[b-hebrew] 1 Samuel 1:26 HaNiTSeVeT????

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Oct 25 17:09:39 EDT 2006

On 10/24/06, Chris and Nel wrote:
> BDB on the web is about as useful as an ashtray on a
> motorbike!!!

It's also quite out of date and probably involves some copyright issues.

Forms in Hebrew that end in two segols are in general related to the
process of segolization that was going on in various Hebrew words.
In this process, syllables of the form qatl were broken up into qetel.
The second segol was actually very short and in one example as late
as Medieval times the word "kerem" was transcribed as "charm".  The
first segol in words like kerem was lengthened at some point in time.

Actually explaining how the form became like a segholate may be
a little involved.  In general, the participle originally had a form "qa:til".
This translates eventually to Hebrew "qotel".  The feminine had an -at
suffix, which translates to -a:(h).  However, it's possible that, like nouns,
participles were viewed in many cases as constructs, where the original
-at was maintained.  For example, here it's possible the participle is
viewed as a construct of the preposition b-.  I looked up the form for )kl.
Three feminine forms are possible:
)okhlF = almost directly from )a:kilat -> )o:kela:h -> )o:klF
)okhelF = word final, probably this caused a preservation of the middle e
)okhElEt = perhaps )a:kilat -> )o:kelat -> )o:kelt -> )o:kelEt -> )o:kElEt
o = holam, e = tsere, F = qamats, E = segol
In regular segholates, like "sipr" ("book"), the original i became e (tsere),
and this was maintained.  Here the tsere was changed to segol.  This
probably indicates that the tsere was short because in the late
development of Hebrew, short tseres became segols.  Why was the
tsere in "sipr" long and that in ")okelEt" short? Probably the first one
lengthened in an early period, while the second one did not because
the word only became a "segholate" later on, when the a in the last
syllable dropped.

The geminate (dagesh) in the word has to do with the root.  The root
is NCB but the verb form is a Niphal.  Originally, this meant a "na-"
was prefixed to the word and the vowel between the first and second
root letters dropped.  Thus, na - + qatil = naqtil.  For the root NCB
in feminine form this would be: nancibat.  The "nc" in the middle
became the geminate "cc" because n dropped in such situations in
Hebrew and related languages.  We thus get naccibat.  The rest of
the development is similar to what is described above, except that the
na- also evolved to ni- in the later development of Hebrew.

For me, the more interesting thing that appears to come out of this is
the realization that the vowel in regular segholates lengthened early on.

Yitzhak Sapir

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