[b-hebrew] Piel etc.

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed May 11 18:59:43 EDT 2005

On 11/05/2005 23:14, Karl Randolph wrote:

> ...
>While recognizing that each binyan tends to cluster around a meaning, or maybe more than one meaning, it is my desire to find out what is that meaning and the breadth thereto. As a lexicographer, then, if I understand the Piel, for example, then I could predict what the Qal, the Hiphil and other binyanim meanings would be. ...

Do you mean that you assume that this is true, or that you have proved 
that this is true?

>... But if they don’t follow the pattern, then it is a good sign that I didn’t understand the Piel correctly in the first place and I need to go back and do more research. But if I just blindly go on, treating each semantic domain as an isolated unit, treating each verb’s binyanim as independent from another verb’s binyanim, what rhyme or reason can I point back to? How can I be assured of the integrity of my research? How can I confidently understand the text? And how can I with confidence make an accurate translation of the text?

I agree that you should not assume that the binyamin are independent. 
But you shouldn't assume either that they are related by fixed rules. 
After all, many people have tried to find such fixed rules, and have 
found the following:

>> 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
>See above, sloppiness.

Karl, if you can come up with a set of rules which are not complicated 
and have no exceptions, then that will be a wonderful step forward for 
scholarship. But until you can come up with such a set of rules, or at 
least prove that one exists, you have no right to assume that it is 
possible to do better than many scholars before you, and no basis and no 
right to accuse anyone of "sloppiness".

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

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