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Historical Linguistics of Biblical Hebrew An Outline*

Hebrew 298 Professor Ronald Hendel University of California, Berkeley Spring 2008

*Revised and abridged from handouts of Thomas O. Lambdin and John Huehnergard (Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University) Copyright 2008 Please do not cite without permission.

Preliminaries: The Semitic Language Family and Linguistic Reconstruction I. Phonology A. The Overlay of Phonological Systems 1. Alphabet 2. Matres Lectionis 3. Vowel Points B. Consonantal Changes 1. Unconditioned Changes 2. Conditioned Changes 3. Sibilants: Phonetic Changes 4 5 5

C. Vowel Changes 8 1. Original Long Vowels 2. Diphthongs 3. Original Short Vowels: Changes in Quantity (open and tonic syllables) 10 a. Preliminaries: Syllables and Stress b. The Chain of Changes Nouns, Finite Verbs with Pronominal Suffixes Finite Verbs 4. Original Short Vowels: Changes in Quality (closed syllables) 14 a. Three Laws Barths Law Qatqat > Qitqat Philippis Law b. Origins of Seghol (and Segholates) II. Nouns and Pronouns A. Grammatical Features 1. Case 2. Number and Gender 3. State 4. Definiteness B. Personal Pronouns and Pronominal Suffixes 1. Independent pronouns and subject suffixes (nominative) 2. Possessive suffixes (genitive) 3. Object suffixes (accusative) C. Other Pronouns (Demonstrative, Relative, Interrogative) 17 17



III. The Verbal System A. Semantics of the Qal Stem 1. Situation 2. Tense 3. Aspect 4. Mood B. The Proto-Northwest Semitic Verbal System: Qal Stem C. Vowel Classes of the Sound Root: Qal Stem D.. The Qal Stem of Weak Roots 1. I-Yod ()" 2. II-Waw/Yod (Hollow) ()" ," 3. III-Yod ()" 4. I-Nun ()" 5. I-Guttural 6. I-Aleph ()" 7. Geminate Roots ()" E. The Derived Stems 1. Semantics of the Derived Stems a. Situation b. Voice 2. Qal Passive (G-) 3. Niphal (N) 4. Piel (D) 5. Pual (D-) 6. Hiphil (C) 7. Hophal (C-) 8. Hithpael (Dt) 9. Polel/Polal/Hithpolel Appendix 1: Contraction Concordance Appendix 2: Cognate Consonants Selected Bibliography

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Preliminaries: The Semitic Language Family and Linguistic Reconstruction

figure: Semitic Language Family

Central Semitic innovations:

*qatala replaces perfective/preterite *yaqtul (vs. East Semitic) *yaqtulu replaces imperfective *yaqattal (vs. East Semitic and Ethiopian)

Linguistic Reconstruction house Akkadian Old South Arabic Ethiopic Arabic Ugaritic Hebrew Aramaic btum byt bet batun bt bayit bt

Changes case ending: u (nominative) mimation/nunation: final m/n contraction of diphthong: ay anaptyctic vowel: i spirantization: t

I. Phonology
A. The Overlay of Phonological Systems
1. Alphabet borrowed from Phoenician represents // and // 2. Matres Lectionis (immt haqqer) 10th cent. B.C.E: no matres lectionis (inscriptions, from Phoenician) 9th cent. B.C.E.: innovation of final matres (perhaps from Aramaic) waw for final yod for final he for final , , (for the latter, e.g. ) , 8th cent. B.C.E.: innovation of medial matres waw for internal , (from contraction of diphthong, aw > ) yod for internal , (from contraction of diphthong, ay > ) 6th - 5th cent. B.C.E.: revision of final matres waw for final , he for final , 1st cent. B.C.E. C.E.: baroque orthography internal matres used for short vowels in some scribal traditions (e.g., SP and Qumran) 3. Vowel Points (niqqd) , ca. 8th-10th cent. C.E., Masters of Tradition. The most elaborate (and eventually dominant) system: Tiberian Masoretes, esp. Aharon Ben Asher. Evidence for non-Tiberian phonology (HHL, ch. 4) Qumran Hebrew: matres lectionis in words like Samaritan Hebrew (reading tradition): madbar, bed, atti (2fs pronoun) Transcriptions in LXX, Origens Hexapla (secunda), Jerome, etc. = ; = ; = 2( ms suff.); = note also = Babylonian and Palestinian vocalization systems Note also pausal system, probably dialectal or historically earlier, or some combination.

B. Consonantal Changes
1. Unconditioned Changes *d and *z merge to z PS *daqin*zayt> > (d = , pronounced as in thy) Heb. zqn zayit old olive

*t and * merge to PS *talt*im> >

(t = , pronounced as in thigh) Heb. l m three name

N.B. and remain distinct phonemes in Hebrew, but were not distinguished in the alphabet (which was borrowed from Phoenician). *, *, and * merge to PS *ar*qay*idq> > > ( = emphatic d; and = emphatic t) Heb. ere qayi edeq earth summer righteousness

* and * merge to PS *almat*ayn> > Heb. alm ayin young woman eye

N.B. Greek transcriptions, e.g. = * and * merge to PS * ami* adat> > Heb. m d five new

Chronological notes. The interdental mergers (#1-3) are attested in the Canaanite languages of the first millennium B.C.E. The laryngeal/pharyngeal (guttural) mergers (#4-5) are attested in all of the NWS languages of the first millennium B.C.E., with some survivals (cf. Greek transcriptions).

2. Conditioned Changes Word-initial *w > y PS *wald- > PNWS *yaldPCS *wataba *yataba Exception: conjunction, wa-. N.B. The phonetic value of w > v in postclassical Hebrew. Cf. Greek transcriptions of as (Clement) and (Origen). It is still pronounced /w/ by most mizrai Jews. Assimilation of nun. *nC > CC PS *yantin *bint> PNWS *yattin > > *bitt > Heb. yittn bat let him give daughter > > Heb. yeled yab boy sit

Quiescence of alep in syllable-final position. The alep is preserved in spelling. PS *ra*an> > *r() *()n > > Heb. r() ()n head sheep

Note odd (hypercorrected) spellings in MT: *bir- > *b()r *dib- > *z()b *mud- > *m()d > > > ber zeb med well wolf very much

Syncope of intervocalic he and yod (syncope of yod = contraction of triphthong) *vhv2 > v2 *vya > *vyu > e *bahu (prep. + 3ms pron. suff) > *yuhaqtilu (Hiphil impf.) > *banaya *atiya *yitayu *yibniyu *adiyu *yibniyu > > > > > > bnh th yiteh yibneh deh yibn *bu *yaqtil he built he drank he will drink he will build field they will build > > b yaqtl

*vyv > v

But *ba + yad > beyd (preservation of morpheme boundary) Cf. Ugaritic and Phoenician bd Spirantization: b g d k p t develop postvocalic allophones (in Aramaic and Hebrew) PS *malk *anku > > Heb. melek nk king I

Chronological notes. Changes #1-2 are PNWS. Change #3 is before the Canaanite shift. Change #4 is 1st millennium NWS. Change #5 is post 6th cent. BCE, after Aramaic interdental shifts: *t (written with > )t and *d (written with > )d.

3. Sibilants: Phonetic Changes Original in was a lateral fricative [], pronounced like hl (cf. bem Greek balsam; kadim Akkadian kaldu), becomes [s] Original samekh was pronounced like [], as in check (Egyptian transcriptions) Original in was perhaps [s], as in Arabic, becomes [] In LBH, in and samekh coalesce to [s] (note graphic interchanges) ibblet vs. sibblet (Judges 12:6), probably [] vs. [], representing Cis- vs. Transjordanian dialectal pronunciations of in, prior to samekh > [s]

C. Vowel Changes
The original phonemic system in PS and PNWS has six vowels: long vowels: short vowels: a i u

1. Original Long Vowels Canaanite Shift: * > *talt*anku > > al nk three I




he builds, builder (pt.)

