Active and passive forms of verbs

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Kenneth Greifer
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Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:50 pm

Did every active verb have a passive form in Biblical Hebrew even if it was not ever used in the Hebrew BIble? Should you just assume that it existed or do you have to see proof of a passive form in a quote?
Kenneth Greifer

Jemoh66
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Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Jemoh66 » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:43 pm

No Ken. Some verbs won't have a passive because a passive sense would be absurd or incoherent. If a verb's qal meaning is stative it would be senseless to give it a passive form. For example in English we have the verb blush. It would make no sense to use it in a passive way. she is blushing[i/] makes sense, but [i]*she is blushed[i/] cannot occur because it is senseless.

As a general rule only transitive verb's can take a passive form. [i]I hit the ball
--> the ball was hit.

The genius of a language like Hebrew and many of its cognates is you can change the meaning of through one process which turns out into a transitive. Then it can take a passive form. Let's say we're dealing with the verb to flee. It's obvious even in English that a passive idea of flee is senseless. Now if I run it through a hiph'il form it will allow me to express the idea of running a person off (cause to flee). A causative is inherently transitive. If you can cause a person to flee, is acceptable to express the passive he was caused to flee=he was run off or chased away etc...

בָּרַח, fled
לִבְרֹ֣חַ inf. to flee (Jonah 1:3)
13וּבְרִעָ֣ה וָשֶׁ֔מַע הֵ֚מָּה רָאשֵׁ֣י הָאָבֹ֔ות לְיֹושְׁבֵ֖י אַיָּלֹ֑ון הֵ֥מָּה הִבְרִ֖יחוּ אֶת־יֹ֥ושְׁבֵי גַֽת׃ 1 Chronicles 8:13
and Beriah and Shema, who were heads of fathers' households of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who put to flight the inhabitants of Gath;

While not attested there is no reason to think that a speaker of BH couldn't use the hoph'al to express the passive. Be driven away or be put out to flight.
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:11 am

Jonathan,

I asked if every active verb has a passive form. I didn't ask about stative verbs, although I used the word "active" by accident. It is nice that you explained "stative" and transitive, but technically I did say "active", and I am assuming that your answer is yes that active verbs can be assumed to have a passive form even if it is not used in the Bible. Thanks.
Kenneth Greifer

Jemoh66
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:03 pm

Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Jemoh66 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:16 pm

I provided an example of an active verb that can't take a passive: flee, ברח. In fact, this applies to all movement verbs, which btw are intransitive. So the answer to your question is as I said before, No, not all actives verbs take a passive. Only transitive verbs can take a passive. Also a stative verb is by default conjugated in the active voice in English. In Hebrew some statives also include a stative form
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

Schubert
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Location: Canada

Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Schubert » Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:57 pm

My experience from other languages is that we should not expect a language to be entirely consistent. For that reason, I would think it to be a large and unwarranted assumption to conclude that every active verb has a passive form in Biblical Hebrew even if it was not ever used in the Hebrew Bible -- quite apart from the reasons explained by Jonathan.
John McKinnon

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:32 pm

Jonathan,

Thank you for pointing out my mistakes. I now understand that you are saying that only transitive active verbs have passive forms and not all active verbs. Are you saying that you think that Biblical Hebrew had passive forms for all of the transitive active verbs, even if they are not in the Bible?

I understand that John McKinnon, who also answered, said he doesn't think so. Thank you both for answering me.
Kenneth Greifer

Jemoh66
Posts: 241
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:03 pm

Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Jemoh66 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:56 pm

Yeah. I don't see why not. Language is open that way. I'm not sure why John would think differently.
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

Jemoh66
Posts: 241
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Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby Jemoh66 » Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:02 pm

Ok I just read John's comment. I think John is referring to the idea of an actual presence in the language of every passive. I'm thinking more in terms of potential usage. In my view every transitive verb has a potentially viable passive.
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

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SteveMiller
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Re: Active and passive forms of verbs

Postby SteveMiller » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:42 pm

Hi Kenneth,
I use a verb table program called Saffa. I understand that it has all conjugations of all BH verbs whether that form appears in the text or not.
If there is a particular verb you are interested in, I can tell you what Saffa has for the passive forms.
Sincerely yours,
Steve Miller
Detroit
http://www.voiceInWilderness.info
Honesty is the best policy. - George Washington (1732-99)


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