[b-hebrew] Different binyan, same meaning?

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Jul 4 09:34:09 EDT 2012

1. "binyan" is a, blanket, all encompassing guideword to designate a  
Hebrew root enmeshed with personal pronouns for the actors of the  
deed of the root.

2. I think that "originally" the different binyanim corresponded to  
distinct parallel developments of the Hebrew language, but that  
later, as the language got amalgamated and absorbed them, they were  
seized upon to expand the language and shade the meaning of the act.  
For example, $IYLEM, 'paid', versus HI$LIYM, 'completed, accepted'.

3. "meaning" is a delicate thing and may depend on our distinct  
understanding (funny word this "understand") of the surrounding  
circumstances. Some people claim that they understand the piel form  
$IYBER of Ex. 9:25 as referring to a "strong" or repeated action,  
while some dismiss this as an illusion.

4. The Hebrew verb is a state, how it got to be such belongs to the  
expounding imagination and the science of "realistics". The niph'al  
form starts with the personal pronoun NI. Who is, or are, this NI? In  
the qal form we contextually understand that NI-DBAQ means 'we (will)  
cling', for the act DABAQ. In the niph'al form NI-$BAR, for example,  
means 'it (the body under consideration) is broken'. Is NI-$BAR  
inherently different from $ABUR, with an internal U=HU? I don't think  

4. Yet, when I hear about a a person that is נאחז NEEXAZ I  
understand (as I know what is "going on") that the person is  
consciously holding himself. For fish, NEEXAZIYM (the suffixed IYM is  
a condensed HEM, 'they', methinks) merely means (as I observed  
fishermen netting fish in the sea) that they just get caught.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jul 4, 2012, at 1:04 AM, Pere Porta wrote:

>  In Ecc 9:12 we have a niph'al participle concerning fishes caught  
> in the
> net and we have a qal passive participle concerning birds caught in  
> the
> trap.
> Namely we have "(she)neeHazym" and "(ha)aHuzot" respectively.

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