[b-hebrew] Replaying

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Dec 20 05:29:50 EST 2007



You are right in saying that in reference to a living thing the "suffix" -AT includes a hint as to gender or true sex, as in PIQAX-AT, 'open-eyed, clear-eyed, astute', often said of MAR-AT KOHEN, but what about CALAX-AT AXER-ET, 'another plate', or GAXEL-ET LOHET-ET, 'glowing coals', or CAPAX-AT GDOLA-AH, 'large jar', or SIML-AH ABIB-IT, 'spring dress', is there in all these any a-priory reference to gender, certainly not. 

And if -AH, -AT, -ET, -IT are not gender markers, what inherently are they? They must be something well defined within the language. 

In YI-$LAX, 'he will send' the prefixed YI is according to your way of thinking a person-tense-gender [male] marker, but this same YI becomes a person-gender [female]-mode marker in $ALX-IY, 'send away!'. DAT-IY [after Esther 1:13] is 'religious man' but also, surprise, surprise, 'my religion'. What are then all these IY-YI?  It calls for a decisive explanation. "Indeed [in the] Hebrew language things are complex and by no means simple" will not do. To the contrary, Hebrew is an absolutely systematic and transparent language. Any part of any of its words can, and need be, fully and clearly accounted for in the context of the language itself.


Isaac Fried, Boston University
  I think we agree. Indeed Hebrew language things are complex and by no means simple... 
  You ask: Any person marker in DIBER?  And one could answer: No person marker here so that we could say that when there is no person marker... then the IMPLIED person marker is that of third person singular masculine. 
  But... then... what about, say, these Imperative forms with no explicit person marker such as $:LAX!, send! (1Sa 20:31) or $:)AL!, ask! (1Ki 3:5) that refer to second -and no more to third-  person singular masculine? 
  Maybe could we say here that the sheva after the first root consonant is the person marker? Look at www.oham.net/out/N-t/N-t017.F.2.html

  So the above assertion  -no person marker = third person singular masculine-   would be true only for the Past or Perfect... 

  Indeed, it is inconceivable that the ancient Hebrews would have encumbered, say, ')ADAM-AH, 'earth' with the "suffix" -AH just to inform us about something that is utterly irrelevant, and that springs into existence post factum only by dint of the -AH affixation, namely the "gender" of 'earth'. To the contrary, after -AH is added, for whatever reason, the noun becomes classified as "feminine" in the sense of requiring a matching coupler ending for a qualifier as in )ADAM-AH TOB-AH, or as in D)AGAH (AMUQ-AH, 'deep worry', and so on.


  Yes, I think you are right.


  Local conclusion: -AH, -AT, -ET, -IT are not gender markers. 


  You  --we--- should better say that -AH, -AT, -ET, -IT are this and this and this... and ALSO gender markers.

  The -AH in the noun "DIBRAH" you mentionned is a good example of gender marker. We find other samples in Ne 8:12; 13:5 or in Is 1:21.
  But... even here we must be careful: in numbers... final -AH means masculine (look at Lv 27:6, five shekels)

  Global conclusion: Hebrew does not have a marker specific for gender.   


  True. But even if it has no specific marker for gender... it has some gender markers such as 

  1. -AT ---------  PIQAXAT, (female) seer (not in the Bible) <> PIQ"AX, (male) seer or seeing (Ex 4:11) or YODA(AT, (female) who knows (Nm 31:17) <> YOD"(A, (male) who knows (Js 22:22)

  2. -ET ---------- )AXERET, other (female) (last word in Gn 17:21) as compared to )AX"R, other (male) (last word in Rt 2:22) or GAXELET, hot coal(s) (Is 47:14) (root: gxl, kindle, burn)

  3. -IYT --------- $"NIYT, second (female) (last word in Lv 13:5) as compared with $"NIY, second (male) (last word in Gn 1:8)

  and as it will be clear from the explanation pages I'm being making ready (for the pattern type look for instance at www.oham.net/out/S-t/S-t1904.html

  none of these -AT, -ET or -IYT refer to a male (1). 

  (1) There is perhaps the exception of Qal Imperative, second person masculine singular, of some verbs: GA(AT, touch! (you, male) and the -AT or -ET marking the construct state in some cases as that we find in Js 1:11: $:lo$et yamym, three days.

  Pere Porta
  Barcelona (Spain)

    Isaac Fried, Boston University

      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: pporta at oham.net 
      To: Isaac Fried 
      Cc: b-hebrew Hebrew 
      Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2007 9:20 PM
      Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Replaying

      It has been my experience of many years that planting a new idea is easy but supplanting an existing idea is nigh impossible. Planted ideas are the MASMROT NTU(IM of Ecclesiastes 12:11. Explaining is also best done interactively.


      You appear to agree with David that "gender-marking is not person-marking!", so pray, explain to me first what is in your opinion a Hebrew "gender-marking", 

      "Gender-marker" is every "device" that tells to the reader or the listener which is the gender of the being/thing (person, object, animal, mind being...) dealt with.

      And so,

      1. A final -AH is a "gender-marker" in "na(arAH", girl (Rt 2:6), compared with "na(ar", boy (Gen 37:2)
      2. A final -T is a "gender-marker" in "(omedeT" (Hag 2:5) compared with "(omed" (Gen 18:8)

      what is a Hebrew "person-marking", and why "gender-marking IS NOT [or can not be] person-marking".

      "Person-marker" is every "device" that tells to the reader or the listener which is the person (I, you, he, we...) who/which speaks, acts... and so on...


      1. A final -TY is a "person-marker" in "dibarTY", I spoke (Js 1:3) compared with "diber", he spoke (Gen 18:8)
      2. An initial "Yi" is a "person-marker" AND at a time a "tense-marker" in "yishlax", he will send (Gn 3:22) compared with 'shalax", he sent.
      2. A final -U is a "person-marker" in "dibrU", they spoke (Gn 45:15), compared with "diber", he spoke (Gen 

      Person-markers apply to verbs (or verb forms) and personal pronouns. 

      and why "gender-marking IS NOT [or can not be] person-marking".

      These are two quite different concepts. The same as this: color and thickness are differents things or concepts... and they can be found coexisting together in a given object, let us say in a piece of chalk (a blue thick piece of chalk or a thick blue piece of chalk) or not... 
      Now, can a color be or become thickness?  Surely no!  
      Can thickness be or become a color?  Surely no!

      What can you argue against this? 

      Pere Porta
      Barcelona (Spain)


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