[b-hebrew] Boring grammar again

kwrandolph kwrandolph at email.com
Tue May 10 18:34:54 EDT 2005

Dear George et al:

First of all, please excuse me if I retread something that has just 
been answered to in the last few days-I missed a few days of mail and 
the link to the archives from http://www.ibiblio.org/bhebrew has not 
worked either for the last few days (I just checked again).

As for the meaning of DBR as a verb, it seems closest to to express, 
or in the Piel to make expression. Just as in English expression is 
almost always done verbally, so DBR is almost always done verbally, 
though rarely also by actions. A few times the allusion is made that 
the expression is done through the hand of Moses or a prophet, 
indicating the written form of expression.

It could be that the Piel has more than one meaning, one of which is 
making a verb out of a noun root, as expressed in verbs like DBR But 
then I think of verbs like )BD which is well attested in both Qal and 
Piel, where the Piel has the meaning of make into the state of ... 
while the Qal to become... and the Hiphil to cause to become ... But 
I see no evidence that Piel ever had the meaning of heightened 
action. Yes, I have read that claim in more than one grammar, but 
never observed it while reading Tanakh.

Karl W. Randolph.

----- Original Message -----
From: "George Athas" <gathas at hotkey.net.au>
>  The Piel certainly has a causative idea. I tell my students to
>  think of the Piel as indicating a heightened action of some kind,
>  whether that be intensive (eg, 'smash' rather than 'break') or
>  causative (eg, 'grow' rather than just 'be big'). Of course, some
>  actions have a naturally heightened concept, and therefore do not
>  have any regular equivalent in the Qal stem (eg, DiBBeR - to speak,
>  a heightened form of saying).
>  It's also helpful, as Peter Kirk has already alluded, to see the
>  Piel and Hiphil as Hebrew parallels (not equivalents) to the
>  addition of certain English suffixes. For example, compare the
>  suffixes -ise (naturalise, realise -- for the Americans amongst us,
>  that's -ize) and -ify (magnify, rectify).
>  Best Regards,
>  (Sydney, Australia)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list