Chronological note. Begins in southern Canaan in Late Bronze Age. Found in Amarna letter from Jerusalem (a-nu-ki = /ank/), but not in other Amarna Canaanite dialects and not at Ugarit (a-na-ku = /anku /, in syllabic transcription). Original * and * remain and (generally marked in MT by matres lectionis).

2. Diphthongs: aw and ay *aw is retained as we when stressed (with addition of unstressed anaptyctic vowel to break up consonant cluster) *mawt > mwet death

but contracts to when unstressed *mawt > mt my death

*ay is retained as ayi when stressed (with addition of unstressed anaptyctic vowel to break up consonant cluster) *bayt *ayn > > bayit ayin house eye, spring

(N.B. change of quality in stressed *yC > -yC, vowel dissimilation *ssayk > sseyk your horses)

but contracts to when unstressed *bayt *ayn > > bt n my house my eye

N.B. Diphthongs always contract in Northern Hebrew (e.g., yn in Samaria Ostraca), similarly Ugaritic, Phoenician. N.N.B. The contraction of diphthongs led to the reinterpretation of medial waw and yod in traditional spelling as matres lectionis for and , which then became generalized and extended (to all o-type and i-type vowels) in spelling practice.

3. Original Short Vowels: Changes in Quantity (= open and tonic syllables) Because of stress or phonetic changes, original short vowels can be lengthened, retained as short vowels (although not always the same vowel as the original), or reduced to vocal ewa (or a ateph vowel). Vocal ewa is always the product of reduction. *a *i *u lengthened retained a,i,e i,a,e u,o reduced (to ewa or ateph vowel) e or , e or , e or

The initial situation includes the loss of final short vowels, a late 2nd or early 1st millennium NWS change: *dabaru *dabarma *kataba *anti > > > > PH PH PH PH dabar dabarm katab att word, thing words, things he wrote you (2fs)

N.B. This change entails the loss of the case system.

a. Preliminaries: Syllables and Stress In Biblical Hebrew, an unaccented short vowel can only occur in a closed syllable (CvC), e.g., midbr, sper. At the end of a word, a closed syllable will end without a vowel point, e.g. .In the middle of a word, however, the Masoretes felt a need to put a vowel point at the end of a closed syllable, even though there is no vowel pronounced. They used the same symbol as the symbol for vocal ewa, hence the birth of silent ewa, as in the middle of . The only confusing case is the qame. Since the qame can stand for short o or long , the only way to distinguish between the two is to know something of the history of the particular word, or to trust in the metheg, which almost always signifies that the qame is . The metheg is used fairly consistently in the Bible, but occasionally isnt used when it would be helpful, and so the best procedure is to know something of the word itself. For example, the only instance in which the sequence CCe turns up in a noun is before the 2ms suffix, as in , debrek, your word. Otherwise a consonant with a qame followed by a consonant and a ewa sign will always represent CoC in a noun form (including the infinitive construct when it is used as a noun, i.e., kotb, my writing). In verbs it is not that simple. This same grouping in a verb usually means CCe (, e kt b, for instance). Here, you just have to know, or you have to trust in the metheg. The ateph vowels are a problem, but a rule of thumb is to treat them (in the context of syllabification) as if they were regular ewas (sometimes vocal, sometimes silent). 10

A long vowel in an unaccented syllable can only be part of an open syllable in Biblical Hebrew. (There are only two exceptions to this: bttm, houses, and nn, ah please.) Accented syllables can take almost any form: Cv (rare), Cv, CvC, CvC. Stress in Biblical Hebrew is almost always on the final syllable (or ultima). (The previous syllables are the penultima and the antepenultima.) The stressed syllable is known as the tone or tonic syllable. The syllable preceding the tone syllable is the pretonic syllable, and the one before that is the propretonic syllable. Exceptions to final syllable stress are things like some pronominal suffixes (with anceps vowels), locative he, segholates, and some forms of weak verbs.

b. The Chain of Changes Nouns (including verbal nouns) and finite verbs with pronominal suffixes 1. Propretonic Syllable Propretonic reduction will take place wherever it can, i.e., wherever the propretonic syllable was a consonant plus an original short vowel. (Remember, original long vowels and diphthongs cannot reduce to ewa. Only original short vowels in originally open syllables are reducible.) Once propretonic reduction takes place, you must look at the original pretonic syllable. If it is a consonant plus an original short vowel (as in *dabarm and *zaqinm, below), we are left with an unaccented open syllable with a short vowel, impossible in Hebrew. The only two possibilities for such a syllable are reduction to vocal ewa and lengthening. If the syllable immediately preceding has already reduced to vocal ewa, as in the cases we are considering, the pretonic syllable must lengthen. (Two vocal ewas together in a word is an impossible situation.) *dabarm > *zaqinm > *katab + am > *debarm *zeqinm *ketabam > > > debrm zeqnm ketbm words, things old he wrote them

If propretonic reduction cannot take place (i.e. it is a closed syllable or a long vowel), see under pretonic reduction (below). N.B. In construct forms, assume that the tonic syllable is the first syllable of the following word. Propretonic reduction eventually goes to zero, not vocal ewa. *adaqat > *adqat > idqat righteousness of


*dabaray >




words of

(see further below, p. 14, *Qatqat > Qitqat) 2. Pretonic Syllable a. *a always lengthens pretonically. *dabarm > *kawkabm > *yila + im > debrm kkbm yilm words, things stars he will send them

Note that in *dabarm the original propretonic is reducible, while in *kawkabm and *yilaim the original propretonic is irreducible. b. *i and *u in an originally open syllable either lengthen or reduce pretonically, depending on the propretonic syllable. If the propretonic is reducible, *i and *u will lengthen pretonically. *daqinm *gadulm > > zeqnm gedlm old big

If the propretonic is not reducible, *i and *u reduce to ewa pretonically (unlike *a, as noted above). *yiktub + im > yiktebm *yintin + im > yittenm *madbit > mizbit he will write them he will give them altars



If there is no propretonic syllable, *i tends to lengthen, *u tends to reduce. *inab *gubla? > > nb gebal grape Byblos

But before an in the tone syllable, *i and *u generally reduce to ewa. *bukur *imr 3. Tonic syllable a. *a almost always lengthens under stress *dabar > *katab + am > dbr ketbm word, thing he wrote them > > bekr mr first born ass


Exceptions: Short *a is retained in monosyllabic nouns that originally ended in a double consonant. *amm > am people In the 1cs object suffix on verbs, *a does not lengthen. *qatala + n > qeln he killed me b. *i and *u also generally lengthen under stress. *yiktub + im > *kabid > *gadul > *imm > *uzz > yiktebm kbd (adj.) gdl (adj.) m z he will write them heavy big mother strength

Note that *i and *u lengthen even in nouns that originally ended in a double consonant, unlike *a (above) Finite verbs without pronominal suffixes 1. Pretonic Syllable In this category, it is the pretonic vowel which reduces whenever possible. This determines the quantity of the propretonic vowel. If the pretonic vowel can be reduced to ewa, it will, and the propretonic vowel will lengthen, if it can. *katab *yitib *yiktub *yintin > > > > *kateb *yieb yikteb yitten > > kteb yeb they wrote they will sit, dwell they will write they will give

But, if the pretonic syllable is not reducible (i.e., it is a closed syllable or has a long vowel), the propretonic vowel is reduced. *yudabbir *haqmt > > yedabbr he will speak hqmt I established e ( instead of wa because the h is a guttural)

If the pretonic is the first syllable in the word, the vowel is lengthened.


