Origin of vowels in mishkalim

Misspiiggy999

New Member
English - USA
Hi

שָׁלוֹם לְכֻלָּם

Could someone tell me if words of the mishkal קְטוֹל originally had a short vowel in the last syllable and what vowel it had in the first?

Here are some examples: בְּכוֹר חֲלוֹם

Thank you
 
  • Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I don't think all qtol words share a history. For example, חֲמוֹר and שְּׂמֹאל had long "a" that was shifted to long "o" (the Canaanite vowel shift) so are derivations of "qtāl" or alike. Other may be derivations of pre-Hebrew qutl. דרור is said to be derived of Akkadian darāru, thus "qatāl". Words may be of foreign origin, like ספוג from Greek σπόγγος so originally "qtol".
     

    Misspiiggy999

    New Member
    English - USA
    Hi

    שָׁלוֹם לְכֻלָּם

    Could someone tell me if words of the following mishkalim originally had short vowels in both syllables?

    mishkal קֵטָל - examples: לֵבָב עֵנָב
    mishkal קָטוֹל - examples: גָּדוֹל רָחוֹק שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹשׁ
    mishkal קָטֵל - examples: יָרֵךְ כָּבֵד זָקֵן כָּתֵף
    mishkal קָטָל - examples: דָּבָר חָכָם כָּנָף נָהָר

    Thank you
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    As demonstrated above for "qtol", there's no one definite answer for such questions. It may help if you can explain the purpose of these questions.

    Also, what do you mean by "originally"? Languages keep changing, There's no "original" language period or "original" word form. You can ask, for example, about the earliest attestation in biblical Hebrew, or about modern Hebrew, or about Proto-Semitic (one of Hebrew's ancestors).
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    What were the original vowels in the mishkal of לְאֹם 'people'? Was it lu'um in proto-Hebrew, just like בְּכוֹר 'virgin' was originally bukur?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Where did you get that בכור means "virgin"? It means "firstborn". Also where did you get that it was originally *bukur-? In Akkadian it is certainly buk(u)r-, but in Arabic it is bikr-. The Hebrew form seems more likely to have been originally either *bikār- or *bukār- rather than bukur- (since Akkadian and Arabic have different forms of the word, we cannot prefer one over the other for a reconstruction), especially considering its consonantal spelling alternates between בכר and בכור (if it had been *bukur-, you'd expect the spelling בכור to be rare in Biblical Hebrew) and its plural form is בכורות (the feminine plural on masculine nouns is much more common when following the historically long vowel ā).

    As for לאם, the relevant cognates are Akkadian līm- and Ugaritic lím (the use of í indicates that the vowel after the glottal stop could have been i, ī, or ē < ay; the vowel before the glottal stop cannot be determined from the spelling). Unfortunately neither of these is directly compatible with the apparent Proto-Hebrew form, either *li’um(m)- or *lu’um(m)-, so we cannot quite tell which of these it was.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thank you, Drink!

    By the way, if mishkal קָטוֹל (e.g. גָּדוֹל רָחוֹק שָׁלוֹם שָׁלוֹשׁ) was originally qatāl, does that mean גָבוֹהַּ 'high' was originally gabāh?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    No, גָּבֹהַּ seems to be from *gabuh. Note that it is never spelled גבוה in the Bible.

    The other adjectives are sometimes spelled with ו, but I'd hazard a guess that these are later spellings.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thank you. What makes you think it was originally *gabuh rather than *gabāh though?

    And if it were *gabuh how come it wound up as גָבוֹהַּ?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    גָּבֹהַּ is precisely the expected result of *gabuh. I'm not sure what there is to question here.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    But if it had been *gabāh originally wouldn't it have turned into גָּבֹהַּ too? How can you be sure it was originally *gabuh?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Because of comparative Semitics.

    The proto-Semitic deverbal adjectives were most commonly of the form *QaTuL- or *QaTiL-, while a form such as *QaTāL- is not known to have had such meanings.
     

    JAN SHAR

    Senior Member
    pashto
    Is there a place where I can find a complete list of the original forms (mishkalim) and what each turned into with the passage of time? Thanks.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    I can give you a few basic rules:

    The principle generality in the short vowels is that the a tends to remain in positions where the i and u do not. That is, historical short a is retained as קמץ in open pretonic position very regularly, e.g. דְּבָרִים 'words', whereas historical short i does so only if the previous syllable is variable. So, you say זְְקֵנִים‎ 'elders' with צירי, but you say מִזְבְּחוֹת 'altars' with the צירי reduced.

