Page:Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (1910 Kautzsch-Cowley edition).djvu/251

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and infinitive forms, and also from the employment of the prefix m. Lastly, denominalia are formed from deverbalia by appending certain suffixes.

De Lagarde does not, however, claim to be able to show in the case of each particular noun the sense it conveyed in primitive times; the origin of a number of nouns can now no longer be detected. In those, however, which are clearly derived from verbs, the original meaning is chiefly determined by the characteristic vowel.

Barth’s system is based on the thesis that ‘all Semitic nouns, adjectives, and participles are derived from either the perfect or the imperfect stem’. Thus, e.g. קָטוֹל is the infinitive of the perfect stem, קְטֹל the infinitive of the imperfect stem, שְׁכַב infinitive of יִשְׁכַּב, &c. In dissyllabic noun-forms the second vowel is always alone characteristic and essential, the first vowel unessential, and therefore variable. Further modifications of the simple form are effected by strengthening (sharpening) the second or third consonant, by lengthening the characteristic vowel (instead of which, however, the feminine termination may also be used), or by ‘metaplasm’, i.e. by the use of noun-forms derived from one of the two intransitive stems for the other, e.g. qutl for qitl, and vice versa.

In nouns of the perfect stem, the vowels i and u indicate intransitive formations, the vowel a a transitive sense. In nouns of the imperfect stem on the contrary, u and i, being characteristic vowels, indicate a transitive and a an intransitive sense: for yaqtŭlŭ is imperfect of the transitive perfect qatala, and yaqtŭlŭ imperfect of the intransitive perfects qatila and qatula, &c. This explains how nouns, apparently identical in form, may yet in sense belong to different classes: a qutl-form from a u-imperfect has a transitive meaning, but the same form from a u-perfect has an intransitive meaning. This double system of perfect and imperfect forms runs through the whole scheme of noun-formation, not only the forms connected with the conjugations, but also the forms with prefixes and suffixes.

Against the whole theory it has been urged that it postulates for the development of the language a much too abstract mechanism, and further, that the meanings of words as we find them may in many cases be due to a modification of the original sense. But though many of the details (e.g. the alleged unessential character of the vowel of the first syllable) remain doubtful, yet the agreement between the characteristic vowel of certain noun formations and that of the perfect or imperfect stem, is supported by such a number of incontestable instances, that there can be no doubt as to a systematic, intimate connexion between the two. At the same time it must be admitted that De Lagarde has put forward many important and suggestive points, and both scholars agree in laying stress on one characteristic vowel as indicative of the meaning.

§84aNouns derived from the Simple Stem.

 [84aaPreliminary remark.—From the statement made above, §83d, it follows that an external similarity between forms is no proof of their similar origin, and, vice versa, external difference does not exclude the possibility of their being closely related both in origin and meaning.

I. Nouns with One Vowel, originally Short.

R. Růzička, ‘Beiträge zur Erklärung der nomina segolata,’ in Sitz.-ber. d. böhmischen Ges. d. Wiss., Prag, 1904.

1. Nouns with one of the three short vowels after the first radical: present ground-form qăṭl, qĭṭl, qŭṭl.

The supposition of monosyllabic ground-forms appeared to be required by the character of forms now existing in Hebrew, as well as in Arabic, &c. But there are strong reasons for believing that at least a large proportion of these forms go back to original dissyllabic bases with a short vowel in each syllable. When formative additions were made, the vowel of the 2nd syllable