*hiqm > *yasubb > 2. Tonic syllable a. *a remains short *katab *yala

hqm ysbb

they established they will turn

> >

ktab yila

he wrote he will send

b. *i and *u lengthen under stress *yantin *yaktub *qaunt > > > yittn yiktb qnt he will give he will write I am/became small

N.B. The different changes in the finite verb vs. the noun and verbs with pronominal suffixes (i.e. verby vs. nouny words) probably derive from an original difference in stress position, which has become effaced (probably original antepenultimate stress in finite verbs).

4. Original Short Vowels: Changes in Quality (= closed syllables) a. Three Laws Barths Law (Proto-Central Semitic). Preformatives of imperfect/jussive vary according to theme vowel: *yaqtul, *yaqtil, *yiqtal. In Proto-Hebrew, *yaC- > yiC*yaktub *yantin > > *yiktub *yittin > > yiktb yittn

N.B. The original ya- is preserved in some weak root types: I-Guttural Geminate Hollow *yamudu *yasubbu *yaqmu > > > yamd ysb yqm vs. vs. *yizaqu > yezaq *yitammu > ytam

*Qatqat > Qitqat. In unaccented closed syllables, *a often becomes i. (Late change; not in Hexapla or Babylonian vocalization, e.g. Hexapla , ) *madbar *malamat *adaqat *dabaray > > > > midbar milmh *adqat > *dabr > (*maqtal nouns) (fem. *maqtalat nouns) (fs. construct of *qatalat) (mpl. construct of *qatal)

idqat dibr


N.B. Segholates lack the dibr-type form: *malakay > malk (not milk) probably due to the influence of forms like malk. N.B. The Rule of ewa (*CeCe > CiC), a synchronic rule, probably derives from a reanalysis and generalization of some *Qatqat > Qitqat forms, such as: *dabaray > *dabr > dibr

Dibr was at some point reanalyzed as deriving from *deber. This may be a reflex of the ms. construct debar (with propretonic reduction of the short a). Some such reanalysis led to the synchronic inference: *debe > dib, generalized as *CeCe > CiC. Philippis Law: *Philppi > Philppi In accented, originally closed syllables, *i often becomes *a. (Late change; not in Hexapla or Babylonian vocalization) *bint *kabdt *dibbrt > > > batt kbdt dibbrt

Exceptions to Philippis Law: mainly monosyllabic nouns, where a doubled consonant (or an original *nC > CC) was at the end of the stem word. *inz *imm *inn > > > z (not az) m (not am) n (not an)

N.B. Qatqat and Philippi are complementary: unaccented *CaC > CiC; accented *CC > CC; note that both are late changes.

b. Origins of Seghol (and Segholates) Segholates: *qatl, *qitl, *qutl The process of segholation (with e as the anaptyctic vowel) may be something like the following: *qatl *qitl1 *qitl2 *qutl *malk *qibr *sipr *qud > > > > *malek (anaptyxis) *qiber *siper *qude > > > > melek qeber sper qde (assimilation) (assimilation) (lengthening) (lengthening) cf. malk qibr sipr qod

Note the two different irreconcilable developments for *qitl.


Note the NWS mixing of qatl/qitl: malk/milk, ra/ri. Cf. weak roots *qayl *qawl *qity *qitG *qaGl *bayt *mawt *piry *zib *nar > > > > > bayit (anaptyxis with i) mwet (lengthening of a) per zeba naar

Influence of gutturals: *i often goes to e before or after a guttural or re in an unstressed closed syllable: *GiC > GeC; *CiG > CeG *izr *itml *yizaq *markabat > > > > ezr (cf. sipr) etml *yezaq > yezaq *mirkbh > merkbh

N.B. Echo vowels (ateph) often develop after a syllable-closing guttural Influence of liquids: *i > e in a stressed syllable before ll, mm, nn (liquids) *karmill *minmnn *katabtnna > > > karmel mimmnn ketabtn

*i > e when the accent is retracted (actually just allophone of i) *bin *yaim *yittin > > > bn (absolute) vs. ben (construct) ym (jussive) vs. wayyem (conv. impf.) yittn vs. yitten- (with maqqep)

Word-final *ayu and *iyu > e (syncope of intervocalic yod = collapse of triphthong, see above, p. 7) *yitayu *yibniyu *adiyu > > > yiteh yibneh deh


II. Nouns and Pronouns

A. Grammatical Features
The basic nominal inflection of PS and PNWS is approximately as follows: masc. nom. gen. acc. fem. nom. gen. acc. 1. Case (IBHS 8.1-2) nominative = subject of clause (malku halaka) genitive = after prepositions (la-malki); and nomen rectum of construct phrase: (baytu malki) accusative = direct object of clause (qaala malka) In the dual and plural, the genitive and accusative have a common set of endings, referred to as the oblique. 2. Number and Gender (IBHS 6-7) The distinction of number is a natural kind, as the distinction of gender in animals. Hebrew preserves some (very old) word pairs that distinguish natural gender: m and b; tn (she-ass) and mr (he-ass). At some point the distinction of natural gender was extended to a distinction of grammatical gender. The formal distinctions of number and gender in nouns (ms. *, fs. *at, mp.*, fp. *t) may derive, at least in part, from the subject suffixes on the predicate adjective (3ms. *, 3fs. *at, 3mp. *, 3fp. *; see below, B1). 3. State (IBHS 13) Mimation after a short vowel was lost early in NWS (but preserved in Amorite PNs). Mimation varies with nunation in NWS (Aramaic and Moabite have nunation). The malkatum malkatmi malkatim malkataymi malkatam malkataymi malaktum malaktim malaktim sing. dabarum dabarim dabaram dual dabarmi (~ ni) dabaraymi dabaraymi plural dabarma (~ na) dabarma dabarma


distinction between bound and unbound (i.e., construct and suffixed forms vs. absolute) was originally signaled by the presence or absence of these endings. bound ms. mp. mdual fs. fp. fdual dabaru (~ i,a) X dabar (~ X dabar (~ay) X malkatu (~ i,a) X malaktu (~ i) X malkat (~ay) X unbound dabarum (~ im, am) dabarma (~ ma) dabarmi (~ aymi) malkatum (~ im, am) malaktum (~ im) malkatmi (~ aymi)

This system persisted after the loss of mimation after short vowels, though some of the contrasts were lost. With the loss of final short vowels and the attendent loss of the case system, a new system of contrasts arose in Hebrew, signaled by differences of accentuation and vocalization. bound ms. mp. fs. fp. debar X dibr X malkat X malkt X unbound dbr debrm malkh melkt

The mp bound form is derived from the old masculine dual oblique bound form: *dabaray X > *dabr X > dibr X The fpl bound form with suffixes is doubly marked, with fp ending + dual oblique ending: *malakt + ay + n > malktn X The mpl. unbound form is derived from the old mp oblique form: *dabarma > *dabarm > debrm

4. Definiteness The contrast of definite vs. indefinite did not exist in PS or early NWS. It is a secondary development in Central Semitic: Canaanite (Hebrew, Phoenician) Classical Arabic: prefixed ha (+ junctural doubling) prefixed al-


Inscriptional Arabic: (Lihyanite, Thamudic): Aramaic: OSA:

prefixed h-, hnsuffixed -a suffixed n, -hn

These definite articles probably derive from demonstrative pronouns (Rubin 2005: 65-86): this (near deixis) PS *hanni > PCS *han that (far deixis) PS *ulli > PCS ul (cf. OB. annm, anntum)

(cf. OB ullm, Heb. lleh)

