[b-hebrew] Piel etc.

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Fri May 13 12:19:37 EDT 2005

> > Russian verb prefixation is indeed an interesting example which is
> rather parallel to binyan formation in Hebrew. Many of the prefixes seem
> to have several different meanings. For example, вы- can indicate
> emphasis or perhaps more precisely achievement, but it can also indicate
> motion outwards, as in выйти "go out", and (with the reflexive suffix)
> exhaustiveness, as in высыпаться.

This is exactly what I point to. For me, as a native Russian speaker, the
common emphatic connotation between these exampples is clear. For example,
выйти is not just "go out" but more of finishing this action. A common usage
would be "all steam went out," meaning complete exhaustion. But people for
whom Russian is a second language, don't see these subtleties. The same
thing with Hebrew. Where we see nothing emphatic about piel, ancient native
speakers might feel the form very emphatic.

> On the other hand, it would be impossible to find "a fairly rigid rule",
> least a simple one, to explain all of the derived meanings.

I think that nearly all Russian verbs with prefixes could be traced back
etymologically to a point when their meaning corresponded to the supposed
semantics of the prefix.

Vadim Cherny

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