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The Hebrew Verbal Paradigm of Hollow Roots: a Triconsonantal Account

Pages 317 - 332


Evidence from various Semitic languages suggests that ‘hollow’ verbs should not be reconstructed with a vowel as their middle radical, but with three radical consonants, the middle one being *w or *y. In the past, forms from Biblical Hebrew have been cited as being incompatible with such a reconstruction. This paper shows that almost all parts of the Hebrew hollow paradigm can easily be derived from their strong counterparts, leaving only the nip̄ʿal imperfect and the hip̄ʿil participle as anomalies. These two forms are then investigated in more detail. The nip̄ʿal imperfect, yikkon, is argued to be an analogical extension of the stem found in the perfect, nåḵon, based on the model of the geminate roots. The hip̄ʿil participle, mešiḇ, is shown to be the regular outcome of earlier *mihaṯīb-, a reconstruction which is supported by cuneiform transcriptions.


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