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

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Tue Nov 27 17:56:20 EST 2007


I am sorry, but I have to disagree with you. -UT is not an  
abstraction marker as you assume it to be. In my humble opinion there  
is no such thing in Hebrew as an abstraction marker. The ancient  
Hebrews surely did not distinguish in their mind between the concrete  
and the abstract and had therefore no use for such a special marker. - 
UT is rather an identity marker, or a combination of two such  
markers, aka personal pronouns.
A noun is a name for a thing, and this [compound] marker identifies  
the thing.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Nov 26, 2007, at 5:59 PM, David Kummerow wrote:

> Hi Isaac,
> What I mentioned in my post is neither abstract nor vague, but  
> precisely what you need to demonstrate in order for your theory to  
> be listened to. It is a straight-forward way for you to progress.  
> You want to repeatedly combine personal pronouns together, but you  
> need to articulate how this is functionally achieved, and to also  
> bring examples where this process may be seen. Until you do so you  
> will unlikely gain any adherents. (Of course, this is all just  
> hypothetical from my point of view as I am entirely certain that  
> such combining of separate marked speech participants is  
> linguistically impossible. Possible under some theory, of which you  
> are an example, but not in the real world.)
> In any case, what you list below is entirely different from what we  
> are discussing. As I mentioned previously, verbal BH inflections  
> may indeed be diachronically related to independent personal  
> pronouns. But this is a separate matter to saying that -ut = hu' +  
> 'attah. Due to their definite and specific semantics, personal  
> pronouns cannot be building blocks of new vocabulary nor new  
> morphemes willy-nilly, and especially could not combine together  
> into new compound forms of the like you repeatedly inform us of if  
> they had not lost their marking of distinct speech participants.  
> What would be the speaker's need to combine hu' + 'attah to produce  
> -ut, an abstraction marker? How can these forms which designate  
> separate speech participants be combined in this manner? Why and  
> how did they lose their speech participant meaning? And if it is  
> now a compound form with no marking of speech participants, why  
> keep referring to the diachonic makeup of the form when this is no  
> longer apparent both formally nor functionally (I am just going  
> along here with the argument as I do not accept that this is the  
> diachonic heritage of the morpheme in question)?
> Until you substantively address any of these issues rather than  
> assert, I do not have the time nor desire to respond. Indeed, I am  
> of like mind to Dr Lehmann.
> Regards,
> David Kummerow.
>> David,
>> I have horror of abstract arguments and vague courses of  
>> reasoning. If you are interested in keeping this discussion going,  
>> then we must keep it concrete and focused. I asked you if you [not  
>> some doctoral candidate at MIT] agree that
>> $AMARTEM = $AMAR+ATEM where AT, ATAH, ANU and ATEM are the stand- 
>> alone Hebrew personal pronouns, but did not receive a clear  
>> answer. These equalities are so obvious, or apparently obvious,  
>> that they have surly been observed over time by many a discerning  
>> Hebraist. As I said before, even the usually reticent Gesenius  
>> remarks on it somewhere in his grammar book. Also on the similar  
>> composite structure of the prefixed forms.     Isaac Fried, Boston  
>> University

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