Friday, July 29, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Septuagint out of context

The third component of translation is something I have been preaching about since the first post on this blog.  Context, context, context.
It has two parts.
First, the same word or phrase must consistently be used to translate an identical phrase in the primary document, without a darned good reason for changing.  And conversely different words or phrases in the primary document must be translated into different words or phrases in the target language without good evidence that they are really identical.
There’s no good reason for translating derekh as odos in one place and as “hippodrome” or horse-racing track in another.  There’s nothing in the context to suggest that anything other than a physical road, a track from one place to another, is meant.
There’s also no good reason for using allogenos to translate both ish zar and ben nechar. 
The other part is cultural.
I talked about the phrase mot yumat only once being translated as “subject to death,” but it goes beyond that.  Almost every Greek translation of this phrase is different from the others.  One of the issues with mot yumat is that it sets up the legal argument of gezerah shavah, that cases with identical facts except for names and dates will be processed the same.  It leads to the expectation that the investigative procedures detailed for idolatry, which carries the death penalty, will also be applied to murder and ervah which carry the death penalty. 
Another example is Leviticus 3:17, where Septuagint says that Jews shall not eat fat.  The Hebrew says Jews shall not eat chelev, the fat which must be sacrificed.  Even when the animal was slaughtered strictly for food, the fat from certain parts of it is not allowed to Jews for food, and this is the same fat that would go on the altar if the animal were slaughtered for sacrifice.  Jews are allowed to eat shuman, the fat mingled with animal muscle, and the latter is referenced in Babylonian Talmud Yevamot 88a, Nazir 23a, Gittin 2b and 3a, Horayot 10a, Keritot 17b and 18a.  You can object all you want that these citations to Talmud might not apply when the Septuagint was done, which was before Hasmonean times.  The fact is that everywhere chelev is used of animals, it refers to the fat that has to be sacrificed.  There’s nothing in Torah that says Jews can’t eat brisket or rib meat and, if you know anything about meat, you know that rib roasts and second cut brisket are famous for the fat in them.  That fat is shuman. 
What’s more, if Jews weren’t allowed to eat fat, there wouldn’t be recipes in classic Jewish cookbooks for rendering schmaltz out of goose skin or chicken.  Torah has no prohibition on eating the fat of birds.  I said long ago that Jewish legal experts can change lots of things in Jewish law, but they can’t overturn prohibitions or cancel requirements.  If the prohibition on chelev applied to chicken fat, schmaltz would never have been so famous.
Again, this upends the urban legend that rabbis created the Septuagint; by definition a rabbi of those times should have known the Jewish culture of those times, and would never make the kind of mistakes you’ll find in Septuagint.

So why didn't the Septuagint translators use their dictionary?
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- flipping it over

And there is the opposite to mot tamut, a “duplicate unconditional.”
 
When you have the aspectless gerundive of a verb – without the gingerbread – followed by the same verb root in a perfect aspect, you are not looking at a conditional situation.  You are looking at an absolute situation. 
 
An example would be Genesis 27:30. 
וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר כִּלָּה יִצְחָק לְבָרֵךְ אֶת־יַעֲקֹב וַיְהִי אַךְ יָצֹא יָצָא יַעֲקֹב מֵאֵת פְּנֵי יִצְחָק אָבִיו וְעֵשָׂו אָחִיו בָּא מִצֵּידוֹ:
 
Yaaqov has absolutely left the tent, so that Esav can’t buy a clue about what just happened.  Yitschaq has to tell him everything. 
 
Notice that they escape the situation where Esav could have killed Yaaqov right then and there.  Since Yitschaq was blind, there would be no witnesses to this killing, and since there was no enmity between them before, it would have been only manslaughter.  Yaaqov would still be dead, and Esav would have to flee to a city of refuge – and there were none at the time.  Some relative would have been responsible for hunting down Esav.  Who would do such a thing?  What about Yishmael?  And doesn’t that put a whole different spin on Esav’s marrying one of Yishmael’s daughters?   But Torah eliminates all these issues with a two-word phrase pointing out that they never mattered.

The "duplicate unconditional" always points at an issue in Jewish law that applies to the situation.  The duplicate unconditional always eliminates the possibility that the situation has consequences in which the law applies.  In a couple of months I'll give another example, but it involves something I haven't discussed yet so...
 
