[b-hebrew] Gender, was: b-hebrew Digest, Vol 45, Issue 35

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Wed Sep 27 05:32:57 EDT 2006

On 27/09/2006 07:28, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:
> On 9/27/06, Yonah Mishael wrote:
>> I have never heard of this book, and I don't know where I could get my
>> hands on it. What different light could this book shine on what
>> "gender" means (beyond just "feminine")? Generally it has to do with
>> agreement between a noun and its modifiers, regardless of the natural
>> gender of the given noun -- que yo sepa.
>> $LWM,
>> Yonah
> Perhaps this link would be of help:
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2000-January/006407.html
 From this link:
> The point made by Michel is that the -a/at and -ot endings originally
> were to mark nomina unitatis and the Ø and -im endings originally were
> to mark collectiva.

If this was ever true, it was true in proto-Semitic or possibly in 
proto-West Semitic, for these endings are common at least to Hebrew, 
Aramaic and Arabic (with -im/-in and -ot/-aat variation), and have the 
same gender-related semantics in all three languages implying that the 
shift to a grammatical gender meaning took place before these languages 
separated. The implication is that this is interesting etymological 
research but of little relevance to the semantics of biblical Hebrew, as 
spoken and written many centuries after these languages separated and so 
even longer after these categories had shifted. The most that these 
older categories will be reflected in biblical Hebrew is a few traces.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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