[b-hebrew] Piel or "stative usage of verb"

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 09:51:18 EDT 2009


On Thu, Oct 8, 2009 at 12:47 PM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com> wrote:

> vayyixtov Gerry
> the distinguishing mark of a "pi``el" verb in a Semitic language is not its
> semantic context but its phonetic shape. It is the vowel-consonant pattern
> the marks the word, and if the writing system doesn't show that,
> -- well, that's too bad.
> When a person speaks Arabic,
> or Hebrew, or Aramaic, a verb's binyan is recognized by its phonetic shape,
> not by it's subjective "intensivity". And when a written unvocalized
> text is read
> out loud by a competent speaker/reader, one hears the correct vowels in the
> correct places. how does one read
>  מה בקשת ma biqqash-ta?
> As a pi``el   because that is what the verb is.
> There is no option to read a qal pattern.
> Thus, an alleged intensive context does not make p.l.s. a pi``el
> as opposed to another binyan,   but its internal identity.
> Did a qal or hif`il ever exist in the history of the language?
> If not, then t.p.l.s. should/would be read as a pi``el   tefalles.
> If two different words/usages are known to exist,
> like mana 'counted' and
> minna 'appointed',
> then the context would help someone to read and to correctly vocalize an
> ambigous written form.
> But to say that a context seems 'intensive', therefore the verb "appears"
> to
> be a pi``el is not the way that Hebrew or any Semitic language works.
> E.g., if vaydabber referred to a person replying timidly, or speaking
> softly,
> the verb vaydabber 'and he spoke' remains a pi``el because that is what the
> word is. It does not change binyan from pi``el because of the lack of
> the intensity
> in its context !
> and the reverse of this is that it is incorrect to argue that a
> context is intense,
> therefore the verb is a pi``el.
> braxot le-Hag sameaH
> Randall Buth
> --
> Randall Buth, PhD
> www.biblicalulpan.org
> randallbuth at gmail.com
> Biblical Language Center
> Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

Your answer seems to indicate that qal and piel are merely different
conjugations, similar to the -a and -e conjugations in Spanish, which, other
than form, have no intrinsic meaning. Do I read you right?

One evidence for that is that verbs that are found in qal are almost never
found in piel and visa versa, and where they are found in both, usually the
exceptions are rare, usually rare enough that they could have been copyist
errors or misunderstandings.

Even your example above of “mana” and “minna” could have been a later
tradition, seeing as in Biblical Hebrew it had the force of “to assign by
number, to allot” in qal, with an overlap of meaning between the qal and
piel forms, enough so that in Biblical Hebrew it could have been all qal.

Do I read you right? Or do you claim that there is an intrinsic meaning to
the different binyanim? If so, what?

Karl W. Randolph.

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