B. Personal Pronouns and Pronominal Suffixes

1. Independent pronouns and subject suffixes (nominative) (IBHS 16.2) independent pronouns PS 1cs 2ms 2fs 3ms 3fs 1cp 2mp 2fp 3mp 3fp *an *ank *ant *ant *h/u *h/i *nin *antum() *antin(n) *h/um() *h/in(n) Hebrew n nk atth att h h nan attem atten hm, hmmh (*hn), hnnh subject suffixes (on perfect) (originally on predicate adjective) PS *-k *-t *-t *-a/ *-at *-n *-tum() *-tin(n) *- *- Hebrew -t -t -t - -h -n -tem -ten - -

N.B. The notation , , indicates an anceps vowel, whose derived forms may be long or short. A syllable with a historical anceps vowel is usually not accented. Notes on Hebrew development:


1cs: Ugaritic has both an and ank. Classical Biblical Hebrew has both, LBH mostly n, Rabbinic Hebrew only n. The subject suffix -t (originally *-k) was probably formed by analogy with the -t of the 2ms and 2fs pronouns and the - of the 1cs pronominal object suffix. Ditto for the - of the 1cs independent pronoun, n/nk. 2ms: The writing suggests ktabt. At Qumran sometimes written . 2fs: Seven times written ,though pointed att. Occasionally the perfect is written with ,-though pointed -t (ktabt). 3fs: In the Pentateuch the pronoun is written eleven times, pointed ( a qer perpetuum). This is probably a textual problem of graphic confusion (.)/ The archaic forms and are found in Qumran texts (archaizing or dialectal). 1cp: Five times the form nan occurs. The initial probably derives by analogy with the 1cs n. In Jer. 42:6, is written (ketib), but is read as nan (qer). The form n is normal in Rabbinic Hebrew. 2mp: The form attem was formed by analogy with 2fp atten < *attinn. Similarly, the subject suffix -tem was formed by analogy with 2fp -ten < *-tinn. 2fp: attnh/attnnh occurs four times. 3mp: The form hmma was formed by analogy with 3fp hnn < *hinn. 3fp: Note the Rabbinic Hebrew form hn, which does not occur in BH. 2. Possessive suffixes (genitive) (IBHS 16.4) Possessive suffixes on the singular noun PS 1cs 2ms 2fs 3ms 3fs 1cp 2mp 2fp 3mp 3fp *-/-ya *-k *-k *-h *-h *-n *-kum() *-kin(n) *-hum() *-hin(n) Proto-Hebrew *- *-ak() *-ik() *-uh() *-ah() *-in *-kimm *-kinn *-am/-himm *-an/-hinn Hebrew - -ek -k or -k -h/ -h -n -kem -ken -m -n postvocalic - -k -k -h or w -h -n -kem -ken -hem or -m -hen


Notes on Hebrew development: 2s and 3s: Note the vowel harmony in the Proto-Hebrew forms, based on the three original case vowels, -a, -i, -u. 2ms: The MT spelling suggests the pronunciation -k (= pausal vocalization in MT, and as vocalized in the Hexapla). Cf. the frequent spelling in the Dead Sea Scrolls. 2fs: The biform -k occurs five times. 3ms: The older form -h (with final he mater) occurs over fifty times (e.g. .) The historical development of *uhu > (2ms) and *ah > (3fs) provides the probable origin of the use of he (by reanalysis) as a mater lectionis for final - and -. Later this dual signification was disambiguated by the use of waw as the mater for final -. 1cs: The final - was formed by analogy with the independent pronoun nan and the subject suffix -n. 2mp: The form -kem was formed by analogy with the 2fp -ken < *-kinn; cf. the parallel developments in the pronoun and subject suffix, above. 3mp and 3fp: The suffixes -m and -n must be the result of analogy among 3mp and 3fp object suffixes on the perfect: *qatalhum > *qatalm (reanalyzed as qatal + m)

*qatal : *qatala :: *qatalm : *qatalam after loss of final short vowels, *qatalam reanalyzed as *qatal + am Possessive suffixes on the plural noun The mp base form is the old dual oblique, *dabarayThe fp base form is the normal fp plus the dual oblique ending -ay, > *malaktay1cs 2ms 2fs 3ms 3fs Proto-Hebrew *-ay + ya *-ay + k *-ay + k *-ay + h *-ay + h Hebrew -ay -eyk -ayik -yw (-eyh in old poetry) -eyh


1cp 2mp 2fp 3mp 3fp

*-ay + n *-ay + kimm *-ay + kinn *-ay + himm *-ay + hinn

-n (cf. -n on singular noun) -kem -ken -hem/-m (cf. m on singular noun) -hen

3. Object suffixes (accusative) The object suffixes are equivalent to the possessive (genitive) suffixes on the noun, except for the 1cs, -n. Object suffixes on the perfect: postconsonantal after 3fs (at-) 1cs 2ms 2fs 3ms 3fs 1cp 2mp 2fp 3mp 3fp -n -ek -k -/-h -h -n -kem --m -n -n -k -ek -h/- -h -n -kem -am -an postvocalic (with 2fs t-; 2mp t-) -n -k -k -h/-w -h -n -kem -m -n

Object suffixes on the imperfect follow -- or -en(n)-. These were probably derived by analogy with III-Yod jussive and energic forms with object suffixes: *yabnih (jussive) *yabninh (energic) > > yibnh yibnnn (reanalyzed as yibn + h) (reanalyzed as yibn + enn)


C. Other Pronouns
1. Demonstrative pronouns (IBHS 17) zeh (rarely z), f. zt (rarely z) derive from PS *d (gen. *d, acc. *d), *dt lleh < *illay consists of the base ill-, found in Aramaic and Ethiopic, cf. Akkadian ullu and Arabic ulli rare: hallz, hallzeh, f. hallz 2. Relative pronouns (IBHS 19) aer is derived from *atr-, a noun originally meaning place. Cf. Aramaic atr, Akkadian aru, Arabic atru a (archaic) is related to Akkadian a, and ultimately to the pronominal base of the 3rd person *u-, *izeh, z, z (demonstrative pronouns) also function as relative pronouns e in LBH is a reduced form (grammaticalization) of aer 3. Interrogative Pronouns (IBHS 18) m (who) < miya (Amarna), cf. Ugaritic my mh (what) corresponds to Arabic m, Ugaritic mh


III. The Verbal System

A. Semantics of the Qal Stem
1. Situation (IBHS 22.2) The linguistic term, situation, while not entirely familiar to Semitists, covers a series of contrasts quite familiar, particularly that of dynamic (or fientic) vs. stative. Situation, as a linguistic category, refers to the inherent meaning of the circumstance signified by the verb. Situation is therefore a quality of the lexicalization of meaning. (Margins, 154) states are static, i.e. continue as before unless changed, whereas events and processes are dynamic, i.e. require a continual input of energy if they are not to come to an end. (Comrie, Aspect, 13) dynamic verbs in the Qal are either transitive or intransitive there are many other types of situation (often called Aktionsart or lexical aspect) see below, E.1a, for other dynamic situations in the derived stems 2. Tense (IBHS 20.2) The system of relative tense, as with any tense system, involves the relationships among three temporal points: that of the speaker or speech-act (S), the event (E), and the reference point (R). In this manner ... a tense does not situate a process in time, but rather orders it relative to a point of reference. (Margins, 158) dynamic stative Perfect relative past relative non-future Imperfect relative non-past (present/future) relative future

