[b-hebrew] Is write..on..heart simply an idiom

colin at s-m-i-t-h.com colin at s-m-i-t-h.com
Wed May 11 19:25:27 EDT 2005

" In trying to learn whether a phrase like `al leb is an idiom or a figure
of speech, it would be helpful to view a lot of its uses by your author, in
this case Jeremiah, and then in even a larger corpus.  With the Hebrew
expression `al leb in Jeremiah, I think you will find it is a common and
consistent expression rather than an untraditional use of words.  It means
"to think about carefully," I would say.  The key thing here is that the
expression is both common and consistent.  That's an idiom.  Since a figure
of speech may evolve into an idiom, there will most assuredly be a fuzzy
time when it is fully neither and partly both"

 Since the listserver seems to be in "dissertation" mode of late, my
dissertation at Cornell University was on the distinctive dialect of the
book of Jeremiah. The book displays a very idosyncratic dialect (which,
curiously, has very few isoglosses with the books commonly associated
with the Deuteronomistic school) and and a substantial number of lexical
features unique to the book.

I would concur with your opinion that the use of `al leb in Jeremiah
should be treated as an idiom.

Colin Smith
colin at s-m-i-t-h.com

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