Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/43. Its Form and Meaning

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar  (1909) 
Wilhelm Gesenius
edited and enlarged by Emil Kautzsch
, translated by Arthur Ernest Cowley
The Pure Stem, or Qal: Its Form and Meaning

A. The Pure Stem, or Qal.

§43. Its Form and Meaning.

a The common form of the 3rd sing. masc. of the Perfect Qal is קָטַל, with ă (Pathaḥ) in the second syllable, especially in transitive verbs (but see §44c). There is also a form with ē (Ṣere, originally ĭ), and another with ō (Ḥolem, originally ŭ) in the second syllable, both of which, however, have almost always an intransitive[1] meaning, and serve to express states and qualities, e.g. כָּבֵד to be heavy, קָטֹן to be small.

In Paradigm B a verb middle a, a verb middle ē, and a verb middle ō are accordingly given side by side. The second example כָּבֵד is chosen as showing, at the same time, when the Dageš lene is to be inserted or omitted.

b Rem. 1. The vowel of the second syllable is the principal vowel, and hence on it depends the distinction between the transitive and intransitive meaning. The Qameṣ of the first syllable is lengthened from an original ă (cf. Arabic qătălă), but it can be retained in Hebrew only immediately before the tone, or at the most (with an open ultima) in the counter-tone with Metheg; otherwise, like all the pretonic vowels (ā, ē), it becomes Še, e.g. קְטַלְתֶּ֫ם 2nd plur. masc. In the Aramaic dialects the vowel of the first syllable is always reduced to Šewâ, as קְטַל=Hebr. קָטַל. The intransitive forms in Arabic are qătĭlă, qătŭlă; in Hebrew (after the rejection of the final vowel) ĭ being in the tone-syllable has been regularly lengthened to ē, and ŭ to ō.

c 2. Examples of denominatives in Qal are: חָמַר to cover with pitch, from חֵמָר pitch ; מָלַח to salt, from מֶ֫לַח salt; שָׁבַר (usually Hiph.) to buy or sell corn, from שֶׁ֫בֶר corn; see above, §38c.

  1. But cf. such instances as Jer 485. In Arabic also, transitive verbs are found with middle ĭ, corresponding to Hebrew verbs with ē in the second syllable. Hence P. Haupt (Proc. Amer. Or. Soc., 1894, p. ci f.) prefers to distinguish them as verba voluntaria (actions which depend on the will of the subject) and involuntaria (actions or states independent of the will of the subject).