[b-hebrew] Gesenius on Femininity

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Sep 25 17:04:41 EDT 2006


Chris:

I will back up Peter.

I have uncovered patterns explaining why some nouns are feminine, but
in many cases the gender of a noun is just arbitrary, often just
because a noun has a certain form will determine its gender
irrespective of its meaning.

In the case of TWRH, it is from the same root as the verb YRH which
means to shoot out teachings, ideas, rain, projectiles, and anything
that can be shot out. TWRH is a regular development of a peh-yod root,
but with a heh as a final, which usually denotes a feminine gender.
Thus the fact that TWRH is feminine can be explained as a grammatical
structure, nothing more.

Karl W. Randolph.

On 9/25/06, Chris and Nel <wattswestmaas at eircom.net> wrote:
> Peter, surely you can not be serious?  It SEEMS arbitrary and that is why I
> asked.  I had always thought that apart from the obvious male/female
> associations the rest is just accident, but it seems quite clear that
> accident has nothing to do with it, it may appear accident, but I think that
> Gesenius has a point, you don't think so?
>
> Regards Chris
>
> 25 sept Peter Kirk replied:
>
> > This is not how language works. In any language with grammatical gender,
> > the gender of many nouns is entirely arbitrary and no significance can
> > be derived from it at all.
> >
> > --
> > Peter Kirk
> > E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
> > Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
> > Website: http://www.qaya.org/
>
>
> On 23/09/2006 19:39, Chris and Nel wrote:
>
> > Gesenius makes some interesting observations about the purpose of a noun
> > being in the feminine:  "Indication of the gender of the noun" page 411
> > (1898 edition).
> > This got me thinking about a few words that had no apparent reason for
> > being
> > in the feminine.  One such word was the obvious -- Torah.  And so I wonder
> > whether there would be agreement to the following 'idea' (based on
> > Gesenius's reasoning) that while this concept was masterful, strong,
> > dominant and hence a masculine ideal; it is rather by absolute contrast a
> > productive, sustaining, nourishing concept! and hence feminine.  (All this
> > assuming that Torah is understood along the lines that it means nore
> > teaching and guiding and instruction rather than the negative concept of
> > 'Law' as assumed in some circles)
> >
> > What are your thoughts on this?
>  >
> >
>
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