N.B. In CBH, participle is tenseless, with imperfective aspect 3. Aspect (IBHS 20.2) Aspect is concerned with the different ways of viewing the inner temporal constituency of a situation (Comrie), in contrast to tense which describes the temporal relations between an event, a speaker, and a reference point. The primary aspectual distinction that is grammaticalized in most languages is that of perfectivity vs. imperfectivity. In Bernard Comries formulation:

the perfective looks at the situation from outside, without necessarily distinguishing any of the internal structure of the situation, whereas the imperfective looks at the situation from inside, and as such is crucially concerned with the internal structure of the situation. Aspect is concerned with the differing perceptions of an event, either seen from without as a bounded whole (perfective) or seen from within as an unbounded process (imperfective). (Margins, 164) Perfect = perfective aspect Imperfect = imperfective aspect 4. Mood (IBHS 20.2) Mood is generally defined as involving the speakers attitude or opinion toward a proposition. The major contrast in mood is between the indicative (or declarative) and the modal, in which the former is unmarked for mood and the latter is marked. Like tense and aspect, mood is a key dimension of the grammaticalization of meaning, but differs functionally in that ... modality ... does not relate semantically to the verb alone, or primarily, but to the whole sentence. This feature is of particular significance for Hebrew, since there is in many cases no contrast of verbal for the semantic contrast of indicative vs. modal. (Margins, 169) modal includes two further distinctions: deontic modality (speakers will, e.g. wish, command, permission, obligation) vs. epistemic modality (speakers knowledge or opinion about a proposition, e.g. doubt, belief) and real vs. unreal The distinction between deontic and epistemic modality in CBH is clearly shown in the difference betwen the modal use of the Volitionals and the Imperfect. The Volitionals are specialized for deontic modality, expressing wishes, commands, and the like, while the Imperfect may be used for either deontic or epistemic modality. Where the two overlap defines the category of deontic modality; where they diverge defines epistemic modality. (Margins, 170) In CBH the Perfect is used to indicate unreality in both deontic and epistemic modality. For deontic modality this includes wishes and requests. For epistemic modality this includes conditions and some kinds of questions. (vs. real, expressed by Imperfect and Volitionals) (Margins, 172)


B. The Proto-Northwest Semitic Verbal System: Qal Stem

Suffix conjugation Perfect: *qatvla v = a, i, u (= theme vowel)

Prefix conjugations Imperfect: *yaqtulu, *yaqtilu, and *yiqtalu (pl. -na) Jussive/Preterite: *yaqtul, *yaqtil, and *yiqtal (pl. -) Volitive: *yaqtvla, etc. Energic: *yaqtvlanna or yaqtvluna or yaqtvlinna, etc. Imperative: *qutul, *qitil, *qatal (energic: *qutulanna) Participles (or verbal adjectives) Active participle: *qtilStative participle (or predicate adjective): *qatil-, qatul-, qatalPassive participle: *qatl-, qatlInfinitives Infinitive absolute: *qatlInfinitive construct: *qatl- (bound form) or *qitl-, *qutl-

Notes on the Hebrew development: 1. The preterite *yaqtul was replaced by the perfect *qatala in most positions. It was retained, however, in past tense narrative after the conjunction wa-, the so-called converted usage: *wayyaqtul. 2. *yaqtul was also retained as the jussive, as may be seen in contrasts such as yqm (*yaqmu) / yqm (*yaqum) 3. The volitive form is preserved only in the cohortative of the 1st person (eqtelh, niqtelh). It forms with the jussive what may be termed the volitive or injunctive paradigm, and owing to this fusion, jussive and cohortative forms are interchangeable in most constructions, including converted usage in past tense narrative. 4. The formal distinction between the jussive and the imperfect in inflection has been lost, except for some weak forms (see 2, above). The optional -n in Hebrew is derived from the imperfect form. 5. The -nn- appearing before the pronominal suffixes of the imperfect is probably to be taken back to the energic forms (see previously under pronominal suffixes). In view of the phenomenon of junctural doubling, we must posit a close relationship in pre-Hebrew between the energic and the volitive, i.e., naqtulanna (reanalyzed as) naqtula + na > niqtelh nn


a process which led to the isolation of the particle n. 6. The converted perfect in a future or habitual (i.e. imperfective) sequence is probably the result of several distinct forces: a. The perfect was originally not a verb but a predicate adjective or stative participle (qatil, qatul, qatal). The original meaning is still clear in the stative verbs (like kbd, zqn) and others related to them semantically (like zkar, yda), where the perfect often requires a present tense translation in English. b. The perfect was used in PNWS (at least) in both protasis and apodosis of conditional sentences (with reference to future time, at least from the reference point of the utterance). c. A kind of reverse analogy seems necessary to account for the converted perfect sequences of Hebrew. Thus, given the ambiguity of the perfect mentioned in (a) and (b) above, the sequence qatala wa-yaqtul apparently engendered its opposite yaqtulu wa-qatala where the perfect takes on not only the future function of the imperfect, but even its habitual past function (i.e. imperfective aspect), a meaning which was originally totally alien to the perfect (which has perfective aspect).

C. Vowel Classes of the Sound Root: Qal Stem

Vowel class refers to the patterned variation in the second (theme) vowel of the perfect and imperfect. On the preformatives of the imperfect/jussive, see Barths Law (p. 14). dynamic verbs *(a,u) *qatala, *yaqtulu *kataba *yaktubu > > ktab yiktb

The main dynamic type. *(a,i) *qatala, *yaqtilu *natana *yantinu > > ntan yittn


This originally common type became extinct in Hebrew with the exception of ntan/yittn and the types yab/yb, m/ym. Other *(a,i) verbs were reanalyzed as Hiphil. *(a,a)1 *qatala, *yiqtalu *lamada *yilmadu > > lmad yilmad

A very small original class, also kab/yikab and rkab/yirkab. Several weak roots tend to fall into this class. stative verbs *(i,a) *qatila, *yiqtalu *kabida *yikbadu > > kbd yikbad

The main stative type. As a result of Philippis Law (kbdt > kbdt), many of these went to *(a,a)2 *(u,a) *qatula, *yiqtalu *qauna *yiqanu > > qn yiqan

A small stative class. According to Arabic and Akkadian, may have originally been *(u,u). *(a,a)2 *qatala, *yiqtalu *gadala *yigdalu > > gdal yigdal

A small stative type, including original *(a,a), *(u,a), and *(i,a). The original*(i,a) class shows up frequently in pausal or presuffixal forms (or perhaps the result of analogical mixing): gdal, but gedlan (presuffixal) qrab, but qrbh (pausal) gbar, but gbr (pausal)


D. The Qal Stem of Weak Roots

1. Roots I-Yod ()" Main vowel classes dynamic *(a,u) *waara > *yawuru > *yawur *wataba *yatibu *yatib *tib *tibt *wadaa *yada*da *dat > > > > > > > > > yar *yaur > *yiur > yir *yiir > yier yab *yitibu > *yitib > b ebet yb yeb (imperative) (infinitive construct) (perfect) (imperfect) (jussive)



yda *yida- > yda da daat

stative *(i,a) *waina *yiwan*wian? > > > yn *yiyan- > yan yean

1. All but a few of these verbs were originally I-Waw; the change of #w- > #y- is PNWS. 2. Verbs originally I-Waw fell into two groups already in PS: (a) those having root allomorphs without the initial w- and (b) those without this allomorph. This root allomorphism, e.g., wtb ~ tb, is extremely old (attested in Egyptian) and the reason for it cannot be determined. The root allomorph without initial w- is preserved in forms such as *yatib- (not *yawtib-) and *tib (not *witib), etc. 3. The *(a,u) type above has an unusual development in the imperfect, where *w > . The assimilation of waw to a following dental is probably Proto-Semitic. Other originally *(a,u) verbs were interpreted as Hiphil, e.g. jussive *yawsup > *yawsip > ysep, but perfect ysap (Qal). 4. The imperfect/jussive contrast is preserved in the *(a,i) type: yb/yeb (and wayyeb).


