[b-hebrew] MC) and YC) [was: )CM and )CY]

Jason Hare jaihare at gmail.com
Tue May 8 22:17:24 EDT 2007


In fact, through similarly incredible semantic gymnastics, we might discover
that אכל )KL "to eat" and כלא KL) "to incarcerate" really mean exactly the
same thing, since each represents an act of placing one thing inside another
with the result being a type of conquering of the second thing over the
first -- in the one case this being the food being placed into the person's
body and overcome; in the other the person is placed inside a cell and
overcome. So, you see that the person's body literally "incarcerates" the
food. In fact, I think I will begin to tell people as soon as I get to
Israel (in July) that I have already "incarcerated" just to stretch their
minds and prove the truth flexibility of language. (Tongue in cheek.)

Weaknesses in your claim:

- The word for "leave" is /exire/ in Latin. The -t is simply the personal
ending and not any kind of remnant of the verb "to be" /esse/ (as you
suggest by /ex-ist/). In fact, /ist/ is not a Latin form of the existential
verb. It is /est/ in the present tense (back to Latin 101 again).

- English does not "need two words to express [the] idea" of YC). The words
"leave" and "emerge" can translate it just as appropriately in many context
without resorting to two-word combinations. However, this is still no
argument since it is the nature of Germanic expression to combine adverbials
into the main verbal concept. Such combinations as "stand up," "walk
around," and "call out," (among the MANY) all have single verb
correspondences in Hebrew. Does this indicate something about the weakness
of English? Perhaps, but it does not mean that this proves that the concept
is more poorly represented in the English language. This cannot be an
argument in favor of your position in this post.

- "Existentially all YC) means is that something is, /post factum/, out."
Actually, YC) represents the concept of motion from a previous state or
location into a new state or location from the perspective of the arrival
position. This motion, and not simply the state of being "out," is
represented by the verb.

- Existential import is brought into MC) through the niphal binyan, in which
NMC) means "to be found," "to exist." All of the connections with existence
that you have shown come from this and not from any existential force behind
the QAL form of MC) or the basic meaning of the shoresh itself.

I stand by what I wrote to John offlist, saying that MC) and YC) do *not*
mean the same thing, especially not in the verses that he listed, which
would be great for the disucssion to keep us on topic. In the Genesis verse,
it says that "for Adam, he did not find a help corresponding to him" --
WL)DM L) MC) (ZR KNGDW - ולאדם לא מצא עזר כנגדו. It is only through the fact
that Chavah did not exist that she could not be found, of course. However,
this is not the case always with MC).

In the Psalms verse, it says that "Israel emerge[d] from their midst" --
WYWC) Y&R)L MTWKM - ויוצא ישראל מתוכם. This indicates the action of Israel's
separation from the Egyptians and the move from being "in their midst" to
NOT being so. The verbs do not, in any way, mean the same thing -- any more
than KL) means "to eat."

Jason Hare

On 5/8/07, Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu> wrote:
> John,
> You are making a keen observation that goes to the heart of the
> nature of the Hebrew language. What still needs to be done is better
> qualify what you mean by "they basically mean the same thing".
> This is how I see it. The Hebrew root describes a material fixed
> state, not a process in time. The QAL form is a root plus two 'A'
> sounds inserted into it to facilitate its utterance. The root YC) [I
> am writing all Hebrew in English letters left to right], of
> essentially the single consonant C, can not inherently describe such
> an abstract and involved process as 'coming out' [notice that English
> needs two words to express this Idea, as does Latin where 'exit' is
> essentially the compound ex-it, and 'exist' is essentially the
> compound ex-ist]. Existentially all YC) means is that something is,
> post factum, out. This compels us to conclude that C by itself is a
> single-consonant root [verb] corresponding to the English existence-
> expressing substantive 'is'. Of course, the usage of the triliteral
> root YC) is for something that we imagine was in the past in some
> sense "inside" and now exists in some sense "outside". Doubled, it
> produces CC from which we have CYIC, 'blossom, tuft, sprout, bud,
> (EC, 'tree', NCC, 'sparkle', from which we have NYICOC, 'spark'. Also
> the roots )C, N)C and N(C, and more.
> The root MC) is commonly rendered as 'find' [of dubious English
> etymology, possibly intended in the sense of 'to stumble or bend
> upon', or 'being located or founded, or confined somewhere'], but is
> closer in sense to 'available' or, again, 'exist'. In spoken Hebrew
> M'CYI)UT is 'reality', and MACUYI is 'common' or 'available'.
> Genesis 2:20 is surely not saying that God frantically ransacked his
> drawers to find ADAM a mate, but rather that a mate was not
> available, MACUYI, in all creation. A mate needed yet to be "brought
> out".
> Hence, as you say it rightly YC) and MC) "basically mean the
> same thing", namely, 'exist'.  By now you are saying But everything
> exists, to which I am saying You are absolutely right.
> Isaac Fried, Boston University

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