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

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Mon Nov 26 11:17:08 EST 2007


It appears to me that you got what I am saying, to wit your judgement  
that "this proposal is most unlikely (actually, I would go as far as  
to say impossible)." I wish you would have given us a reasoned  
explanation why this is impossible.
Hebrew may easily pack six personal pronouns in one word. This is how  
spoken Hebrew keeps producing more and more words out of the same root.
Superficiality, in my opinion, is a tremendous virtue in linguistics.  
Being overly sophisticated may readily lead one to overshoot the  
target. Language is a very very simple device.
Let's be concrete and see if we can find some common ground. Do you  
agree that the inflected verb $AMART, 'you [female singular] guarded'  
is the coming together of the act $AMAR and the following personal  
pronoun AT for the actor, or is this last T just an abstract  
morpheme, a mere adjunct grammatical marker?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Nov 26, 2007, at 12:06 AM, David Kummerow wrote:

> Hi Isaac,
> I think you need to explain what you mean by "function" and "meaning"
> below, specifically: "I don't dispute the function of -UT. Our
> disagreement is on its meaning."
> If you agree on the function of the morpheme -ut, it would seem to me
> that your disagreement then is not so much over meaning but on the
> historical make-up of the form, i.e. that it is a fusion and
> grammaticalisation from two (!) independent personal pronouns.  
> However,
> given the function of the morpheme, this proposal is most unlikely
> (actually, I would go as far as to say impossible). It is also
> unsubstantiated, and is as "superficial" as your treatment of the
> English data, which I will not go into.
> Regards,
> David Kummerow.
>> George,
>> 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
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