[b-hebrew] Piel etc.

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Thu May 12 02:20:46 EDT 2005

> 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 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").

These correlations might or might not be true, but the reasoning is flawed.
You are reading modern English meaning into ancient Hebrew verbs. We just
don't know how they imagined a particular action. We lost semantic shades of
many synonyms, and more so of inflexions.

kibel, for example, could well be thought more emphatic than paal form.
nizkar could well be "to receive recollection"
giddel might reflect the burdensomeness of raising

Vadim Cherny

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