[b-hebrew] cancellable dynamicity

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Jul 1 22:02:56 EDT 2009


On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 5:56 PM, Yitzhak Sapir<yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 2, 2009 at 1:54 AM, K Randolph wrote:
>> Yes it does. Here it is unfortunate that we are using grammatical
>> terms derived from Indo-European languages, as there is a misfit
>> between how the term applies to Into-European languages, and how it
>> does not fit Biblical Hebrew use. Even a fairly cursory view of
>> Biblical Hebrew shows that many of the “nouns” used in the Bible are,
>> according to their form, verbal “participles”. One example I gave is
>> “spokesperson” Genesis 42:23.
> No, Karl.  They are participles.  You may call them "nouns" but their
> view in Hebrew is consistent throughout.  It's not that in one place they
> are used as verbs and in another as nouns.

I am being cautious—some of the uses appear to be the same as
participles, and some as nouns. The example in Genesis 42:23 even has
a definite article prefixed to it. It is standard noun usage.

Likewise I see Exodus 15:8 as a noun, not a verb.

>  In all places they are used
> as participles, and in so doing, express functions of both grammatical
> classes.  You may need, in order to conform to English syntax,
> grammar, or usage, to choose one particular grammatical function
> in translation -- as you are doing in "melic" above, but this limitation
> means that the translation loses part of the original Hebrew meaning
> which carries both of these functions with it in all uses.  To take a
> different participle in Gen 42:23, $m( could be translated either as
> "and they didn't know that Joseph is listening" or "and they didn't
> know that Joseph is a listener."  The Hebrew unites both translations
> and is really not either/or, but both of them at once.
“And they did not know (Qatal) that Joseph listened (Qatal) for the
spokesperson [was] between them.”

> Yitzhak Sapir

Right now I’m willing to live with a certain amount of fuzziness in
understanding, but if you insist that I choose one side or the other,
I would say that in Biblical Hebrew a participle = noun, hence not to
be treated as a verb. But while I recognize that the majority of
participles appear to be nouns, enough of them seem to act as
participles that I admit to a certain amount of fuzziness.

It looks that this is a case where we should agree to disagree, at
least for the moment.

Karl W. Randolph.

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