[b-hebrew] verb nun bet tet in hiphil

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Feb 28 17:24:30 EST 2007


1. In my opinion the hifphil is formatively inherently causative. It  
contains the pair of personal pronouns HI-HI (HI = HU, gender
independently) interspersed among the radical letters.  One HI is for  
the causer and one HI is for the causee (so to speak). For instance:
HILBI$ = HI-LB-I-$ = HI-LB-HI-$, which means 'HI caused HI to be in  
the state of LB$'.

2. You are right in saying that HIBIT is 'looked', not 'saw', for  
which Hebrew uses RAH. It is similar to the use of HIK$IB,  
'listened', as opposed to $AMA, 'heard' (although we do have HI$MIA).  
The essential question in relation to HIBIT is: Who is this second  
HI, the one that receives the action of NBT? Is it the image, is it  
the mind, or is it the body being positioned for a better view? I  
don't know. Matters are further obscured by the fact that we don't  
know how the ancients understood the process of intercepting the flow  
of visual and auditory information.  In any event, the causative of  
'see' is 'show' -- Hebrew HERAH -- as the causative of 'lie' is  
'lay', as in 'to lay eyes on'.

3. The root NBT, from which HIBIT is derived, starts with the letter  
N, which like the other A-H-M-N-T-Y letters may stand for a personal  
pronoun, and is dropped.  Indeed: MA-BIT, 'I am looking', A-BIT, 'I  
will look', TA-BIT, 'you will look', Y-BIT, 'he-will look', NA-BIT,  
'we will look'. In the case of HIBAT-TI, 'I looked' the middle 'I' is  
now removed from *HI-BIT-TI to avoid the unpleasant I-I-I triplet.

4. Following Arabic, present-day Hebrew uses the root NBT (Nabataeans  
= growers = sprouters?) also in the sense of 'bud, sprout, give off  
shoots'. In this case HINBIT means 'caused to sprout'.

4. The relationship between looking, seeing, peering, peeking, and  
sprouting is manifested in the word  MECIC = ME-CIC, from the root  
CUC (related to ZUZ), of Song 2:9.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Feb 26, 2007, at 7:56 PM, kenneth greifer wrote:

> My understanding is that verbs can have a hiphil form that  can  
> mean to
> cause to do something, but what about verbs that are always in the  
> hiphil?
> If the verb with the root letters nun bet tet means "to look", how  
> would
> someone say "to cause to look" if this verb is already in the  
> hiphil form?
> Sincerely,
> Kenneth Greifer
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