[b-hebrew] ANY=HU

Nir cohen - Prof. Mat. nir at ccet.ufrn.br
Wed Nov 14 23:24:59 EST 2012


michael, isaac,

it seems that the issue of your emails is whether 
HU is a pronoun or a verb.

1. it may be defended that hebrew does not have verbs in present tense.
more precisely, verbs in present tense and nouns/adjectives/pronouns 
cannot be easily distinguished. in ANY OVED the word OVED is both "work(v)" 
and "a worker(n)".

2. indeed, hebrew TO BE is expressed by the verb HYH, but only in 
past and future, where its function is mainly limited to the tense:

כִּי-הָיָה רְכוּשָׁם רָב gen 13:6.

granted, this verb exists also once in present tense [ KY YD YHWH HWYH BMQNK
(from memory)]; but this is considered an exception. 

3. lets examine 

 כִּי אִשָּׁה יְפַת-מַרְאֶה אָתְּ. gen 12:11         אֲחֹתִי אָתְּ ibid 13.

i admit that AT (in principle, a pronoun) may be interpreted here
(linguistically) as a verb, namely, the present tense 2nd sing fem of HYH,
and not (just) as a pronoun. anyway, due to item 1, in hebrew this 
distinction is a very minor one.

4. in some cases, the problematics of the present tense hebrew verb 
may create a dilemma. compare the two phrases:

           you, god           vs             you are god.

both should, in principle, be translated into old hebrew as ATAH HAELOHYM, 
given that a comma was not used (if we assume no verb TO BE in present tense
exists). in these cases, a pronoun was used as a verb to distinguish 
between the two options. 

again, as above, it is also possible, on the other hand, to interpret 
HU here as a verb in present tense.

5. however, we must recognize that the use of HU where a verb TO BE is
expected is not the rule but the exception. compare with

אָנֹכִי הָאֵל, gen 31:13, 46:3   (no HU as in ANY HU HAELOHYM)

וְהָאֲנָשִׁים רֹעֵי צֹאן, gen 46:32 (no HEM) כִּי-תוֹעֲבַת מִצְרַיִם, כָּל-רֹעֵה צֹאן ibid 34 (no HI)

 שִׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי, אַחִים--כְּלֵי חָמָס, מְכֵרֹתֵיהֶם gen 49:5 (both versicles, no HEM)

 נַפְתָּלִי, אַיָּלָה שְׁלֻחָה      בֵּן פֹּרָת יוֹסֵף gen 49:21-22 (no HU)

 כָּל-אֵלֶּה שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל gen 49:28

etc etc etc. with this in mind, it becomes more difficult to accept 
HU/HEM as a verb (in modern hebrew it more frequently used in this 
capacity).

6. gen 31:16: 

  כִּי כָל-הָעֹשֶׁר, אֲשֶׁר הִצִּיל אֱלֹהִים מֵאָבִינוּ--לָנוּ הוּא, וּלְבָנֵינוּ

again, HU may be interpreted as a verb in present tense. but again we can
recognize that the HU serves an emphatic purpose, as the word order was
changed: HU LANU to LANU HU).

---------

7. the entire discussion (if HU is a pronoun or a verb) has gone a long way
from isaac's original (and absurd) argument, (which i forgot already), on the
initial and final T in TAKLYT. i hardly see any connection between the two issues.

nir cohen


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list