[b-hebrew] Genesis 31: 47: What Foreign Language Is That?

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sun Nov 25 22:36:12 EST 2007


I am really, really sorry that you were offended by my choice of  
words. I surely had no intention, be it the slightest, of  
caricaturing your statement, except of recasting it into my own words  
for the sake of my own apprehension.
For the record, I don't dispute the function of -UT. Our disagreement  
is on its meaning. It is still my understanding that you are saying - 
UT is inherently meaningless [except for it being an abstract  
grammatical marker], while I contend it is a personal pronoun, or a  
string thereof.
I would be greatly reluctant to comment on the formation of English  
words, but it superficially appears to me that the suffix -ism is the  
compound [via Latin etc., etc.] of the substantives is-am or is-in. I  
am not sure what is the meaning of the suffix -tion, but in any  
event, the consensus is that it is meaningless as a stand-alone.
I am also surprised and saddened by your qualification of my sincere  
effort, be it extra consensual, to explain my ideas about the Hebrew  
language as "condescending rhetoric".

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Nov 25, 2007, at 6:04 PM, George Athas wrote:

> No, Isaac, the particle -UT is not a 'random syllable' - no one has
> ever said it was. Nor am I saying that it is a 'heedless hoot'. Your
> caricature of my statement is most unscholarly, and I'm reticent to
> respond to it. Nonetheless, I'll accord you the dignity of a response,
> despite your condescending rhetoric.
> The particle -UT is an abstract noun marker, much the same way the
> particle -tion is in English. For example, if you take the words
> 'corrupt', 'operate' or 'animate' and add the particle -tion to them,
> you end up with some abstract nouns: corruption, operation, and
> animation. There are even words in which the particle -tion is an
> integral and irremovable part, such as 'nation' or 'salvation'.  Or,
> to take another example, the particle -ism can be added to words
> yielding such abstract nouns as tourism, communism, and
> fundamentalism.
> The particle -UT works in a very similar way to these in Hebrew and
> Aramaic.
> I expect you'll disagree with this, but please do so with some
> respect, also acknowledging that this is what the scholarly consensus
> is.
> Moore Theological College (Sydney)
> 1 King St, Newtown, NSW 2042, Australia
> Ph: (+61 2) 9577 9774
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