[b-hebrew] Passive Qal

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Jul 2 11:07:14 EDT 2013


But how accurate is that tradition?

The only thing that can be reliably said about the Masorectic points is
that they reflect a tradition as it existed at a time a millenium after
Biblical Hebrew ceased to be a natively spoken language, after the grammar
changed from the Biblical pattern to a tense based grammar, and after
changes in pronunciation. How many of the points reflect the Masoretic
understanding of grammar instead of the original grammar? How much did the
tradition change over that millennium? How accurate is that tradition?

For example, one question that has been in the back of my mind for many
years: what was the difference in meaning between Qal and Piel binyanim?
What are the contextual clues that would have signaled to a pre-Babylonian
exile reader to recognize when one or the other was used? Was Qal
originally the sign of the perfective aspect, and Piel imperfective aspect?
Do not the uses of the participles, where Piel/Pual are recognizably
different from Qal, give clues that Piel is used for continuous or repeated
actions, while Qal for one time actions? If so, how many Qals were
incorrectly pointed as Piels by the Masoretes and visa versa, based on
their understanding of grammar as it existed during the Masoretic period?

As a result, I take the Masoretic points as commentary, albeit ancient
commentary, but no better than commentary, and all commentary is to be
taken with a grain of salt.

Which brings back my question: when the Yiqtol conjugation is used with
Lamed-He verbs has identical consonantal spellings for all binyanim except
the Hitpael, how do you *know* which binyan was used for this verb?

Karl W. Randolph.

On Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 2:13 AM, Petr Tomasek <tomasek at etf.cuni.cz> wrote:

> On Tue, Jul 02, 2013 at 01:09:40AM -0700, K Randolph wrote:
> > Bryant:
> >
> > Two thoughts come to mind:
> >
> > 1) in the Yiqtol conjugation, in an unpointed text, there are no
> > differences between the Qal, Niphal, Piel, Pual, and hophal for regular
> > verbs. So how do you know which binyan was used for this verb?
> But we have a pointed text which goes back to quite reliable
> massoretic oral tradition...
> Petr Tomasek
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