[b-hebrew] $ADAI

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Thu Mar 27 11:48:01 EDT 2008

On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 5:27 PM, Jim Stinehart wrote:
>  Yitzhak Sapir:
>  On this $ADAI thread, you wrote:
>  "On Thu, Mar 27, 2008 at 9:24 AM, Isaac Fried wrote:
>   > It is conceivable that the ending -AI as in XALON-AI, 'windows', of
>   >  Jeremiah 22:14 is indeed a remnant of a pluralization method by a
>   So far so good.  For more information read and follow up the pdf here:
>  _http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2007-November/034593.html_
>  (http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/2007-November/034593.html) "
>  On another thread, Pere Porta and I have been discussing (1) the word
>  shin-dalet-yod (which, if the Masoretic pointing added in the Middle Ages were
>  accepted, would I guess come out as $ADAI), and (2) the word sin-resh-yod (Sarah's
>  birth name, which pursuant to the Masoretic pointing is transliterated into
>  English as "Sarai"), and (3) the word sin-resh-yod (Pharaoh's top officials at
>  Genesis 12: 15).
>  Pere Porta and I would greatly appreciate it if you would analyze the yod
>  ending of those three words.
>   Yitzhak Sapir, do you see "an archaic feminine suffix" in any of these
>  words?

Please look at the above message, and the referenced book, available online:
http://oi.uchicago.edu/pdf/saoc60.pdf (p. 151 - in the pdf)
"External Plural Markers in Semitic: A New Assessment"
footnote 41 on p. 158 of the pdf (130 in the book)
footnote 52 on p. 160 of the pdf (132 in the book)
last paragraph on p. 162 spanning into p. 163 (134-135 in the book)
also the last paragraph on p. 163 (135 in the book)

It is therefore reasonable that -y is indeed an archaic feminine
suffix, displaced
in most feminine forms by analogy and surviving in restricted contexts.  It is
sound, linguistically.  It would be nice to understand the exact mechanics of
the analogies involved but it seems it was a very ancient development and we
may not have yet reconstructed Afro-Asiatic or Semitic to the point that we can
offer the necessary explanations for the analogy.  Note that it may also have
served as an abstract ending (and note that standard classes of abstract nouns
in Hebrew are generally feminine).

Yitzhak Sapir

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