[b-hebrew] Syntax of ts-r-r

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Fri Nov 14 08:16:48 EST 2008


On Fri, Nov 14, 2008 at 12:19 AM, Phil King wrote:

> I am trying to get an accurate picture of the meanings of verb forms derived from the root ts-r-r,
> with particular attention to the syntactic frames they occur in. Both BDB and TDOT list this root
> as appearing in transitive and intransitive frames. I'm particularly trying to get to grips with the
> syntactic frames like 'tsar liy' in which the person experiencing distress appears as an
> argument prefixed with the preposition l.  My understanding is that here tsar is an intransitive
> verb with an impersonal third person masculine subject governing verb agreement, and the
> experiencer of the 'emotion' given in a prepositional phrase. As such it is similar to ch-r-h
> in frames like wayichar lo. Is this a normal way of describing the syntax here, or is there a
> better way? A friend has described this to me as 'reduced transitivity', but I don't know if that
> is accepted terminology for Hebrew verbs, or if there is other terminology commonly used.

I think as a phrase, the term is to be understood as a noun,
"distress," or at best a
participle.

As a verb, the phrase "wayyicer l-Y X" is to be understood X was a
distress to Y.  For
example, Isaiah 49:20.  The verb is conjugated according to X even
when X is not
explicitly mentioned, as in Judges 10:9 (X = mlxmh, war) or 1 Sam 30:6
(X = (yr,
city).  Given this verbal connotation, there are probably instances of
cr that should be
read as an infinitive.  Thus, for example the verb xgg has the
infinitive "xog" as in Zech
14:16-19.  Prov 26:8 may suggest a different infinitive ("caror",
rather than "cor"), but
the reading of Prov 26:8 could be read differently (reading ?bn as a
collective, and
"crwr ?bn" as a noun chain).  In any case, it is possible that later
the loss of this
infinitive form, and the presence of the phrase in participle form
("car li"), meant that
the infinitives *bacor li were reinterpreted as *bacar li, given the
current vocalization.
The phrase also appears with a feminine crth and crh in Jonah 2:3 and Ps 120:1.

Yitzhak Sapir



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