5. Note that the infinitive construct of the type ebet is originallly a feminine segholate noun (*qitl), *tibt > ebet. 6. The verb hlak falls in with the main I-Yod type *(a,i): hlak, ylk, lk, leket. 7. The verb ykl (was able) probably derives from the *yaqtul preterite of khl, *yakhul > ykl, and reanalyzed as a perfect. The imperfect ykal probably derives from the Qal passive *yukhal. 2. Roots II-Waw/Yod (Hollow) ()" ," Main vowel classes dynamic *(a,u) *qama *yaqmu *yaqum *qm *ama *yamu *yaim *m *baa *yabu? > > > > > > > > > > qm yqm yqm (wayyqom) qm m ym ym (wayyem) m b yb


*(a,a)1 stative *(i,u)

*mita *yamtu *yamut *bua *yibu

> > > > >

mt ymt ymt (wayymot) b yb


1. The immediate antecedents of the two main types in Hebrew *(a,u) and *(a,i) are often adduced as an argument for biconsonantal roots in PS, but because these same roots are treated as triconsonantal in East Semitic and elsewhere, no economy of reconstruction is gained by adopting a biconsonantal theory. Note that the vowel contrast of imperfect/jussive is explicable as a result of contractions in triconsonantal roots (see below, #3).


2. It appears that all *(a,u) verbs are from roots II-Waw and all *(a,i) verbs are from roots II-Yod. But the survival of other vowel classes (regardless of the middle consonant) suggests a more normal distribution at an earlier state of PS. 3. The triliteral theory requires that the prefix conjugation types *yaqmu/*yaqum, *yamu/*yaim, etc., arose from such forms as *yaqwum-, *yayim-, etc., which contracted differently in open and closed syllables: II-Waw imperfect *yaqwumu > jussive *yaqwum > *yaqmu *yaqum II-Yod *yayimu *yayim > > *yamu *yaim

The perfect also shows differences in vowel length, presumably deriving from differing contractions: *qawama > Hebrew *qama, Arabic qma, Aramaic *qma, Ethiopic qma Note that *awa should contract to * (see p. 7); it contracts to *a in Hebrew perhaps by analogy with the sound root *qatala. In view of these differing forms, a triliteral theory with contractions is preferable to a biconsonantal theory. 3. Roots III-Yod ()" Main vowel classes dynamic *(a,i) *banaya *yabniyu *yabniy *bini > > > > bnh yibneh yiben (wayyiben) benh

stative *(i,a) *bakiya *yibkayu *yibkay > > > bkh yibkeh ybk (wayybk)

1. Hebrew has leveled through a single paradigm for both original vowel classes. The imperfects converge in form, since both *iyu and *ayu > e. This provides a trigger for the mixing of perfect forms. In the perfect, note that the -- in bnt, -t, -t, -n, -tem, and ten reflect the original *(i,a) class (*bakiyt > bkt).


2. The 3fs perfect has an extra feminine suffix, probably by analogy with the sound root 3fs perfect (qtelh < *qatal + at). This extra suffix preserves the distinction with the 3ms perfect (bnh): 3fs *banayat > *banat + at = banatat > bneth Note that *aya should contract to * (see p. 7); it contracts to *a perhaps by analogy with the sound root 3fs *qatalat. 3. The contrast between imperfect and jussive is maintained from PS: imperfect *yabniyu jussive *yabniy > > yibneh *yibni > *yibn > yben

But note that a few verbs do not have anaptyxis in the jussive, e.g., ybk; yt. 4. As noted previously, the object suffixes on the imperfect in Hebrew derive from the IIIYod jussive and energic forms: *yabnih (jussive) *yabninh (energic) 4. Roots I-Nun ()" Main vowel classes dynamic *(a,u) *napala *yanpul*nupul *nagaa *yinga*naga *natana *yantin*nitin > > > > > > > npal yippl nepl nga yigga ga ntan yittn tn > > yibnh yibnnn (reanalyzed as yibn + h) (reanalyzed as yibn + enn)



1. In the *(a,a)1 class the imperative and infinitive construct have assimilated to the I-Yod type. See below (#3) for this analogy. imperfect yb yigga imperative b ga infinitive construct ebet geet


2. lqa has assimilated to the *(a,a)1 class of I-Nun roots in the imperative and infinitive construct: imperfect imperative infinitive construct e yiqqa qa (also l qa) qaat 3. In general, the I-Nun, I-Yod, and geminate roots show considerable mixing. I-Nun I-Yod Gem. imperfect yigga yiq ysb/yissb ytam/yittm imperative ga aq/yeq sb infinitive construct geet eqet sebb/sb tm

The secondary forms probably derive from analogies, perhaps triggered by the unusual yiq type (see above, Roots I-Yod, #3, and below, Geminate Roots, #4).

5. Roots I-Guttural Main vowel classes dynamic *(a,u) *amada *yamud*umud > > > mad yaamd amd

stative *(a,a)2 *azaqa *yizaq*izaq > > > zaq yeezaq azaq

1. The difference in the vowels of the prefix conjugations reflects the original contrast of verbal prefixes (Barth-Ginsberg): *yamud-, yizaq-. The initial ayin prevented the normal assimilation of ya- > yi-. 2. The plural types yaamd and yeezq have been affected by a variant of the Rule of Shewa, in which the ateph changes into the corresponding short vowel, e.g.,*CaCe > CaC: *yamud > *yaamed > yaamd *yizaq > * yeezeq > yeezq 3. The I-et forms vary in their use of ateph vowels, e.g., yeezaq, yekam (both *a,a), and yaml, yab, yaalm (all *a,u). One also finds variation within a root, e.g.,


yaalm but yalem. For other I-Gutturals, note yahapk but ehpk, yaazor but wayyazer, etc. 4. The I-Guttural roots with III-Yod preserve the *ya/*yi contrast in the prefix conjugations as well as the imperfect/jussive contrast: *(a,i) *(i,a) imperfect jussive imperfect jussive *yaliyu *yaliy *yirayu *yiray > > > > yaaleh yaal (wayyaal) yeereh *yir > yiar (wayyiar)

6. Roots I-Aleph ()" Main vowel classes dynamic *(a,u) *asara *yasur*usur > > > sar yeesr esr

stative *(i,a) *ami *yima*ama > > m yeema ema

1. I-Aleph roots are a subdivision of I-Guttural. The *(i,a) imperfect yeema is substantially identical to yeezaq. 2. The *(a,u) imperfect yeesr (3mp yaasr) involves a peculiar rule associated with aleph and the following -- (< *u): the disappearance of the -- by reduction produces a reversion to the I-Guttural type, yaasr yaamd. The imperfect yeesr was probably reformed on the basis of the imperative esr. Hence, for the imperfect: *yasur > *yasr yeesr. 3. The weak *(a,u) type, with quiescent aleph in the prefixed forms: imperfect *yamuru jussive *yamur > > *y()muru > *y()mur > *ymuru > ymar *ymur > *ymir > wayymer

The change of *ymur- to ymar (imperfect) and *ymir (jussive) is dissimilatory, avoiding two -- vowels in sequence (*ymr). Cf. the infinitive construct, lmr.


