meaning of pi'el

mj99

Member
English - United States
Hello,


The pi'el does not always seem to have a factitive meaning. Does it have any other meanings? Could someone give some examples of it?


I think in פזר and גרש and בקש and מהר it certainly does not have a passive meaning. What is its meaning in these four?


Thank you.
 
  • Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    One meaning it often has is the intensive meaning. Observe:

    qal שׁבר 'to break, smash'
    pi'el שׁבר 'to smash into fragments'

    וַֽ֠יִּתְקְע֠וּ שְׁלֹ֨שֶׁת הָרָאשִׁ֥ים בַּשּׁוֹפָרוֹת֮ וַיִּשְׁבְּר֣וּ הַכַּדִּים֒ וַיַּחֲזִ֤יקוּ בְיַד־שְׂמֹאולָם֙ בַּלַּפִּדִ֔ים וּ֨בְיַד־יְמִינָ֔ם הַשּׁוֹפָר֖וֹת לִתְק֑וֹעַ וַֽיִּקְרְא֔וּ חֶ֥רֶב לַיהֹוָ֖ה וּלְגִדְעֽוֹן׃
    (שופטים ז כ)

    When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars...

    וַֽיְהִ֗י כַּאֲשֶׁ֤ר קָרַב֙ אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה וַיַּ֥רְא אֶת־הָעֵ֖גֶל וּמְחֹלֹ֑ת וַיִּֽחַר־אַ֣ף מֹשֶׁ֗ה וַיַּשְׁלֵ֤ךְ מִיָּדָו֙ אֶת־הַלֻּחֹ֔ת וַיְשַׁבֵּ֥ר אֹתָ֖ם תַּ֥חַת הָהָֽר׃
    (שמות לב יט)

    When Moses drew near the camp he saw the calf and round dancing and he became enraged and he threw the tablets from his hand and he smashed them into fragments under the mountain.
     
    Last edited:

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Page 173 of this book states that 65% of pi`el appearances are intensive. Page 174 seems to say that the original meaning of pi`el was factitive and that intensive meaning was developed from the factitive.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Page 173 of this book states that 65% of pi`el appearances are intensive. Page 174 seems to say that the original meaning of pi`el was factitive and that intensive meaning was developed from the factitive.
    I looked there and what he actually said was that 65% of piels appear to have an intensive meaning. That doesn't mean they actually do.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Thanks for the more accurate phrasing, yet the point remains that the book supports the notion that pi`el is used for intensive in biblical Hebrew.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I think his point in using that phrasing was that there may be a better description for some of those verbs than intensive.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    His point... yet my point was merely that a reply above (to Ali's comment that pi`el is used for intensive), a reply saying that according to the book "there is no intensive meaning of the piel stem", is inaccurate when referring to biblical Hebrew, maybe it is accurate to proto-Canaanite / proto-NW-Semitic. Or at least this is what I understood from the (too verbose IMHO) book.

    BTW, the historical development described in this book in very interesting indeed. Especially for those who start from modern Hebrew and unconsciously regard the bible as the genesis of Hebrew.
     
    Last edited:

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    For more details, you can check lesson 40 of Lambdin. As usual, Lambdin begins with the functional value of the binyan (what sometimes people call "the meaning of the binyan"), i.e. what the binyan does to verbs of various type as defined in the Qal. Its most basic function is to cause, and it can be used with stative verbs in the Qal to mean "to cause a state to exist".
     
    But sometimes the qal and piel have the exact same meaning. I mean there is no intensivity in the piel. Look at this:

    חלק חילק to divide
    רפא ריפא to heal
    שבר שיבר to break
    פרש פירש to scatter or spread

    There is no difference between each pair.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I looked there and what he actually said was that 65% of piels appear to have an intensive meaning. That doesn't mean they actually do.
    In this context, "appear to be" is equivalent to "most likely is".
    What a verb actually means can often be disputed, there's no black and white.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    In this context, "appear to be" is equivalent to "most likely is".
    I disagree. "Appear to be" is a much less confident and much more superficial statement than "most likely is".

    It's just like you said:
    What a verb actually means can often be disputed, there's no black and white.
    This means that "most likely is" is less likely to be the intended meaning.
     
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