[b-hebrew] A question on the segollate words

VC vadim_lv at center-tv.net
Mon Sep 27 07:55:04 EDT 2004

> >>>Recently, a student inquired me of the origin of segollate words
> >>>
> >>>
> >I have never particularly dwelled on the problem, and a quick search both
> >the library and Internet did not produce much suggestions.
> >
> >
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>
> >>See Gesenius et al section 84a part I, which gives a clear explanation
> >>of the origin of segholates from originally monosyllabic forms, based on
> >>evidence from Arabic etc. Gesenius' explanation is quite different from
> >>your speculative one.
> >>
> >>
> >
> >Well, Gesenius simply presumes the kitl form. Its presence in modern
> >does not prove in any way its antiquity. Such form is extremely atypical
> >Hebrew, and unless someone demonstrates where the kitl came from, this is
> >not an explanation, but rephrasing of a problem.
> >
> >
> >
> Gesenius also links it with Akkadian (which he calls Assyrian) and
> thereby demonstrates clearly that the proto-Semitic form is like qitl-u
> or qatl-u. Any attempt to get further back than proto-Semitic can be no
> more than speculation.
> It seems very clear to me as a linguist that surface forms like MELEK
> are a recent phonological development from underlying MALK etc.

It seems not less clear to me that melek arose from melk (with tzere), not
from malk. How would the patah produce e-sound?

> Hebrew inserts a vowel and makes a compensatory change to the preceding
> vowel, which is not found in inflected forms.

Would you recall any instance in Hebrew when two segols arose from anything
else than tzere-shwa? Gesenius presumes they arose from patah-shwa.
In general, would you recall segol-compensatory shortening of any other
sound than tzere?

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