Grammar is  crucial to understanding a language because it encodes nuances that the bare words don’t convey.  The grammar of Biblical Hebrew is inseparably bound up with the culture in which it was used.  While you try to understand Biblical Hebrew, you will keep coming up against places where you don’t understand why the grammar is what it is – unless you are deeply familiar with the culture.  That’s the lesson of the uncertainty epistemic,  and  also of the duplicate phrase, whether it’s conditional or unconditional.
 
I hope you took these recent lessons slowly; these are new concepts for you unless you are part of the current movement exploring aspect-verb systems.  That’s why I keep repeating  myself. 
 
The  labeling approach to writing the grammar of a language, which is typical in the west for the study of classical languages like Latin and Greek, is useless for understanding how languages function. 
 
The  alternative is a functional approach which describes what the language is doing.  This approach isn’t perfect.  If a language has morphology or a syntactical substitute, you have to understand those structures.  But as I go forward busting labels, I’ll describe some of the nonsense produced by slapping labels on things where they don’t belong and don’t work.
 
 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Monday, July 25, 2016

Thank you and a puzzle

I know I missed a milestone.
I didn't say anything when the pageviews hit 20K.
I do thank you.
What puzzles me is what put it over the 21K mark.
You Russians are blowin' up my blog!
And yet, no comments, just one piece of spam -- which Google knew was spam and marked as such.
It's been deleted.
So get an ID -- I set the blog not to accept anonymous  comments -- and write me a non-spam comment and then maybe we can all understand why the blog is blowin'  up.
Cheers

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Septuagint's bad grammar

Last week I only talked about the meanings of words. This week I have examples of how Septuagint misunderstands Hebrew grammar.
It frequently, if not always, gets wrong two important structures in Hebrew.
One is the construct state. The construct is a genitive phrase but not a possessive; it uses two nouns, one of which modifies the other. The usual translation is “X of Y”.
In one place, this results in Septuagint creating a person who doesn’t exist in Hebrew. In Genesis 26:26, Septuagint translates achuzat ohavaiv, “the group of his friends,” as “Ohozath his friend.” In fact, it doesn’t even say “friend,” it uses a word that the famous Liddell & Scott Intermediate Lexicon (“Middle Liddell”) translates as “bridegroom’s best friend,” and explains as a man who leads the bride to the groom’s house. (Rabbi Shelomo ben Yitschaq “Rashi”, the famous medieval commentator on Tannakh and Talmud, says that it is impossible for a king to have only one friend.)
What’s more, Septuagint goes back to Genesis 21:22 where the phrase achuzat ohavaiv doesn’t even appear, and sticks it in.
The other structure Septuagint doesn’t get is something I call “the duplicate conditional” in the lessons about it that I just posted on my Biblical Hebrew blog. If you know of an actual grammatical term for this, please tell us all in the comments.
The format of the duplicate conditional is two different forms of the same verb sequentially, first a form I call the aspectless verb, then the imperfect aspect.
The most important example of this structure is the phrase mot tamut which I discussed in the Gan Eden narrative. Its related phrase mot yumat always relates to capital punishment and carries the connotation of a requirement for due process. Never does the Septuagint phrase the translation to carry this connotation, and in only one case that I could find did it translate the phrase as “subject to death,” the closest approximation the translators could achieve.
If you have been studying Hebrew, as I have kept suggesting, by now you understand the construct state easily. You may be having more trouble with the duplicate conditional but my blog lessons should help.
The urban legend about the Septuagint has Ptolemy collecting 72 rabbis to do the translation. It has to be an urban legend because 23 centuries ago it was impossible that rabbis expert in Hebrew would produce these sort of mistakes. But it’s understandable if the translation was a political expedient carried out by non-Jews, because political expediency does not demand grammatical accuracy.
Septuagint also represents cultural quoting out of context and that’s next week’s discussion.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- gerundive plus imperfect

The gerundive that takes prefixes and suffixes has a special form without all that gingerbread. It’s usually called “infinitive absolutebecause it is used without the gingerbread, but if we’re not going to call the dressed up version an infinitive, I won’t use that term here either. I think I’m going to start with a structure that I will call the “duplicate conditional”.
 
