מַה יֹּסֵף יְהוָה דַּבֵּר עִמִּי

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
שלום

וְעַתָּה שְׁבוּ נָא בָזֶה גַּם אַתֶּם הַלָּיְלָה וְאֵדְעָה מַה יֹּסֵף יְהוָה דַּבֵּר עִמִּי

Could someone tell me why the verb in מַה יֹּסֵף יְהוָה דַּבֵּר עִמִּי is in the jussive? Thanks!

אני מודה לכם מאוד
 
  • radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    It’s not a jussive, but an ordinary Qal imperfect.

    This is a פ"ו root, historically W-S-P ‘to add’. The perfect is regularly יָסַף, with the almost universal change of initial w- → y-. The underlying form of the imperfect is yawsīp, with the diphthong contracting awô, whence יוֹסֵף, or, defective scriptum, יֹסֵף.
     

    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    At the beginning of a word, w- → y- took place consistently, but in non-initial position, this change was less consistent. For the Qal imperfects, the it occurred more often than not, whence yawlidyaylid → יֵלֵד (with the contraction ayē), but in certain verbs, e.g., יוֹסֵף, יוֹרֶה, the ו was retained. This was regularly the case for Niph. and Hiph. forms, thus even for יָלַד, which loses the ו in the Qal imperfect, shows respectively נוֹלַד and הוֹלִיד.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Actually that is incorrect. The form yēlēd does not come from yaylid. This can be seen partly from the fact that these forms are never found with yud: ילד/תלד and never יילד/תילד. And partly by comparison with other Semitic languages, such as Akkadian and Arabic, where it is apparent that the initial "w" of the root was dropped entirely in these forms (hence the short vowels in Akkadian ušib, and Arabic yalidu).

    Rather it is simply that there are two types of paradigms with w-initial roots: the more common type in which the w is dropped, and the less common type (perhaps associated with stative verbs?) in which the w is retained.

    Thus, yēlēd comes from an earlier form yilid. Perhaps it was once yalid, but the vowel got changed.
     
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    radagasty

    Senior Member
    Australia, Cantonese
    Actually that is incorrect. ... Thus, yēlēd comes from an earlier form yilid. Perhaps it was once yalid, but the vowel got changed.

    I am not sure one can make such a definitive statement here. Certainly, the account you present, whereby yilid (with a short preformative vowel) is a syncopated form lacking the first radical, is one possible (and commonly held) position. This is supported by external evidence, most notably Arabic يَلِدُ‎‎ (past وَلَدَ), as you point out. The usual explanation for the preformative vowel here is that it was harmonised by analogy to the stem vowel yilid yalid.

    However, it is also contended that the preformative vowel was originally long, and I think there is substantial (internal) support for this position. Let us consider the Qal stative imperfect יִירַשׁ ← yiyraš yiwraš. Fientives and statives normally have analogous forms, albeit with different vowels (in both the preformative and the stem), thus yawlidyaylid → יֵלֵד would be normal. This supported by examples like yawsip → יוֹסֵף, where it is clear that the first radical was retained, thus, by analogy, it should also have been retained in יֵלֵד. Moreover, the fact this preformative vowel does not reduce when a pronominal suffix is added, e.g., תֵלְדֵהוּ (cf. the perfect יְלִדְתִּנִי), also suggests that it is originally long.

    As for the evidence from Arabic, note that the first radlcal dropped to form the present for both the stative يَرِثُ‎‎ (past وَرِثَ) and the fientive يَلِدُ‎‎ (past وَلَدَ), so it is not clear why it should support the syncopation of the fientive יֵלֵד in Hebrew, given that this is not the case for the stative יִירַשׁ (cognate with يَرِثُ‎‎).

    At any rate, things are not altogether clear-cut, I would say, and there is room for both positions, given the available evidence to date.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    You seem to be ignoring most of the evidence I presented. Furthermore, the evidence you introduce to the contrary is rather weak. Let me re-emphasize my points:

    Spelling: The ay > ē sound in Hebrew is in the vast majority of cases spelled with a written yod in the Bible. Occasionally, the yod is absent, but in the vast majority of cases it is present. With the words ירד, ילד, ידע, ישב, etc., however, they are universally spelled without a second yod. This is no less the case with the other the prefixes (אשב, תשב, נשב, ארד, תרד, נרד, etc.). This very strongly indicates that if this sound were ever to have been "ay", this "ay" must have been lost at a much earlier stage than in all other cases. And yet, with roots that actually start with yod, this "ay" sound remained with the yod written: היניק, הימין, etc.

    Other languages. You responded as if I had only mentioned Arabic. However, I had mentioned Arabic and Akkadian, two completely different languages from different ends of the Semitic family. I could even add to this Aramaic and Ethiopic. And I'm confident that if I were to look into it, I'd find this pattern continues across all or nearly all known Semitic languages. Each one of the languages I've listed has two paradigms for w-initial roots, one that keeps the w (or a relic of the w, namely a long vowel), and one that drops it (and thereby has a short vowel or a sound that came from a short vowel). Here are examples:
    - Hebrew: ישב yēshēb (< w-th-b) vs. יירש yīrāsh (< w-r-th)
    - Aramaic: yittēb (< w-th-b) vs. yērat (< w-r-th)
    - Arabic: yathibu (< w-th-b) vs. yawsanu (< w-sh-n)
    - Ge'ez: yərad (< w-r-d) vs. yəwrəq (< w-r-q)
    - Akkadian: ushib (< w-th-b) vs. īriq (< w-r-q)
    This diversity of languages in which this phenomenon is found points to it being an old Proto-Semitic phenomenon, or at least nearly that old. Considering this, it is rather unreasonable to assume that Hebrew would have been the outlier and retained the original w when all other languages didn't.

    I admit that I don't have a great explanation for your point about the vowel not being reduced when a suffix is added. However, this is not unique to this case. There are many anomalous situations in Biblical Hebrew in which a vowel is not reduced when it seemingly should have been. We find this in the word שבועות, we find this preceding the letter א in certain cases, such as in מוצאיהם, we find this in the word אֹהָלִים (in place of אֳהָלִים), we find this in the word עֵדָוֹתָיו So I do not find it such an obstacle that the vowel is not reduced in תֵלְדֵהוּ. It could easily have been affected by forms like תלדו, in which the lack of reduction is expected.

    And furthermore, in roots with PS w-, we never (or almost never) find in Hebrew that the w became y in a syllable coda (with the exception of iw > ī, which is something that occurred across nearly all Semitic languages, even those that never had any w- > y- shift). If you could find me an example of aw > ay (specifically where this w is the initial root letter) in Hebrew, then it would have to be a rather rare situation.

    In consideration of all of the above evidence, it is extremely unlikely that תלד got its ē vowel from a previous "ay".
     
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