[b-hebrew] Origins of the definite article of BHebrew

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Mon Dec 19 11:30:05 EST 2005

On 19/12/2005 15:50, Herman Meester wrote:

> ...
>No, I'm sorry for not having showed some examples more elaborately,
>but the stems I refer to are *not* cognate to the Hebrew hif`il, etc.
>So this is getting confusing. The "Arabic hif`il" is the stem iv:
>'af`ala, with real hamz, and I didn't use this example. That alif
>never disappears either in the perfect. The stems vii, viii, ix and x
>(I mention a few more now, I've been a little lazy before), however,
>totally different stems, have only prefixed -n- and infixed -t-, srd
>cons. gemination (which is, I repeat, productive in Arabic!), and
>prefixed sta-.
>fa`ala, stem vii: nfa`ala
>fa`ala, stem viii: fta`ala
>hamara, stem ix: hmarra (usually for colours, etc.)
>fa`ala, stem x: staf`ala
>So that's why we need, only in pausa: (i)nfa`ala, (i)fta`ala,
>(i)marra, (i)staf`ala.
Thanks for the clarification and the off-list chart (I had one of those 
somewhere, not sure where), and for reducing my level of confusion.

It seems to me now that Hebrew hiphil is cognate with Arabic stem iv 
'af`ala. The only one of the Arabic stems you list which has a clear 
cognate in Hebrew is vii (i)nfa`ala, which seems to be cognate with 
Hebrew niph`al. But Hebrew resolves the consonant cluster by inserting a 
letter rather than preposing one, cf. Hebrew "ben" vs. Arabic "ibn".

According to some people the Hebrew form hishtaxaweh is a hishtaphe`el 
form from the stem XWH. If so, this would be a Hebrew cognate of Arabic 
stem x (i)staf`ala, with h in place of silent alef. And there does seem 
to be an ishtaph`al form in biblical Aramaic, cognate with (i)staf`ala, 
although the only attested form seems to be yishtaklelun in Ezra 4:13,16 
and so the reconstruction of the basic form as ishtaph`al rather than 
perhaps shetaph`el would seem to be a bit speculative.

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

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