[b-hebrew] comparative historical linguistics was Re:Nun-Tav-Vetroot

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Nov 29 00:17:22 EST 2006

If you carry a tag saying Londoner, then it identifies, or singles  
you out, as in German: ER ist aus London. If you cuddle a poodle,  
then the tag identifies you as: they ARE from London.

In Hebrew it is the inserted (infixed) personal pronouns that make  
the distinction between a verb (act) and a noun (object). If they  
refer to the object itself, then the word is a "noun", and if they  
refer to external causative bodies (actors, agents), then the word is  
a "verb".

Hebrew starts out with a root, say the root GDL or the root GML. The  
root refers to a material state. I consider the root as being a  
meaningful composition of uni-consonantal roots, or existence  
markers. The letter L in both roots is such a marker indicating  
elevation or loftiness. The sound  A is just a puff of air between  
two consonants (fancifully put, its semantic field has zero measure).  
Hence in speech the roots may be pronounced as GADAL and GAMAL.
The sounds U (more or less as in boot) and I (more or less as in  
beet) are universal personal pronouns (possibly of onomatopoeic  
origin) or markers of identity, and so are their (latter) variants O  
and E.

Now, he root GDL means 'big'. In the word GDIL=GD+I+L the 'I' marker  
identifies the object itself, and hence 'gdil' is a noun. Indeed,  
'gdil' is an extended tassel---a big outgrowth. The word GDILI=GD+I+L 
+I has two such identifiers one for the object and one for its  
owner---me, and so GDILI is 'my gdil.' In the same way, GDILO=GD+I+L 
+O is 'his gdil.' By the same pattern GMUL=GM+U+L is 'reward'.

In the word HIGDIL=HI+GD+I+L, which is of the Hifil, הפעיל,  
paradigm, the two identity markers refers to actor 'HI' causing actor  
'I' to be in the state GDL. Hence HIGDIL is a verb.
Yet, GUDAL=G+U+DAL may mean 'the thumb,' or the big digit of the  
hand, or it may mean 'he was grown'

On Nov 28, 2006, at 7:50 AM, stoneyb wrote:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Isaac Fried [mailto:if at math.bu.edu]
>> All a pronoun is is a universal identity marker, and is therefore
> meaningful in all the cases I brought up.
> I don't know what a "universal identity marker" is, but a pronoun by
> definition must act both syntactically and semantically as a  
> substitute
> for a contextually identificable noun to which it refers. "-er" does
> not. It can transform a verb into a noun representing the verb's agent
> (play > player), or a noun representing an activity into another noun
> representing one who pursues that activity (football > footballer),  
> or a
> noun representing a place into another noun representing an inhabitant
> or native of that place (London > Londoner). But it can't refer to a
> noun and it can't act as a noun.
> Translated into programming jargon: a pronoun is a variable, "-er"  
> is a
> function.
>> Notice that the equality does not say er=are.
> Well, it appears from your address that you're the mathematician, but
> the equation you presented was "prison+er=prison+are" - if I subtract
> "prison" from both sides "er=are" is exactly what I get!
> Stoney Breyer
> Writer/Touchwood, Inc.
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