[b-hebrew] Definite Article 7:14

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Jul 11 01:22:05 EDT 2007


I admire your tenacity on being so completely and wholeheartedly on  
the the-ists side, defending this doctrine so valiantly and  
persistently against the repeated onslaught of the a-ists. But to me  
this the/a argument is vain. It is crystal clear that HA-(ALMAH is in  
reference to a well known [very well known, absolutely well known?]  
notable person in Jerusalem at the time Isaiah spoke these words, and  
therefore should be translated as the-(ALMAH. Those who want to  
translate it, for whatever reason, as an-(ALMAH have the right to do  
so. It is their choice.
I am uneasy about lofty terminology and am not sure about this  
business of the "partial determinant of pronouns". In my opinion the  
entire Hebrew language consists of roots [compounds themselves of  
simpler single-literal roots] and personal pronouns, or identity  
markers. Thus HA- is HI-, 'she'. I see the issue of the "definite  
article" is an example of terminology assuming a life of its own---of  
the golem "definite" turning against its own creator.
I find it noteworthy that the English personal pronoun 'she' is  
considered a descendent of the ancients words 'so' and 'he', so  
similar to the Hebrew ZEH and HA- or HI. Also in Hebrew the personal  
pronoun HI is apparently but a variant of XI or XAYI, 'alive'.
As to (ALMAH, I hold it possible that it evolved from a connotation  
for a young woman to an honorary title, the same way the English word  
queen evolved from the base word gune---wife. After all (ALMAH  
contains an L for elevation and an M for massivity, two letters that  
form also the awe inspiring word (OLAM.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jul 10, 2007, at 8:55 PM, JoeWallack at aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 7/8/2007 7:53:32 PM Central Daylight Time,  
> if at math.bu.edu writes:
> Joseph,
> I am afraid that the discussion is vague and aimless because of the  
> lack for a clear criterion for what is meant by "definite". Is  
> there a test for definiteness? and what does "indefinite" mean? One  
> may argue that definiteness is knowledge, but knowledge comes by  
> degrees, and is often imperfect.
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> JW:
> You and I probably wouldn't get anywhere trying to discuss the use  
> of the Hebrew definite article in 7:14 because we don't agree on  
> what the Hebrew definite article is. If I understand you correctly  
> (which I may very well not) what everyone else here is calling the  
> Hebrew definite article you are calling a partial determinant of  
> pronouns. If my understanding is correct I do find your position  
> interesting.
> Joseph Wallack
> See what's free at AOL.com.

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