[b-hebrew] Piel etc.
lehmann at uni-mainz.de
Wed May 11 17:05:50 EDT 2005
it would be highly recommended to read Ernst Jenni's "Das hebräische
Piel. Synraktisch-semasiologische Untersuchungen einer Verbalform im
Alten Testament", Zürich 1968, and an additional paper by the same
author in Zeitschrift für Althebraistik some years ago (I do not have
the volume here at the moment),
and J. Hoftijzer, Überlegungen zum System der Stammesmodifikationen im
Hebräisch: Zeitschrift für Althebraistik 5 (1992),
before arguing with mixed modern Hebrew.
Reinhard G. Lehmann
Dr. Reinhard G. Lehmann, AkOR
Forschungsstelle für Althebräische Sprache und Epigraphik
Fachbereich 01: Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
> Message: 16
> Date: Wed, 11 May 2005 11:32:33 -0400 (EDT)
> From: "Dr. Joel M. Hoffman" <joel at exc.com>
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Piel etc.
> To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Message-ID: <m1DVtCL-000GhjC at exc.com>
> Regarding Piel etc.:
> It is simply not true that the binyanim dictate semantic sense. So to
> say that "Piel [is] a heightened action of some kind," or that "Piel
> [is] the imposition of a state (adjectival)..." is to do everyone a
> In both modern and ancient Hebrew, each binyan tends to cluster around
> a set of meanings, but the clustering is not absolute. Some people
> therefore conclude that there are "rules and lots of exceptions," but
> I don't find that approach helpful or accurate, both because the rules
> tend to be complicated, and because the exceptions outnumber the
> Furthermore, the belief in semantic rules that accompany the binyanim
> leads to (sometimes severe) misunderstandings of the Hebrew words,
> because people try to force their wrong notions of the semantic import
> of the binyanim onto the words.
> For example, in Modern Hebrew, the Piel GIDDEL means "to grow (plants)
> or to raise (children)," while the hiphil HIGDIL means "to enlarge."
> Similarly, the hiphil HIRXIK means "to cause to be far away," while
> its opposite, "to cause to be nearby," is Piel (KEREV).
> There is nothing intensive or emphatic about "speaking" (Piel: DIBBER)
> or, for that matter, faxing (Piel: FIKSES), or focusing [a camera, say]
> (Piel: FIKES). Returning to Biblical Hebrew, there is still nothing
> emphatic about "speaking." We can also look, say, at Genesis 12:3,
> where we find two words for "curse" clearly used in parallel, but one
> is in Piel (KILLEL), while its synonym is in Kal (ARAR). Similarly,
> the passive of BERACH (Piel) is not Pual but Niphal (NIVRACH) there.
> There is nothing emphatic about the nearly-passive verb "to get," but
> it, too, is Piel: KIBEL.
> Branching out a bit, the Niphal verbs NISHBA' ("to swear") and NAMAS
> ("to melt") are not at all passive, and neither are the modern Hebrew
> Niphal verbs NIZKAR ("to recall") and NIFTAR ("to die").
> For that matter, the relationship between NIFTAR/HITPATER
> ("die"/"quit") is not at all the same as the relationship between
> 'IBED/HIT'ABED ("lose"/"commit suicide").
> The oppositve of "to gain weight" (Hiphel: HISHMIN) is the Kal verb
> ("to lose weight").
> The Kal verb 'AVAD means "to work" or "to serve," while the Piel 'IBED
> means "to process."
> The Piel verb KIRSEM simply means "to gnaw" not "to gnaw
> emphatically." The hiphil verb "HEVIN" simply means "to understand,"
> not "to cause someone to have wisdom."
> These and many, many, more examples disprove any notion of binyanim
> dictating semantics.
> Nonetheless, it is generally true that Kal/Niphal, Piel/Pual and
> Hiphel/Huphal form active/passive pairs, though even there exceptions
> are not uncommon.
> -Joel Hoffman
> (joel at exc.com)
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