    So, just as a general phenomenon, the historical short a tends to hang around in more positions than do the i or the u.

    u is the strangest of the three because it is the most easily reducible (it reduces even in pretonic position very frequently, e.g. בְּכוֹר 'first-born') but it retains its characteristic in strange positions, e.g. קֳדְשִׁים, which is the plural of קֹ֫דֶש 'holiness'. Now קֳדְשִׁים shows a reduced vowel, but it retains the quality of the historical short u, i.e. the o-quality commonly associated with historical short u. So, the historical short u is the most fleeting of the historical short vowels but also the one that tends to leave various kinds of traces behind that you are unsure exactly how to account for.

    More specifically, a short a in a closed, unaccented syllable is usually retained, e.g. מַלְאָךְ 'messenger, angel', but sometimes it turns into a short i, e.g. מִשְׁפָּט 'judgement, court decision; manner'. This phenomenon is called 'attenuation', and it regularly applies to the first syllable of the prefix-conjugation in the Qal stem, e.g. יִכְתֹּב. It does not apply to I-gutturals though because there the syllable is not truly closed, e.g. יַעֲמֹד (what’s happening here is secondary opening).

    For some reason, in the suffix-conjugation of the Qal stem the short a in the first syllable is lengthened when said syllable is pretonic, e.g. כָּ֫תְבוּ. This is despite the fact that it is a historical short a occurring in a closed, unaccented syllable.
     
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    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Where did you get that בכור means "virgin"? It means "firstborn". Also where did you get that it was originally *bukur-? In Akkadian it is certainly buk(u)r-, but in Arabic it is bikr-. The Hebrew form seems more likely to have been originally either *bikār- or *bukār- rather than bukur- (since Akkadian and Arabic have different forms of the word, we cannot prefer one over the other for a reconstruction), especially considering its consonantal spelling alternates between בכר and בכור (if it had been *bukur-, you'd expect the spelling בכור to be rare in Biblical Hebrew) and its plural form is בכורות (the feminine plural on masculine nouns is much more common when following the historically long vowel ā).
    It’s true that the mater lectionis is strange for a historical short u, but the /qutālu/ or /qitālu/ form wouldn’t solve the problem either. The use of a wāw mater with a חוֹלָם is only thoroughly expected for a historical /aw/ diphthong. It’s also worth noting that there are plenty of occurrences without the mater.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    That is incorrect. A vav mater lectionis is found interchangeably (with a frequency of about half the time) on vowels deriving from long ā.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    That is incorrect. A vav mater lectionis is found interchangeably (with a frequency of about half the time) on vowels deriving from long ā.
    In Biblical Hebrew itself the waw mater is, of course, often used for a historical ā. However, the use of waw for a historical ā is just as secondary as its use for a historical u.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    In Biblical Hebrew itself the waw mater is, of course, often used for a historical ā. However, the use of waw for a historical ā is just as secondary as its use for a historical u.
    No it's not. Its use for historical ā is prolifically widespread, occurring as I said, about 50% of the time, and seemingly completely interchangeable even in the same word.

    Meanwhile, for historical u, you find that the vav is pretty rare.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    No it's not. Its use for historical ā is prolifically widespread, occurring as I said, about 50% of the time, and seemingly completely interchangeable even in the same word.

    Meanwhile, for historical u, you find that the vav is pretty rare.
    I’m not sure about that (גָּדוֹל is written with ו much more often than not, for one datum).
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Hmm... You may have a point there.

    In segolates and geminates and finite verb forms, the historical short u is rarely spelled with vav. But perhaps the final syllable of nouns and adjectives is actually distinct from those cases. After all, a short "a" in segolates, geminated, and finite verbs becomes a patach, while in the final syllable of nouns and adjectives it is qamatz. So there is something different about this syllable as compared to the others and perhaps it was lengthened at an earlier time and thus spelled with vav more frequently just like the reflex of long ā.

    If that's the case, then you are right, and it is possible that בכור is from *bukur-.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    By contrast, the proto-Hebrew form of מְאֹד 'very, much' would definitely have been either /qutālu/ or /qitālu/ because מְאֹד is hardly ever spelled with a mater lectionis in the Bible.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Let me say again: the reflex of long ā is spelled roughly half of the time with a mater lectionis.

    So the fact that מאד is rarely found with one doesn't have anything to do with it being from ā.

    Other methods must be used to reconstruct it.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Got it. What are these methods, if you don't mind me asking? Also, do you think מְאֹד 'very, much' was originally /qutālu/ or /qitālu/ or /qutulu/?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    The method of comparison with other languages, for example.

    I don't know what the original vowel of this word was. I can see it being either ā or u.
     
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