The “duplicate conditional” has two forms of the same verb sequentially. The first form is that undressed gerundive. The second form is an imperfect of the same verb.
 
Knowing that the second form is imperfect, you can see why I might call the structure a conditional. What I mean is that, although it appears in prescriptions for actions, those actions might not be completed. Why not?
 
This is the realm of mot yumat and its grammatical relatives. They appear a lot in Leviticus 20 in a list of capital crimes. I already said that in the Genesis story, it introduces an expectation that a court follows due process and does not execute the accused without the right evidence.
 
This isn’t the only phrase that uses the “duplicate conditional”. Look at Genesis 37:8 where Yosef tells his brothers about his dreams.
וַיֹּאמְרוּ לוֹ אֶחָיו הֲמָלֹךְ תִּמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ אִם־מָשׁוֹל תִּמְשֹׁל בָּנוּ וַיּוֹסִפוּ עוֹד שְׂנֹא אֹתוֹ עַל־חֲלֹמֹתָיו וְעַל־דְּבָרָיו:
They scoff: “Oh, we’re so sure you’ll rule over us!” The conditions for that to happen haven’t occurred yet. But this tips the audience off that such conditions might occur. That’s the drama of the story and its grammar.
 
The same thing is true of Deuteronomy 8:19.
וְהָיָה אִם־שָׁכֹחַ תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת־יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְהָלַכְתָּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וַעֲבַדְתָּם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתָ לָהֶם הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם כִּי אָבֹד תֹּאבֵדוּן:
“If, after this point in time, you do forget **** your Gd, such that you walk after other gods and serve them and bow to them [this clause is oblique modality], I witness against you today that you will be destroyed.”
 
The shakhoach tishkach is a duplicate conditional. The oblique modality that follows, v’halakhta, is the possible future circumstance, which must be completed before the consequence is carried out, but you will only believe this is possible if you know that the main clause has happened. The uncertainty epistemic at the end duplicates the idea that punishment might not be imposed for all the reasons described elsewhere in Torah.
 
Whenever you see a duplicate conditional in Tannakh, remember that translating it as “must X” is not correct. “Must” only applies if the condition exists and because you have both an aspectless verb and an imperfect, you can’t tell just from the phrase that those conditions  exist.
 
Knowing as you do that there’s a perfect aspect, do you suspect there’s a perfect version of this? That’s next week.
 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Outdoors -- Sweet Bird of Youth

We have had a good crop of young birds this year.

I watched my cardinal flying through downpours to feed his first chick, and now he's caring for the second brood.
The first chick is a male.
I see him around trying out this "living on his own" thing.
I hear him trying out his turf call.
He's quiet about  it, and he doesn't know the whole tune yet.

The blue jays likewise flashed around caring for their first.
I've seen him, pale and crestless, on my fence.
I've heard him trying out his "hawk" call.
Like most blue jays, he does it when there's no hawk around.
Then he loses himself in the role and keeps it up long after we all stop paying attention.

Wrennie's chick perches in my euonymus.
He doesn't have the adult repertoire of half a dozen calls.
The ones he does know, he's very tentative about.

Flickerjee's first chick showed up learning flight from his dad.
He has already started chattering, but only for short stretches.

A young blackbird keeps showing up at my birdbath.
Blackbird parents show their growing young how to splash in the bath.
He hasn't quite understood what it's all about yet,
especially the part about ducking his head under the water.

Half the summer is still left and barring a disaster, we'll have another crop of young birds trying their wings and their calls before it turns cold. 

