תַּעַבְדוּן Ex. 3:12, יִשְׁמְעוּן Ex. 4:9. "Paragogic" nun

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Isaac Fried
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תַּעַבְדוּן Ex. 3:12, יִשְׁמְעוּן Ex. 4:9. "Paragogic" nun

Postby Isaac Fried » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:10 pm

One way Hebrew verbally relates the actor to his action is by adding his name at the end of the root, say:
שָמַעְתִּי = שמע-אתי, 'I heard', with the obsolete אתי for אני, 'I', to avoid confusion with שמעני = שמע-אני, 'he heard me'. Thus:
שָמַעְתָּ = שמע-אתה, 'you (M) heard'.
שָמַעְתְּ = שמע-את, 'you (F) heard'.
שָמַע, 'he heard'. With nothing affixed.
שָמְעְה = שמע-היא, 'she heard'.
שָמַעְנוּ = שמע-אנוּ, 'we heard'.
שְמַעְתֶּם = שמע-אתם, 'you (plural M) heard'.
שְמַעְתֶּן = שמע-אתן, 'you (plural F) heard'.
שָמְעוּ = שמע-הוּא, 'they heard'.
The curt last form שָמְעוּ = שמע-הוּא is surprisingly out of line with the rest as we expect from the systematics to hear שמעהם = שמע-הם. However, this form is again dismissed for fear of confusing it with שמעם, 'he heard them'.

The affixed form is firmly used now to indicate a done action. The form of a root with a prefixed personal pronoun for the actor is used now for a future or promised action, say:
יִשְמַע = היא-שמע, 'he will hear'.
In case of several actors, a complementing indicator is added to the end (end!) of the verb, to wit:
יִשְמְעוּ = היא-שמע-הוּא, 'they (M) will hear', with a mere הוּא for the plural, but a fuller
תִּשְמַעְנָה = תי-שמע-הנה, 'they (F) will hear'.
The rare form יִשְׁמְעוּן = היא-שמע-הוּן is thus but a fuller form of יִשְׁמְעוּ. Why the editor of these lines fell here for the longer ( he certainly did not invent it on the spot), now discarded, form יִשְׁמְעוּן for the ordinary form יִשְמְעוּ is not revealed to us, we can only keep speculating, but it is clear that the extra nun is just a structural formality of no semantic implications; there is nothing "paragogic" about it, methinks.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1183
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: תַּעַבְדוּן Ex. 3:12, יִשְׁמְעוּן Ex. 4:9. "Paragogic" nun

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:47 pm

The נְפְעָל = אני-פעל form, that came from somewhere on one of the multilinear development tracks of the Hebrew language, adds the universal name אני, 'I', for the beneficiary of the act, as in Ex. 22:9
כִּי יִתֵּן אִישׁ אֶל רֵעֵהוּ חֲמוֹר אוֹ שׁוֹר אוֹ שֶׂה וְכָל בְּהֵמָה לִשְׁמֹר וּמֵת אוֹ נִשְׁבַּר אוֹ נִשְׁבָּה אֵין רֹאֶה
NIV: “If anyone gives a donkey, an ox, a sheep or any other animal to their neighbor for safekeeping and it dies or is injured or is taken away while no one is looking"
where נִשְׁבַּר just states the bare fact that the subject assumed somehow the state שבר, 'broken'.
Different acts are performed differently, and we naturally read into the next, נִשְׁבָּה, the added understanding that a third person has been involved in this act of expropriating the beast.
But even פעל may be used to describe a self afflicting, involuntary act as, say, in Ex. 15:8
קָפְאוּ תְהֹמֹת בְּלֶב יָם
NIV: "the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea"
in which קָפְאוּ = קפא-הוּא, 'froze', is in Qal form, rather than Niphal.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1183
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: תַּעַבְדוּן Ex. 3:12, יִשְׁמְעוּן Ex. 4:9. "Paragogic" nun

Postby Isaac Fried » Tue Jan 15, 2019 7:43 pm

The compounded Pual verbal form contains the personal pronoun הוּא, 'he', to designate the beneficiary of the act, a PP tucked now inside (inside!) the root, between the first and second radical, as in the שֻׁלְּחוּ of Gen. 44:3
הַבֹּקֶר אוֹר וְהָאֲנָשִׁים שֻׁלְּחוּ
NIV: "As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way"
By the surrounding circumstances of the narrative we fancy that the brothers did not leave spontaneous but were actually sent away שֻׁלְּחוּ = ש-הוּא-לח-הוּא by the master of the house.
However, in Gen. 4:26
וּלְשֵׁת גַּם הוּא יֻלַּד בֵּן
KJV: "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son"
we understand יֻלַּד = י-הוּא-לד, by the nature of the act, as being self acting.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1183
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: תַּעַבְדוּן Ex. 3:12, יִשְׁמְעוּן Ex. 4:9. "Paragogic" nun

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:49 pm

But the היא, 'he', in the compounded verbal pattern שִׁלַּחֲךָ = ש-היא-לח-אכה of 1Sam. 20:22
לֵךְ כִּי שִׁלַּחֲךָ יהוה
KJV: "go thy way: for the Lord hath sent thee away"
is for the performer of the act, here He doing the שלח, 'send'.
אכה is a variant of אתה, 'you'.

Isaac Fried, Boston University


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