[b-hebrew] dagesh in hebrew

James Spinti JSpinti at Eisenbrauns.com
Mon Apr 25 08:37:03 EDT 2011


Isaac insists on throwing out all the comparative data from other
Semitic languages. Once that is done, you can create any system you
wish. He also throws out any historic Hebrew evidence that doesn't fit
his theory. 

Suffice it to say that Isaac position has not been accepted by most (I
would say any, but there might be someone who has, but I am not aware of
any) Semiticists.

Just to address one of his objections: The evidence for Akkadian
gemination comes from over 2 millennia of thousands of texts, along with
word lists in Sumerian-Akkadian, Ugaritic-Akkadian, Hittite-Akkadian.
There is a great deal of consistency--far too much to explain away. If I
were to use Isaac's logic for Hittite (for example), I could assume that
Hittite only had short vowels and no doubling of consonants. Of course,
that would be unique among Indo-European languages, but...if I throw out
all comparative evidence, I can say what I want.

James Spinti
Marketing Director, Book Sales Division
Eisenbrauns, Good books for more than 35 years
Specializing in Ancient Near Eastern and Biblical Studies
jspinti at eisenbrauns dot com
Web: http://www.eisenbrauns.com
Phone: 574-269-2011 ext 226
Fax: 574-269-6788 

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Isaac Fried
Sent: Saturday, April 23, 2011 9:53 PM
To: Nir cohen - Prof. Mat.
Cc: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] dagesh in hebrew

1. "Akkadian" is a reconstructed language for which we have no means  
of independently appraising the veracity of the claims made about it,  
and we should, methinks, leave it out here.

2. "proto-semitic" is a polite way of saying long, long ago.

2. The dagesh, in $IBER, is, in my opinion, an ancient cue for the  
xirik under the letter $, and nothing more. Upon the introduction of  
the NIKUD the dagesh became redundant, yet the NAKDANIYM left it in  
place out of respect for its antiquity, and so it is left there to  
bewilder us as to its purpose.

3. There is no "gemination" today, and there is no evidence that it  
ever existed in Hebrew. The Hebrew language functions perfectly well  
without it. I don't believe that a dot was inserted into a Hebrew  
letter to instruct the reader to double it in his mouth. For what?

4. A missing expected dagesh means, methinks, that the NAKDANIYM  
deviated from the reading of the DAG$ANIYM before them, for instance,  
BI$TIY of Lev. 13:48, that may not have had a xirik under the letter  
B at the time of the DAG$ANIYM. The subterfuge of a "floating", schwa  
invented to explain away this anomaly is as silly as that of the  
schwa "NA", and schwa "NAX".

4. I would not trust too much the books on "canaanite".

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Apr 23, 2011, at 10:41 AM, Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. wrote:

> dear isaac,
> as a non-specialist i made a small search on the
> internet and found some material
> on the phenomenon called gemination which includes all the
> dgeshim in all the languages. there is fascinating stuff on
> the development of gemination in akkadian and later in other
> semitic languages.
> just a small example: in tigrinya, SEBERE is (as expected) to break.
> the repetitive form of SEBERE is SEBABERE, repeating the B twice.
> the closest in hebrew would be the piel: $YBR with (yes) dagesh.
> so, dagesh is indeed related to doubling and undoubling of consonants,
> that is, unless you reject all extra-hebrew ties.
> this is connected with the D-stem gemination in semitic which is
> documented already in akkadian.
> conjecture: in proto-semitic repetition was expressed by repeating  
> the word:
> $BR-$BR. by assimilation, this was shortened to SB-BR, then a  
> clever person
> invented the dagesh.
> it seems that the dagesh in hebrew was originally used for BGD-KFT  
> only,
> where it is really absoluely necessary. then later diverted for  
> other uses
> (gemination).
> gemination in canaanite would make it even more natural to accept its
> existence in biblical hebrew. unfortunately i did not find easy  
> access to
> written material on canaanite, except for some video tapes on the verb
> system. but i am sure canaanite also had geminaion and D-stem.
> Rainey wrote some books on canaanite, and so did NJC Kouwenberg
> and E Lipinski. these last two books are available (in mutilated
> but usable form) on the internet.
> maybe a specialist on the b-hebrew can explain the issue further.
> nir cohen
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