Speaking of bird calls, I have started believing that folklore about blue jays screaming before a storm.
They tend to do it a day or two before the storm hits.
Saturday we had woodpeckers whinnying all morning from various places, one in my own back yard.
The folklore is, woodpeckers calling or drumming is a sign of a bad storm on the way.
Well, by 5:30 the sky had turned black and the wind came up, we got thunder and finally some rain.
It  wasn't bad considering I lived through Hurricane Isabel in this same house.
But gusts of wind coming through the open back door blew down a wall quilt.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Septuagint's bad words

A translation is supposed to be a faithful reproduction of the meaning of the primary document. 
The Septuagint is not a faithful reproduction of the meaning of the Hebrew of the Torah.  Here are examples of problems it has with the meanings of words.
           Genesis 4:7.  The Septuagint said, according to the translation in Brenton, “Hast thou not sinned if thou hast brought it rightly, but not rightly divided it? Be still, to thee shall be his submission, and thou shalt rule over him.”  That is not even wrong.  It has to do with a sacrifice while the Hebrew deals with sin in general.
           Genesis 10:6.  Mitsraim was translated as Mesrain.  This is the only time that Septuagint fails to translate the term as “Egypt”, which is correct.
           Genesis 11:12-13.  Septuagint has Arpachshad siring Qainan not Shelach.  That means it gives 11 and not 10 generations from Noach to Avraham.  (There’s a midrash for that.)
           Genesis 14:21.   Septuagint has the king offering Avram the horses when the real meaning is the property.  However when translating Genesis 31:18, Septuagint translates the same word as “the things (he took away with him).”  In Greek “horse” is “hippos” (OK you Greek geeks, I know that’s not really an “h” but not everybody is a Greek geek.) for which the Hebrew is sus (about which more later); the word in Genesis 14:21 and 31:18 is r’chush.
           Genesis 34:1-5.  Septuagint called Dinah a parthene after the rape whereas in Genesis 22:15 it uses parthene to translate betulah, a “technical” virgin, which Dinah could not have been after the rape.
           Genesis 35:19. Rachel was buried next to the road to Efrat. Septuagint said she was buried at the hippodrome, a horse-racing track.  However in most places Septuagint translates Hebrew derekh correctly as odos.
           Exodus 1:11.   Septuagint says among the treasure cities built by the Israelites was “Onn, that is, Heliopolis.”  That’s backwards; Septuagint also names Joseph’s wife as the daughter of the priest of Onn (Genesis 41:45) showing that the city existed before the Israelites were enslaved. 
           Leviticus 22.  Septuagint uses the word allogenos for incompatible situations.  One is v. 12 where the priest’s daughter who marries “an Israelite not descended from Aaron” (ish zar which is always used in this meaning), which cannot apply to a non-Jew because he falls into the category of prohibited husbands (Leviticus 19:29).  Septuagint also uses allogenos in verse 25, which prohibits accepting imperfect animals as offerings from non-Jews (ben nekhar which is always used in the meaning of non-Jews) for the tabernacle.
This is an extremely short list of mistranslations and missed connotations in Septuagint.  But wait, there's more.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- what that darned thing is

That darned thing that westerners have been calling an infinitive in Hebrew and Arabic for lo these many centuries now, is not an infinitive.  You can tell that by how it is used in Biblical Hebrew.
It’s a aspectless verb with gerundive properties.  Here’s an example: Genesis 4:13:
וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל־יְהוָֹה גָּדוֹל עֲוֹנִי מִנְּשׂוֹא:
The first letter is mi, in this case meaning “beyond”.  So Qain says “my sin is great beyond  bearing.” 
Actually, the rabbis interpret it in Midrash Rabbah Breshit 22:11, turning it around on Gd:  If You’re omnipotent, why is my sin too great for You to bear with?  Why would You punish me?  Well, actions have consequences and sometimes they’re bad; Qain’s punishment is one of those consequences and he needs to put on his big kid pants and deal with it.   So “beyond bearing” is adverbial, modifying “great”.
The grammatical point is that using the aspectless verb avoids the connotations of any aspect, and it also avoids having a specific agent, allowing the midrash to work.
Next, Leviticus 11:31.
אֵלֶּה הַטְּמֵאִים לָכֶם בְּכָל־הַשָּׁרֶץ כָּל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהֶם בְּמֹתָם יִטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב:
This is an example of “at the time of”: “at the time of their dying.”  Time expressions are always adverbial.  Progressive is only suitable to a generalized extended time, od, “still.”  In this verse the time period is specific to the action: the period it takes the vermin to die.
Now, why is it important to translate b’motam with a gerund instead of saying “when they died”?  This is the fussiness of Biblical Hebrew, especially when it comes to legal issues.  Define “when they died”.
Even in the 21st century that definition is under debate.  TV shows regularly generate drama by having a character’s brain function flatline, while the machines are still making the heart pump and the lungs fill with air and empty. There’s always a debate after that as to what  the patient really meant by “extreme measures.”  We all have our own opinions on what’s right.
Five thousand years ago, they couldn’t debate the issue.  They didn’t have the monitors.  They definitely wouldn’t hook them up to vermin if they had them. There was no way to determine the time of death.  So a gerund works because if you think the vermin are dying, you get straight away from them so as not to become tameh.  Because, as you know if you read the Fact-Checking blog, that affects your ability to participate in society.
Because of the requirements of the progressive aspect relative to time expressions, we can’t use it for this more precise meaning.  The gerund steps in where other verb forms fear to tread.
Note the difference between b’motam and, say, va-y’hi b’et she-met.  In b’motam we’re not certain of the actual point of death.  The va-y’hi clause is the opening of a story, and we are certain that the death already has taken place; this is a temporal “localization” to be followed by events so important in themselves, that it’s also important to remember when they happened (as opposed to where they happened for a geographical localization). 
Torah has examples of several ways of saying things, but they don’t all mean exactly the same thing.  What they mean exactly, depends on the grammar.
And we owe it to the grammar to admit that it is what it is, not to slap on it convenient labels that apply only to other languages.  So from now on I’m going  to call the verb form in b’motam a gerundive when I describe its function, but remember for the next few lessons that it has this function because it is aspectless.  This coordinates with some things I will get into starting in lesson 145.  It all connects up, and it’s all different from what you were taught before.

