[b-hebrew] Boring grammar again

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri May 6 17:32:24 EDT 2005

On 06/05/2005 21:37, Karl Randolph wrote:

>To All:
>At the risk of sounding stupid or just unable to learn, here is a question that is bugging me, what exactly is the Piel? ...
>Peter Kirk and others have pointed out that Piel in modern Hebrew has a causative meaning. If that is also the case for B-Hebrew, what is the difference between the Piel and the Hiphil? What contextual clues indicate that difference? In this scenario, both Piel and Hiphil are causative.
Anything I said was about biblical, not modern Hebrew.

I remember learning that there was some difference in the causative 
nature of Piel and Hiphil. I think it was that Piel causes a state, 
whereas Hiphil causes an action. But the dividing line is not strict. 
And I think that is the best way to look at Piel, as not related to 
other verb form (binyanim) by any strict semantic rules. It should not 
be considered an infected form of the verb, with a fixed semantic force, 
but rather as a derived verb (with its own morphology), with a meaning 
related to that of other forms based on the same root but with no fixed 
relationship. Indeed, it is probably best to give each binyan a separate 
dictionary entry - except that Pual and Hophal may be considered 
inflected passive forms of Piel and Hiphil.

The situation is similar to some derivational suffixes in English, 
although not so much verbal ones. An example is the English suffix -ish, 
which was discussed recently on another list. It has a range of 
meanings, which are related to one another in some general sense, but 
not fixed meaning.

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

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