7. Geminate Roots ()" Main vowel classes dynamic *(a,u) *sababa *yasubb*subb? > > > sbab ysb sb

stative *(i,a) *tamima *yitamm> > *tamma ytam > tam

1. The perfect has a linking vowel -- < * after the geminated consonant and before a subject suffix with a consonant (i.e. 1st and 2nd person forms): sabbt, sabbt, sabbt,... sabbn, sabbtem/ten tammt, tammt, tammt,... tammn, tammtem/ten. This is probably related to the -- linking vowel in the Akkadian pars--ta, and in some Arabic dialects. 2. The distinction between sbab and tam points to a different treatment of *a as opposed to *i, *u in C2vC2v sequences: *sababa > sbab *tamima > *tamma > tam 3. In the imperfect the geminated consonant gave rise to a reformation of the vocalic pattern, where C2vC2 > vC2C2: *yasbub*yitmam> > *yasubb*yitamm> > ysb ytam

4. There are several I-Nun type biforms in the imperfect (see above, I-Nun): ysb and yissb ytam and yittm and yittam (probably originally a Niphal) The imperative sb may have triggered this analogy: ga : yigga :: sb : yissb


E. The Derived Stems

1. Semantics of the Derived Stems a. Situation To the extent that verbs of the derived stems have a semantically predictable relationship to one another and to the simple (Qal) stem, they may be schematized as follows: Situation of Qal 1. 2. 3. Stative Dynamic-intransitive Dynamic-transitive Factitive/Resultative Piel (factitive [= dynamic]) Piel (resultative) Hiphil (transitive) Hiphil (doubly trans.) Causative

Factitive = a construction in which a cause produces a state Causative = a construction in which a cause produces an event (IBHS, 691) Resultative = the bringing about of the outcome of the action designated by the base root (IBHS, 400) This scheme is somewhat idealized and does not include a large number of verbs arising from other less clear derivational processes. Some examples of this scheme: 1. Qal stative ml (be full) dn (be fat) Qal intransitive b (come) npal (fall) Qal transitive bar (break) zrh (scatter) Qal transitive kal (eat) nhal (inherit) Piel (factitive, dynamic-trans., +1 argument) mill (fill, make full) din (fatten, make fat) Hiphil (causative, transitive, +1 argument) hb (bring, cause to come) hippl (cause to fall) Piel (resultative, transitive) ibbr (make broken, smash) zr (make scattered, disperse) Hiphil (causative, doubly transitive, + 1 argument) heekl (feed, cause X to eat Y) hinl (cause X to inherit Y)




In this model the Hiphil is associated with transitive and intransitive dynamic verbs, and the Piel with stative verbs and dynamic-transitive verbs. This is statistically so, but secondary use of these forms has tended to erase these original distinctions. That is, Hiphil forms are fairly common from stative roots (in which case Piel and Hiphil are virtually synonymous). Many Piel forms from dynamic roots are denominative, de-adjectival, or


de-participial cf. brk (passive participle) and brk (Piel) and are fairly easy to distinguish from the original group. b. Voice (IBHS 21.2) active Qal Piel Hiphil medio-passive Qal passive and Niphal Pual Hophal reflexive Niphal Hithpael Hithpael

Although the real system is far from clear, in early Semitic there were at least three ways to express the medio-passive of a corresponding active verb: (1) the internal passive (Qal Passive, Pual, Hophal); (2) the forms with prefixed -t-, designated Gt (Grundstamm), Dt (doubled), and Ct (causative; of which only the Hithpael survives in Hebrew); and (3) the form with a prefixed -n-, designated N, apparently only derivable from the G verb. Notes on these three types: 1. Internal Passive. It is possible that the internal passives were originally merely the stative form of a dynamic transitive verb, and only secondarily did the active and passive forms split into two independent systems. 2. Forms with prefixed -t-. It is probable that every dynamic transitive verb, whether G, D, or C, had corresponding -t- forms, expressing the reflexive/reciprocal or middle meaning of the verb. In Aramaic and Ethiopic these -t- forms took over the role of the passive, with the complete loss of the internal passive. In Arabic, Akkadian, and to a lesser extent Hebrew, the -t- forms remain distinct from the passive system, but their function in each language is somewhat different. 3. The N verbs, on the other hand, seem definitely to be associated with the G verb. They are probably originally part of the G system, and their full inflection too may be a secondary development. It is possible that the N form originally produced a dynamic intransitive verb relative to a dynamic transitive verb, and that the coalescence with the medio-passive/reflexive systems above was secondary. In Hebrew the Qal passive became obsolete, surviving forms being taken by the grammarians as Pual or Hophal. The Niphal, while retaining its old role as an intransitive verb, also took over the function of the passive. The three -t- forms, Gt, Dt, and Ct became obsolescent as derived forms, but survived in a merged type, Dt (Hithpael), as isolated lexical items. To judge from the popularity of the Hithpael in post-biblical Hebrew, it is likely that it had a more vigorous existence in other dialects of Hebrew during the early phases of the language.



Qal Passive (G-) (IBHS 22.6) perfect imperfect *qutala *yuqtal > > quttal (should be qtal) yuqtal

The perfect form with reduplication of the second consonant is probably the result of misconstrual as a Pual . (Cf. forms like sbab which were reinterpreted as Polal, see below, # 9.) Note that the imperfect falls together with the Hophal. Some examples are: perfect imperfect luqqa, yullad, ukkal, hrag yuqqa, yuttan, yuqqam (nqm)

Many Niphal imperfects in the earlier books are probably Qal Passive imperfects, e.g., ywld (yllad), pointed yiwwald. Eventually the Niphal subsumes the semantic role of the Qal Passive (see above).


Niphal (N) (IBHS 23) perfect imperfect jussive imperative *naqtala *yanqatilu *yanqatil *inqatil? > > > > niqtal yiqqtl yiqqtl hiqqtl

The change in the perfect from *naqtal to niqtal is apparently due to the *qatqat > qitqat dissimilation. The change of the prefix vowel in the imperfect from *yaC to yiC is probably a generalization of the Barth-Ginsberg change of *yaC > yiC in the Qal. The imperative form with initial h- is probably formed by analogy with the Hiphil imperative: H jussive: imperative :: N jussive : imperative *yaqtil : *haqtil :: *yiqqatil : *hiqqatil


Piel (D) (IBHS 24) perfect imperfect jussive imperative *qattila *yuqattilu *yuqattil *qattil > > > > *qittil > qittl yeqattl yeqattl qattl

The earliest form of the perfect cannot be reconstructed with certainty; Arabic and Ethiopic suggest *qattala, while Hebrew and Aramaic suggest *qattila. The best solution is that


*qattala > *qattila by paradigmatic leveling of -aC1C1i- from the imperfect *yuqattilu. The change from *qattil > *qittil is obscure (*CaCCiC > CiCCiC). Note the influence of Philippis Law in the 1st and 2nd person perfect forms: *dibbirt > dibbart, etc. In II-Guttural roots (including re in this instance), compensatory lengthening is normal with re, aleph, and usually ayin, since these consonants do not double. So-called virtual doubling is common with he and et: *barrika *aita > > *birrika *iita > > *birik > brk it (virtual doubling)

5. Pual (D-) (IBHS 25) perfect imperfect *kuttaba > *yukuttabu > kuttab yekuttab

Note that roots II-Guttural show the same variations between compensatory lengthening and virtual doubling as the Piel: *burraka > *burak > brak


Hiphil (C) (IBHS 27) perfect imperfect jussive imperative *haqtila *yuhaqtilu *yuhaqtil *haqtil > > > > *hiqtil *yaqtil *yaqtil haqtl > hiqtl (not hiqtl) yaqtl (not yaqtl) yaqtl