And now another twist of the  knob.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 10, 2016

DIY -- sun tea

Do it.  It's one of the best advantages you  can take of summer weather.

Get a big old glass jug with a lid.
Fill it with water, hot is good.
Stir in sugar to taste*.
Put in enough tea bags for the number of glasses of tea you  can get out of the jug.
Put the lid on.
If you use a jar that has a label, turn the label to the shady side or peel part of it off so the sun gets into one whole side of the jar.
Set it in a place that will get at least 6 hours of sun.
Bring it in, stir up the sugar, let it cool off, then put it in the  fridge.

Use any bag tea that you like to make iced tea from anyway.
I use Constant Comment, an orange-and-spice tea from Baltimore.
It works at least as well as the bags specially marked for sun tea, and which are more expensive.
Sun tea is way cheaper than buying gallon jugs of pre-made iced tea.
It has no added chemicals.
You control the sweetness.
It uses no electricity, unless you run hot water into the jug, and if you start a jug right after you wash dishes, you don't waste water getting it hot first, the pipes already have hot water in them.

*  My sister in Georgia gave me this tip. 
South of the Mason-Dixon line, people tend to like their sweet drinks VERY sweet.
It's one reason why fast food restaurants now offer sweet iced tea.
In Georgia, they tend to put malt syrup in their sun tea instead of hoping for the sugar to dissolve.
I haven't had a problem and I live in Maryland where we don't get quite so hot as Georgia does.
I always have sugar around anyway, but not malt syrup.
YMMV.

I have read about concerns about people getting food poisoning from sun tea.
If you use the same tea bags you use to make hot tea, but
you get the collywobbles after drinking sun tea,
I recommend getting your water tested for bacterial contamination and using a filter until the test results come back.
The water treatment plant or your pipes could be sub-standard.

Yes, it takes all day to brew. 
Use a big enough jug or enough big jars to suit your family.

Last year I stopped eating ice cream and cooled myself with iced tea.
It cut some fat out of my diet.
Probably even some sugar since I DON'T like my tea as sweet as lots of folks do here.

