[b-hebrew] Question on Tetragrammaton

Jerry Shepherd jerry.shepherd at taylor-edu.ca
Tue Apr 17 19:00:36 EDT 2007

Dr. Jerry E. Shepherd
Associate Professor of Old Testament
Taylor Seminary
11525 - 23 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T6J 4T3
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Email: jerry.shepherd at taylor-edu.ca
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-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Peter Kirk
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2007 4:57 PM
To: Harold Holmyard
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] verb forms - Isaiah 56:6-7 was dying you shall die

On 17/04/2007 21:17, Harold Holmyard wrote:
> Isaac Fried wrote:
>> ...
>> How do I know all this? If you come to think of it, it cannot be  
>> otherwise.
> HH: Of course it can be otherwise. The verbs could always have had 
> suffixes and prefixes. Separate independent pronouns are used together 
> with verbs with prefixes and suffixes sometimes.
On this one I am more or less with Isaac, on the general principle if 
not the detail. It seems clear that in a wide variety of language 
families including Semitic, personal endings of verbs etc (suffixes and 
occasionally prefixes) are generally forms of the relevant personal 
pronouns, which were initially separate and gradually became merged with 
the roots, with phonological changes resulting from that. This merging 
of roots and suffixes had probably already taken place in the earliest 
reconstructable proto-forms of the language families I am familiar with: 
Indo-European, Semitic and Turkic. Indeed the similarities between the 
endings in these languages suggest that the merger may have taken place 
even before these three families split (if indeed they did). 
Nevertheless there are clear indications that such a process did take 
place in the remote past.

See the following simplified chart.

Data for proto-Indo-European from 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Indo-European_language and 
Data for Turkic from "Sravnitel'no-istoricheskaya grammatika tyurkskikh 
yazykov - Morfologiya", Nauka, Moscow 1988, pp.204, 347.

                 1sg  2sg   3sg      1pl  2pl     3pl

  pronouns*       me   te   tom      nos  wos     tons
                            tem                   tehns
  verb suffixes  -mi  -si   -ti     -mes -the     -nti

  pronouns       man- san-  in-      biz  siz
  verb suffixes  -man -syng -syghyn -lyq -synglar -syghynlar
                 -myn                    -synyz

  verb suffixes

(I will leave others to fill in this last section.)

* PIE pronouns given in the accusative as nominatives are sometimes very 

It seems to me that there is enough commonality between all of these 
lists to propose a common origin for all three sets of suffixes and all 
three sets of pronouns.

See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostratic#Personal_pronouns which 
I found after I wrote the above.

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

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