The first problem here is the same as the Piel: Arabic and Ethiopic suggest a base form *haqtala for the perfect, while Hebrew and Aramaic suggest *haqtila. Probably *haqtala > *haqtila by the influence of -aCCi- from the imperfect *yuhaqtilu. The change from *haqtil > *hiqtil is obscure, as in the Piel (*CaCCiC > CiCCiC). Note that the *ha- of the perfect is preserved in I-yod roots: hld < *hawlida. The major problem is, of course, the long vowel -- in the perfect hiqtl and the imperfect yaqtl. The only possible source for this is by analogy with the Hiphil forms of Hollow roots (II-waw/yod), e.g., hqm/ yqm: perfect imperfect jussive *haqma *haqimt *yuhaqmu *yuhaqim > > > > *hiqm *hiqimt *yaqm *yaqim > > > > hqm hiqamt (Philippi) > hqamt yqm yqm


Note the alternation between -- and -i- in the Hollow forms; this is original with this system, the long vowel occurring in open syllables and the short vowel in closed syllables (see above). At some point in the development of the Hiphil of sound roots, the following analogical changes took place: 1cs perfect : 3ms perfect :: 1cs perfect : 3ms perfect *hiqimt : *hiqm :: *hiqtilt : *hiqtl 3ms jussive : 3ms imperfect :: 3ms jussive : 3ms imperfect *yaqim : *yaqm :: *yaqtil : *yaqtl Note that the distinction between languages with H-causative vs. -causative corresponds to the distribution of 3rd person pronouns with h or *hua vs. *ua, etc. (see p. 19). 7. Hophal (C-) (IBHS 28) perfect imperfect *huqtala > *yuhuqtalu > hoqtal yuqtal

Note that the initial vowel in the perfect alternates between u/o. 8. Hithpael (Dt) (IBHS 26) perfect imperfect jussive imperative *hitqattila *yatqattilu *yatqattil *hitqattil > > > > hitqattl *yitqattil *yitqattil hitqattl > > yitqattl yitqattl

The perfect and imperative forms were probably originally *taqattila and *taqattil, which would yield *taqattl. The forms with initial h- were probably reformed by analogy with the Hiphil jussive : imperative (cf. the development of the Niphal imperative). H jussive : imperative :: Ht jussive : imperative *yaqtil : *haqtil :: *yitqattil : *hitqattil Note the generalization of Barth-Ginsberg, *yaC > yiC, in the imperfect, as in the Niphal imperfect. Note the metathesis with a root beginning with a sibilant, *hitammira > hitammr, and the metathesis plus assimilation with a root beginning with an emphatic, *hitaddiqa > hiaddq (t > ), or a dental, *hitzakkira > hizdakkr (tz > zd). The form hitaaweh is probably not originally a Hithpael, but a t of wy.


9. Polel/Polal/Hithpolel The equivalent of Piel/Pual/Hithpael from hollow and geminate roots. perfect imperfect Polel qmm yeqmm Polal qmam yeqmam Hithpolel hitqmm yitqmm

Either a retention of an old stem type otherwise unknown, or generated by reanalysis and analogy in relation to the Qal Passive: Qal Passive *subaba *yusabbu > sbab *yusubab > yesbab

The imperfect *yusabb- probably changed to yusubab by analogy with the perfect *subab. With the demise of Qal Passive, sbab, yesbab were reanalyzed as new passive stem, the Polal. The active Polel was generated by analogy with Polal (and the of the Polel imperfect by analogy with tone vowel of the Piel). The reflexive Hithpolel was generated similarly. Hollow roots were drawn into this paradigm by mixing/analogy with geminate roots.


Appendix 1: Contraction Concordance

Triphthongs (with he, yod) [see p. 7] *vhv2 > v2 *vya > *vyu > e *bahu > *yuhaqtilu > *banaya *atiya *yitayu *yibniyu *adiyu *yibniyu > > > > > > > *bu *yaqtil bnh th yiteh yibneh deh yibn > > b yaqtl

*vyv > v

N.B. *ba + yad

beyd (preservation of morpheme boundary)

Diphthongs (with waw, yod) [see p. 9] *aw > we when stressed: *mawt > mwet *aw > when unstressed: *mawt > mt *ay > ayi when stressed: *bayt > *ay > when unstressed: *bayt > bayit bt death my death house my house > sseyk your horses

N.B. change of quality in stressed *yC > -yC: Old Contractions in II-Waw/Yod verbs [see p. 31]


*wu > in originally open syllable: *yaqwumu > *yaqmu *wu > u in originally closed syllable: *yaqwum > *yaqum *yi > in originally open syllable: *yayimu > *yi > i in originally closed syllable: *yayim > *yamu *yaim

*awa > a: *qawama > *qama (perhaps by analogy with *qatala) *iyi > i: *iyima > *ima


Appendix 2: Cognate Consonants









p b m

t d t d t d t d t d t d t d t d t d

s z s z s z s z

k g q k g q k g q k g q

h h h h h h h h

l n r l n r l n r l n r l n r l n r l n r l n r l n r

Akk. p b m Ug. p b m

d/ / z z

Heb. p b m Ph. p b m

s z /s k g q k g q k j q k g q k g q

Aram. p b m Arab. f b m Eth. f b m

t[] d[z] [] [q] s z s z z s z s s z s s z

OSA p b m

N.B. Old Aramaic graphemes are indicated by brackets [x], prior to the consonantal mergings of later Aramaic dialects. N.B. For some clarification of the sibilant situation, see p. 8.


Selected Bibliography
Bauer, H., and P. Leander, Historische Grammatik der hebrischen Sprache des Alten Testamentes. Halle: Niemeyer, 1922; rpt. Hildesheim: Olms, 1962. Lambdin, Thomas O., and John Huehnergard, The Historical Grammar of Classical Hebrew: An Outline. Cambridge, Mass., 1998. Unpublished course handout. Senz-Badillos, Angel. A History of the Hebrew Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. [HHL] Waltke, Bruce K. and Michael OConnor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990. [IBHS] Preliminaries Garr, W. R. Dialect Geography of Syria-Palestine: 1000-586 B.C.E. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1985; rpt, Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2004. Huehnergard, John. Features of Central Semitic. Pp. 155-203 in Biblical and Oriental Essays in Memory of William L. Moran, ed. A. Gianto. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 2005. Phonology: Sibilants Faber, Alice. Semitic Sibilants in an Afro-Asiatic Context. JSS 29 (1984) 189-224. Hendel, Ronald. Sibilants and ibblet (Judges 12:6). Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 301 (1996): 69-75. Steiner, Richard. The Case for Fricative-Laterals in Proto-Semitic. New Haven: American Oriental Society, 1977. Phonology: Original Short Vowels Blake, Frank R. Pretonic Vowels in Hebrew. JNES 10 (1951) 243-55. Garr. W. R. Pretonic Vowels in Hebrew. VT 2 (1987) 129-53. Phonology: Three Laws Hasselbach, Rebecca. The Markers of Person, Gender, and Number in the Prefixes of G44

Preformative Conjugations in Semitic. JAOS 124 (2004) 2335. Blake, Frank R. The Apparent Interchange Between a and i in Hebrew. JNES 9 (1950) 76-83. (Qatqat > Qitqat) Lambdin, Thomas O. Philippis Law Reconsidered. Pp. 135-45 in Biblical Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry, ed. A. Kort and S. Morschauser. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1985. Nouns and Pronouns Fox, Joshua. Semitic Noun Patterns. HSS 59. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2003. Rubin, Aaron. Studies in Semitic Grammaticalization. HSS 57. Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005. Verbs Hendel, Ronald. In the Margins of the Hebrew Verbal System: Situation, Tense, Aspect, Mood. Zeitschrift fr Althebraistik 9 (1996) 152-81. Huehnergard, John. Hebrew Verbs I-w/y and a Proto-Semitic Sound Rule. Pp. 457-74 in Memoriae Igor M. Diakonoff, eds. L. Kogan et al. Winona Lake: Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005. Jenni, Ernst. Das hebrische Piel. Zurich: EVZ-Verlag, 1968.