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

David Kummerow farmerjoeblo at hotmail.com
Tue Nov 27 18:31:18 EST 2007

Hi Isaac,

It seems to me that you are backtracking here. I thought you said to 
George that you agreed with him regarding the function of the morpheme 
-ut that it may function as a marker of abstraction?

In any case, it is not me you simply disagree with, but any standard 
reference work. You would need to interact with the data they raise than 
simple assert your view.

Again, I suggest to you that personal pronouns cannot combine 
willy-nilly, they are not the building blocks of language. In any case, 
you have not demonstrated how this is possible under any theory of 
language. Further, how it is functionally possible or even useful to 
combine, even co-combine in some of your more extreme suggestions, 
personal pronouns which distinguish separate speech participants. -ut 
cannot simultaneously point out an addressee and a third-person referent 
as this is clearly not the plain or obvious semantics of the form. The 
same for your other examples you have repeatedly posted to this list.

How can pronouns, which designate separate speech participants, be 
combined into a compound form? I can answer the question for you: they 
don't. Nevertheless, please either raise evidence supporting your view, 
preferably situating it within standard linguistics (even better 
pronominal theory, I can provide references if you desire), or please 
give us all a break from your continual airing of your extreme 
assertions. We all know what you think, so we don't need to be 
repeatedly reminded as if we had somehow forgotten. You are tiring the list.

David Kummerow.

> David,
> 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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