[b-hebrew] HITPAEL as mutual action

Richard Benton rcbenton at wisc.edu
Thu Apr 16 18:07:17 EDT 2009

Dear George,

Yes, it sounds like you see my point.  In the past, some authors have 
jumped from this observation to the idea that the Hitpael is reflexive, 
but you can't make that leap necessarily.  Often languages make clear 
distinctions between the middle and the reflexive, even though they are 
related.  (Slavic languages, such as Russian, do so, as well as others 
on every continent.)  Furthermore, often the middle overlaps with a 
passive function, and we see this in Biblical Hebrew.  (IBHS lists some 
good examples.)

Richard Benton

George Athas wrote:
> Good observations, Richard. Your distinction between the Qal and Hitpael of HLK is very illuminating, and shows that the Hitpael is more interested in the subject being the host of the action (i.e. Subject is the locus where the action occurs).
> Regards,
> Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
> www.moore.edu.au
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