[b-hebrew] Isaiah 53:8 lamo

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Dec 20 07:24:00 EST 2004

On 19/12/2004 11:00, Vadim Cherny wrote:

> ...
> To find out the
>meaning, we need to establish the etymology. ...

No, no, NO!!! Meaning is not established by etymology. Meaning is 
established by usage in context. Etyomology can be a very dangerous 
guide to meaning because of meaning shifts over centuries. The etymology 
of the English word "nice" is from Latin "nescius" which means 
"ignorant". But "nice" does not mean "ignorant".

>...As I wrote earlier, your example of lifnei demonstrates well that smihut
>meaning is likely a considerable expansion. We cannot make conclusions as to
>the meaning of lamo from the mere fact that derivative form (basically, a
>preposition) lmo is used few times (only) as emphatic for singular.
Agreed. Even if we agree that etymologically lamo and lmo form an 
absolute/construct pair, that is a poor guide to meaning because the 
meanings of the absolute and construct could have shifted apart.

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

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