. cmo, bmo, lmo suggest c, b, l preposition + mo. mo, 
> in my opinion, is not a root, but rather the very early form of the 
> collective plural suffix waw, which later became -on (helbon) and -ot 
> (zvaot).
> But lamo - I would follow Steinberg in l+hem+o.

But if "The reduced vowel may elongate back to kamatz in pausal", lamo 
is simply the non-pausal variant of lmo, or vice versa. So the forms are 
in fact identical, except for the regular pausal shift. So there is no 
syntactical evidence for two different underlying words. That doesn't 
imply that there are not two different underlying words, only that we 
have to look elsewhere for evidence of this.

This is a bit like whether "a" and "an" are different words in English. 
Someone who knew little English, and was looking at a limited corpus, 
might try to argue that they are different words. But a quick analysis 
shows that "an" is always followed by a vowel and "a" by a consonant, 
with some variation before "h" etc. That strongly suggests (but does not 
prove) that "a" and "an" are not in fact different words, but 
phonologically conditioned variants of the same word.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list