[b-hebrew] HITPAEL as mutual action

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Apr 1 18:16:16 EDT 2009

What is possibly meant by "middle voice" is a case where the actor is  
not a "real" actor, for instance, HA-BASAR HIT-BA$EL BA-SIR,  
literally meaning 'the meat cooked itself in the pot'.
There is no question that WA-YIT-XAL of 2 Samuel 13:6, is 'and he  
made himself ill'. If )AMNON entirely faked and pretended (HIT- 
XAZAH), or if he aided the show with a draught of castor oil is not  
revealed to us, and is beyond mere grammar.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Apr 1, 2009, at 2:38 PM, Richard Benton wrote:

> Not all can be interpreted as reflexive.  One clear passive is Qoh  
> 8:10
> $kx.  A common use of the Hitpael is "act like" something, such as xlh
> in 2 Sam 13:5-6.  I wouldn't say that this would be a reflexive, but
> maybe more of a middle sense.
> I believe Russian has some -sya verbs that could not be translated as
> reflexive.
> For a definition of "middle" I refer to Suzanne Kemmer's (1993), "The
> middle voice."
> Richard Benton
> 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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