[b-hebrew] More on Piel etc.

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Fri May 13 12:37:28 EDT 2005

> HIGDIL (from G.D.L) has a sense of "do great things," not "make big."
> ("Higdil Adonai la'asot....")

How about, "cause the things to become big or great?"

> Even a seemingly causitive verb like HORISh (from Y.R.Sh) means
> "bequeath," not "cause to inherit,"

Any semantic difference? Obviously, inheritance is an original concept, and
bequeath - derivation.

> just as HOLID (from Y.L.D) means "give birth to" (a.k.a. "beget"), not
"cause to be born."

You are reading English expressions into Hebrew. "Give birth to" is abstract
and obviously late. Russian verb for "give birth to" is also causative of

> We are left with the quite common situation of not entirely
> understanding the nuances of ancient words.  My approach (and that of
> most linguists, I believe) is to assume that, barring any evidence to
> the contrary, ancient languages work the same way modern ones do.

Of course, not! Ancients had much more simple concepts, usually directly
related to nouns. Stems semantically relate to just these primitive

> am surprised to find people here suggesting that Hebrew works in a way
> completely unlike any known language, particularly when they have no
> evidence for their hypotheses.

If you disregard Torah and the tradition, how about the natural grammar of
Hebrew, with vowels not arbitrary, but derived from kamatz by stress
changes? What other group of languages is strictly root-based?

Vadim Cherny

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