[b-hebrew] logograms--an ode to Hebrew

Vadim Cherny vadim_lv at center-tv.net
Thu Dec 23 14:02:56 EST 2004

> >Perhaps the roots were originally of varying length, and adjusted to
three letters only late? No evidence for this. Besides, this would also have
been an arbitrary decision.
>  Once a three letter pattern became established for some roots, other
> roots would have been gradually conformed to this same pattern - a
> practice which is continuing in Hebrew and Arabic as loan words,
> acronyms etc become inflected according to the triliteral pattern.

The loan words often do not follow the triliteral pattern. In fact, loans
are a major source of kilkal roots.
Why would anyone be concerned in 2nd millennium BCE to conform the existing
roots to triliteral pattern? There is no evidence for such concern
whatsoever in any language.
How could the concept of triliteral root arise before the concept of letter?

> >Forming stems with prefixes seems a centralized decision. I can imagine
how a cavemen one morning decided to add hey to produce casuative, perhaps
by analogy with directional suffix hey. But how did he convince others to
follow the suit? One could invent a word, and it slowly drifts down,
becoming popular, right. But this development seems less plausible with
> what central committee decided to introduce the large number of
> prefixed verbs in Russian?

Some prefixes are meaningful prepositions. Some are loans. Considerable
changes were introduced by modern grammarians. All this is no similar to
purely arbitrary addition of otherwise meaningless prefixes. However, as I
mentioned, I "could" imagine natural derivation of prefixes, however
implausible this process seems to me. What I "cannot" imagine is triliteral
root appearing for no reason, and before the letters came into existence.
Besides, you seemed to agree earlier that the roots bear considerable traces
of conscious construction. So not groaning.

Vadim Cherny

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