[b-hebrew] third person

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Wed Nov 14 21:25:34 EST 2012

Hi Nir,

On Wed, 14 Nov 2012 10:33:10 -0300, "Nir cohen - Prof. Mat." <nir at ccet.ufrn.br> wrote:
> isaac,
> ET in hebrew is a preposition (similar to MIN, EL, (AL, LIFNEY etc)
> and a marker for direct object, and as such it is not specified for
> gender or number. it is the same ET for everybody.
> now, AT, ATAH, HEM etc is a personal pronoun, and is specified for
> both gender and number.
> i think you confuse the two. now, i admit that it is logical to see
> the pronoun as linguistically derived from the preposition
> (precisely by gender and number speciation). thiere is room for much
> speculation here.
> probably, H* was used as the primordial semitic 2nd and 3rd pronoun,
> from which we still have in hebrew HU, HI, HEM, HEN.

It's not universal in Semitic - e.g., Akkadian has forms for the 3rd
personal pronouns beginning with <sh-> rather than <h->.

> the question of ATAH, AT, ATEM, ATEN is less understood. one would
> like to conjecture a dative origin (thus, ATAH is ET-H*) for them,
> which became nominal later; but then there is the problem of the
> truly hebrew dative forms (OTKhA, OTAKh etc).  here, the situation
> is less clear.

I don't think it's tenable to derive (e.g.) אתה (/'atta:/) from את + הו
(/'e:t/ + /hu:/).  The pronoun /atta:/ corresponds to forms in other
Semitic languages that have an internal /nt/, such as the Arabic form
ﺍﻧﺖ (/'anta/), whereas forms such as אתי (/'o:ti:/) pretty much exclude
the possibility of the preposition /'e:t/ having an original /nt/.  (We
would expect to see a form with a daghesh in the taw if that were so.)

Will Parsons

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