[b-hebrew] Negev

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jan 27 14:28:30 EST 2004

Good point. I really don't have any biblical examples of the root NGB
meaning "wiped". But Hebrew already has two words for "south" - "darom",
which seems to be the basic term, and "yamin", which means "right" (as in
"right hand"), and came to mean "south" to people for whom east was "qedem",
west was "axor" and north was "semol". These terms are also known from
cognate languages. So why another word? Perhaps "Negev" was FIRST a proper
noun, which then came to mean "south" (anologous to "yam" meaning "west"
even if you're in the Sinai, south of the Great Sea), and only came to mean
"wiped" in later Hebrew.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Kirk" <peterkirk at qaya.org>
To: "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il>
Cc: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 1:03 PM
Subject: Negev

> On 26/01/2004 22:51, Yigal Levin wrote:
> >...
> >Judah is NOT part of the Negev (or Negeb). The noun "Negev" means "wiped
> >(dry)" and is used as the desert area adjacent to a settled area. ...
> >
> Is there any real evidence that this is ancient usage? I know it is
> later Hebrew, Jewish Aramaic and Syriac usage, but this may well be
> derived from the proper name Negev as the prototypical dried up land.
> K-B (HALOT) appears to quote evidence from Soqotran, but that is rather
> too remote in the absence of any other evidence in cognate languages. Is
> it not just as likely that the noun originally meant "south", and later
> came to be applied to a particular area cf. "the South"?
> --
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/

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