[b-hebrew] Boring grammar again

George Athas gathas at hotkey.net.au
Tue May 10 20:23:09 EDT 2005


Hi Karl!

Thanks for your comments about DBR meaning expression -- they are very helpful.

I'm not denying that Piel usually conveys the notion of bringing a state into being. I was just trying to capture all that the Piel pattern does with one label. Perhaps 'heightened' action is not the best label. The basic pattern of doubled second radical and no added intrinsic consonant (by intrinsic consonant I mean things like the nun-prefix for the Niphal) generally does convey a heightening or formalising of the concept, whether it's in a verbal or nominal form.

A nominal form which comes to mind in the word Nwbc( in God's curse of the woman with regards childbearing in Gen 3. The standard word for 'pain' is something like bc( in the segholate form. The reference to Nwbc(, though, is an intensive form (something like 'pain-arama').

In verbal terms, you might compare the Qal and Piel of the root GR$. The Qal means something like 'drive out' or 'cast out', but the Piel has a heightened or more formalised meaning, something like 'banish', 'expel' or 'evict'.

In sum, while Piel is predominantly used for the causation of a state, it does not solely mean this. It generally indicates a heightened or formalised action. Perhaps there is a better word someone might come up with which is more suitable and helpful?

Best Regards,

GEORGE ATHAS
(Sydney, Australia)


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: kwrandolph 
  To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Wednesday, May 11, 2005 8:34 AM
  Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Boring grammar again


  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,
  >
  >  GEORGE ATHAS
  >  (Sydney, Australia)
  _______________________________________________
  b-hebrew mailing list
  b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
  http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list