[b-hebrew] infinitive absolute

Yonah Mishael yonahmishael at gmail.com
Wed Nov 1 00:41:02 EST 2006


So, if the infinitive absolute is not intended to emphasize the
activity, what is its purpose? There must be a purpose for the added
verbal form in conjunction with the main verb, else why was it added?

I completely agree with the -N- infix, though I had never read
anything about someone thinking it was an intensifier. Thanks for your
response, though.


On 10/31/06, Dr. Joel M. Hoffman <joel at exc.com> wrote:
> >Regarding this topic, I also learned that an infinitive absolute
> >coupled with a finite verb form is an intensifier. I would be
> >interested in any *evidence* to demonstrate that it only means "liable
> Alas, the emphatic nature of inf. absolute, like the emphatic nature
> of a few other elements of biblical grammar, is mere hypothesis.
> There is very little evidence to support the supposition that
> inf. absolute had an intensive or empahtic meaning, and we find some
> potential counterevidence.
> For example, the frequent repetition of MOT YUMAT seems to militate
> against an emphatic meaning.  So does, e.g., the particular use in Gen
> 3:4:  "The serpant told the woman you will not die" is much more
> likely than the nearly nonsensical, "the serpant told the woman you
> will not die empatically/certainly/etc."
> Similarly, the infix -N- used before pronominal suffixes is frequently
> assumed to impart an emphatic meaning, though there is little evidence
> to support such a claim.
> More generally, we seem to find some poorly understood variations in
> Hebrew grammar, and the historical tendancy seems to have been ---
> without justification, in my opinion ---- to assume that any extra
> letters or words had to impart emphasis.
> -Joel
> Joel M. Hoffman, PhD
> http://www.exc.com/JoelHoffman

Yonah Mishael ben Avraham
Joplin, MO
yonahmishael at gmail.com

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