[b-hebrew] HITPAEL as mutual action

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Apr 1 09:49:32 EDT 2009

It is not fully clear to me what "reflexive" means, but in spoken  
Hebrew HITPAEL is used even for an action performed via an agent, for  
instance HISTAPER, 'he trimmed his hair', said even if done by a  
barber. I think that the mutual sense of HITPAEL is due to the modern  
view of the biblical HITXATEN, seen as a perfectly symmetric affair  
between the bride and the bridegroom.
One of the reasons I am discouraged by Russian is the complexity of  
it words such as pereglyaduvatsya..

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Apr 1, 2009, at 6:22 AM, Vadim Cherny wrote:

> The problem only exists in English linguistic mentality. In  
> Russian, the verb is perfectly reflexive, "pereglyaduvatsya," to  
> keep looking at one another.
> hitpael is always reflexive. Now, a reflexion can aim at oneself  
> (hitlabesh) or at each other (your examples).
> Vadim Cherny
> Isaac Fried wrote:
>> It appears to me so too, that HITPAEL is reserved for an act done  
>> by an actor upon himself, but then there is the example of TIT-RA)- 
>> U of Genesis 42:1, brought by Jason, and also WA-YI-TRA)-U PANIM,  
>> 'faced each other, looked one another in the face', of 2 Kings  
>> 14:11. Is, in light of this supposed nature of HITPAEL, the  
>> literal translation of WA-YI-TRA)-U, 'each showed his own face (to  
>> the other)'? Is there a case in the Hebrew bible where HITPAEL, in  
>> the singular, can be construed as a mutual (HADADI) action? Is HIT- 
>> XATEN such an example?
>> As I said, spoken Hebrew has HIT-XABEK, 'he was engaged in hugging  
>> someone who hugged him back',  which is by now fully entrenched  
>> and even condoned.
>> Isaac Fried, Boston University
>> On Mar 31, 2009, at 7:40 PM, Vadim Cherny wrote:
>>> IMO, all instances of hitpael in Hebrew are reflexive: doing  
>>> something to someone or, more specifically, to cause someone to  
>>> cause something. That is the only plausible interpretation of the  
>>> suffix ht = hh, two casuatives (double hiphil, so to say).
>>> That sense of reflective action is obfuscated in translation  
>>> because equivalent English words lack the sense of reflexion, but  
>>> I venture that careful examination shows such sense for every  
>>> hitpael.
>>> Vadim Cherny
>>> Isaac Fried wrote:
>>>> In present day Hebrew the BINYAN of HITPAEL is often used for  
>>>> mutual action, for example, HIT-XABQ-U, 'they embraced, XBQ,   
>>>> each other'. Is there an instance of similar usage in the Hebrew  
>>>> bible?
>>>> Isaac Fried, Boston University

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