Hebrew verbal forms, בניינים

Classical Hebrew morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
Forum rules
Members will observe the rules for respectful discourse at all times!
Please sign all posts with your first and last (family) name.
Post Reply
Isaac Fried
Posts: 1694
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Hebrew verbal forms, בניינים

Post by Isaac Fried »

As this topic was debated here recently, I thought I will summarize it as I see it.
בניין קל
is so called as it is devoid of any attached personal pronouns PP, which are added separately in a sentence, say
יצחק אכל בננה "Isaac ate a banana."
Here יצחק is the performer (the actor) of the act אכל, while the בננה is the beneficiary of this act.
in the sentence
יצחק קפא "Isaac froze", יצחק is the beneficiary of the natural act קפא. (Seems to me that קפא, 'freeze', is a variant of קבע, 'fix'.)
The qal form appears also in an agglomerated form such as
ויברא = בא-היא-ברא
in which three words fused together in fluent speech.

בניין פִּעֵל
Has at least one internal PP היא for the performer of the act. Because of the xiriq under the first radical, the second radical is with a dagesh in it. This dagesh is a historical vestige, and has, in my opinion, no structural function in the verbal form.
I suspect that the tsere under the second radical is a hint for a lost second xiriq, or a פִּעִל form with two internal PP היא, a first for the actor, and a second for the beneficiary of the act. For instance,
גִּדֵּל = ג-היא-ד-היא-ל, 'cultivated'
as in
יצחק גִּדֵּל מלפפונים "Isaac cultivated cucumbers".
Some claim to see in the פִּעִל form reference to a "stronger" or "theatrical" or "repeated" kind of action. I don't recognize this extra meaning embedded in this form. I see no difference in meaning between the שָׁבַר of Isaiah 14:5
שָׁבַר יהוה מַטֵּה רְשָׁעִים שֵׁבֶט מֹשְׁלִים
KJV: "The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers"
and the שִׁבֵּר of Ex 9:25
וְאֵת כָּל עֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה הִכָּה הַבָּרָד וְאֶת כָּל עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה שִׁבֵּר
KJV: "and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field"
The different verbal forms are possibly due to some parallel development, in different places and at different times, of the Hebrew language.
Some verbs are prefered in the פִּעִל instead of the qal form, such as דִּבֵּר, 'spoke'. Also, Hebrew, in constant quest for new words, changes the בניין to slightly shift the meaning, for example, קָשַר, 'tied', but קִשֵּר, 'connected', שָמַר, 'guarded', but שִמֵּר, 'preserved', חָשַב, 'thought', but חִשֵּב, 'calculated' .
More to come.

Isaac Fried, Boston University
Isaac Fried
Posts: 1694
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Hebrew verbal forms, בניינים

Post by Isaac Fried »

בניין פֻּעַל
contains the internal PP הוּא for the beneficiary of the act. Because of the qubutz under the first radical, the second radical comes with a dagesh inside it. This dagesh is a mere historical vestige, and has, in my opinion, no structural function in the verbal form.
For example
הכסף שֻלַּם "the money is paid"
The פֻּעַל form is similar to the פָּעוּל form, as in
יצחק חָמוּד "isaac is cute"
where חָמוּד = חמ-הוּא-ד, with the internal הוּא referring to the person or thing possessing the property חמד

בניין הִפְעִיל
Comes with an external initial היא for the performer of the act and an internal היא for the beneficiary of the act. For example
יצחק הִשְלִים את עבודתוֹ "Isaac completed his work.
Note that שִלֵּם is 'paid', but הִשְלִים is 'completed'. Similarly, הִשְתִּיק is 'silenced', but שִתֵּק is 'paralyzed'.
The sentence
יצחק הִשְמִין "isaac became fat"
implies that Isaac himself is here at fault.
More to come.

Isaac Fried, Boston University
Isaac Fried
Posts: 1694
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Hebrew verbal forms, בניינים

Post by Isaac Fried »

בניין הֻפְעַל
Comes with the external initial PP הוּא for the beneficiary of the act. Because of the qubutz under the first radical, the second radical may come with a dagesh inside it. This dagesh is a mere historical vestige, and has, in my opinion, no structural function in the verbal form.
For example
יצחק הֻלְבַּשׂ "Isaac is dressed up"
where הֻלְבַּשׂ = הוּא-לבש, with an opening הוּא referring to יצחק. The act לבש does not come in a פִּעֵל, פֻּעַל or נִפְעַל form.

בניין נִפְעַל
comes with an external initial PP נִי, as in אני, for the beneficiary of the act.
For example
יצחק נִרְדַם "isaac fell asleep"
The act רדם does not come in a פָּעַל, פִּעֵל, פֻּעַל or הִתְפַּעֵל form.
ניתוּח בהרדמה מלאה is "operation under general anesthesia".
רָדוּם = רד-הוּא-ם is, 'sleepy'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University
Isaac Fried
Posts: 1694
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: Hebrew verbal forms, בניינים

Post by Isaac Fried »

בניין הִתְפַּעֵל
comes with an initial external PP היא, then with a following את. I think that the tsere under the second radical is a hint for a xireq, or another PP היא, namely, a root with the chain of היא-את-היא PPs, the actor acting upon himself. For example
יצחק הִתְלַבֵּש "Isaac dressed himself", namely הִתְלַבֵּש = היא-את-לב-היא-ש.
Addition of an end PP to clarify the initial היא brings a patax instead of a tsere, as in
הִתְלַבַּשְתָּ = היא-את-לבש-אתה "you dressed yourself".
Note the distinction between the פיעל and the התפעל
יצחק חיבק את רבקה "Isaac hugged Rebecca"
and
יצחק התחבק עם רבקה "Isaac and Rebecca hugged", otherwise יצחק ורבקה התחבקוּ, with התחבקוּ = היא-את-חבק-הוּא, where the last הוּא stands for the pair.
The dagesh in the ב of הִתְלַבֵּש is for the preceding patax. This dagesh is a mere historical vestige, and has, in my opinion, no structural function in the verbal form.
See more here: https://he.wiktionary.org/wiki/התפעל

Isaac Fried, Boston University
Post Reply