[b-hebrew] About Dagesh's

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sat Jun 21 21:10:44 EDT 2008


1. It is not mockery but a modest reminder that before we set out to  
build theoretical castles in the air we need to pause and reconsider  
how flimsy, dubious, uncertain and controversial the raw data  
possibly is.
2. The articles you cite are not easy to get. Posting them would be  
3. If someone prefers to see $IBER of Exodus 9:25 as 'broke to  
pieces' or 'broke over and over'; or GIDE(A of Psalms 107:15 as  
'hacked to smidgens' it is his choice. Some Hebrew grammar books say  
so too [Gesenius, on page 141 of his grammar book, asserts that "The  
fundamental idea of the piel, to which all the various shades of  
meaning in this conjugation may be referred is to busy oneself  
eagerly with the action indicated by the stem"] but the value of  
their supporting evidence is practically zero. I myself don't find  
any justification for this extra reading into the text.
4. Similarly, you may look at the $IXET [with a taw] form of Genesis  
38:9 as a hint to recidivism, or you may consider it a guard against  
the reading $AXAT with a tet.
5. Evidently, piel is principally causative as in GIDAL, XIZAL, and  
so on. It is also used to create words with an extended, or implied,  
meaning distinct from the one in the paal form, for instance, BACAR,  
'reaped', and BICER, 'fortified'; or from a name, for instance ZANAB  
and ZINEB. This device is put to good use now in spoken Hebrew with  
the purpose of enlarging the vocabulary, for instance, $ATAQ, 'was  
silent', $ITEQ, 'paralyzed'; QAMAC, 'grasped', QIMEC, 'economized'.
6. It is conceivable that some of these piel forms were not  
"originally" there but were introduced by the nakdanim or their  
forerunners to embellish the reading.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jun 20, 2008, at 8:40 PM, David Kummerow wrote:

> And I presume that we take your own view, Isaac, with a bag of salt,
> given your characteristic mocking of a position in the place of any
> substantial critique.
> Regarding your previous post concerning the intensive function of the
> Piel, it has been shown that one of the functions of the Piel is  
> indeed
> that of verbal plurality (what was known by the pre-theoretical
> terminology of "intensive"). See the following:
> Fehri, Abdelkader Fassi. 2003. “Verbal Plurality, Transitivity, and
> Causativity.” Pages 151-185 in Research in Afroasiatic Grammar II:
> Selected Papers from the Fifth Conference on Afroasiatic Languages,
> Paris, 2000. Edited by Jacqueline Lecarme. Amsterdam Studies in the
> Theory and History of Linguistic Science 241. Amsterdam/Philadelphia:
> John Benjamins.
> Greenberg, Joseph H. 1991. “The Semitic ‘Intensive’ as Verbal
> Plurality.” Pages 577-587 in Semitic Studies in Honor of Wolf  
> Leslau: On
> the Occasion of His Eighty-Fifth Birthday, November 14th, 1991. 2  
> vols.
> Edited by Alan S. Kaye. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz.
> Of course, this is not the only function of the Piel as there is also
> the resulatative function of (generally) stative verbs; see:
> Jenni, Ernst. 1968. Das hebräische Pi‘el: Syntakisch–semasiologische
> Untersuchung einer Verbalform im Alten Testament. Zürich: EVZ-Verlag.
> Regards,
> David Kummerow.
>> Yitzhak,
>> 1. Anything said about the vocalization of ancient languages should
>> be taken with three grains of salt.
>> 2. Foreign rendering of Hebrew names should be taken with two grains
>> of salt as we don't know what they heard, where, and from whom.
>> 3. Unusual grammatical forms on isolated inscriptions should be taken
>> with a grain of salt as the scratcher may have been only semi  
>> educated.
>> Isaac Fried, Boston University
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