[b-hebrew] What exactly is the semantic overlap between רוח as (1) 'breathe, blow' and (2) 'to be wide, spacious'?

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Thu Jul 18 20:22:21 EDT 2013


Yes, I was wondering about the same kind of connection actually, Jonathan. But we just can't be sure. In any case, the warning against the etymological fallacy still stands.


GEORGE ATHAS
Dean of Research,
Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
Sydney, Australia

From: Jonathan Mohler <jonathan.mohler at gmail.com<mailto:jonathan.mohler at gmail.com>>
Date: Friday, 19 July 2013 5:24 AM
To: B-Hebrew <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org<mailto:b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>>
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] What exactly is the semantic overlap between רוח as (1) 'breathe, blow' and (2) 'to be wide, spacious'?

Give me some space, I can't breathe.

Everyone needs some breathing room.

George, I do agree with you that one needs to guard against the etymological fallacy.  However, in this case the connection between breathing and space/room/wide is both natural and persistent.  Even from a physical standpoint, a modern balloon is expanded by breath.  It might even be a universal connection as well: BReath and BReadth in English are both Bilabial-Liquid words (B-R or B-L in words like blow or flute); in Swahili Pua, nose and uPaNa, breadth/width, PuMua, breathe/take a rest.

Anyway, since there's no more room for comment, I won't breathe another word.

Jonathan Mohler
Baptist Bible Graduate School
Springfield, MO

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