Do it.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Septuagint Intro

A definition.  A primary document is the document being translated from, a source document.  For this blog, the primary documents are mostly in Hebrew or Aramaic.
That gets around something somebody threw in my face once.  If I point you to Torah in “its original language” that isn’t precise.  We don’t know what language some stories were first told in.  As I pointed out earlier, some of the motifs go back to 4000 BCE when Akkadian might not have existed, let alone Hebrew.  So I have to talk about Torah as “the primary document,” meaning it’s the one all the translations ultimately come from; the written version existed only in Hebrew until about 23 centuries ago.
The other reason it’s important is that documents sometimes go through multiple drafts.  We know of multiple drafts of the Declaration of Independence.  All of them first appeared in English, and all of them are primary documents for purposes of translation.  There’s not a lot of use in translating the drafts, however, unless you are explaining the differences between them to people in a country where English is not the first language or even an official language.
The oldest translation of Torah that has survived is the Septuagint.  The definition of the Septuagint is the Greek translation about which there is an urban legend that it was created under Ptolemy II of Egypt, son of the general of Alexander II of Macedon.  When Alexander died, his will split up his empire among two generals and his posthumous son; Ptolemy got rich, storied Egypt.  Cleopatra was his descendant 7 generations later. 
The Septuagint is not just written in Greek.  It’s written in a Greek which uses words in different ways from all the Greek classics. The urban legend is that this is a Jewish dialect of Alexandria in Egypt, which had a large and influential Jewish community.  One of its best-known members was Philo the Jew, AKA Philo of Alexandria, who went on an embassy to the Roman Emperor Caligula to try and get his help stopping anti-Jewish riots in Alexandria.  I’ll get to Philo later.
At the time the Septuagint was written, the Ptolemies had control of Judea.  Because it was a rich province and a buffer between Egypt and Syria, the first two Ptolemies apparently felt it was expedient to know something about its culture.  So actually Ptolemy I commissioned the Greek Torah translation, and his son had the rest of the Jewish Tannakh translated later.
As a political expedient, the Septuagint might have been a good idea.
As a translation, it was a disaster.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bit at a Time Bible Hebrew -- what is that thing?

I mentioned an important structure in Biblical Hebrew some time ago. It’s time to discuss mot yumat and its grammatical relatives. You saw this in the Garden of Eden story, Genesis 2:13:
וּמֵעֵץ הַדַּעַת טוֹב וָרָע לֹא תֹאכַל מִמֶּנּוּ כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ מִמֶּנּוּ מוֹת תָּמוּת:
 
It also appears a lot in Leviticus 20 in a list of capital crimes. I already said that in the Genesis story, it introduces an expectation that Gd will follow due process and not kill Adam and Chavvah unless He has the right evidence.
 
Let’s look at the grammar. What is tamut?
 
Yep, it’s an imperfect aspect verb. Why?
 
Because there’s no guarantee that Gd can carry out the death penalty in this case. From the point of view of the story, it uses mot tamut because there’s no telling if Adam and Chavvah will even eat the fruit, let alone that there will be enough witnesses of the right kind and they can answer questions in such a way as to allow a death penalty. The usual phrase with the same idea is mot yumat and the second word is not only imperfect, it has another grammatical feature I’m not ready to describe yet.
 
The first component of the phrase is called the absolute infinitive, but I was studying Arabic this year for a different project and I learned some things that apply to Biblical Hebrew. The bottom line is, the grammatical terminology that you know and have been using to refer to Hebrew, was invented for other languages.  It doesn’t capture what Biblical Hebrew is really doing with the material.
 
Here’s the demonstration of what’s wrong with using terms from one language to describe another one. I have six sources for information about Arabic. Two of them deny that Arabic has infinitives. Three have sections on infinitives in Arabic. The sixth one is written specifically to help people understand Quranic Arabic, and it avoids using the term infinitive.
 
Are some of them liars?
 
Nope. The ones that talk about infinitives in Arabic are based on the grammatical terminology of the classics, Greek and especially Latin, which use the term “infinitive” for verbs that have no relationship to the time of the action they describe.
 
The Arabic grammars that discuss infinitives, talk about using them to look words up in a dictionary. This only works in Continental languages and Russian, where the base dictionary entry for a verb is the infinitive.
 
It doesn’t work in English. The “infinitive” in English is “to” plus some form of the verb. If the dictionary entry was sorted by infinitive, all the verb entries would be under “T”.
 
English does the same thing Arabic and Hebrew do. It selects a base form of the verb and uses that as the dictionary entry.
 
As with the so-called jussive, “infinitive” is a term imposed on Arabic and Hebrew grammar by westerners.  So what is that darned thing?
 
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Garden -- July 2016

More on grass: notice that Mike's first bullet is the one I pointed out was missing last time.
http://wtop.com/garden-plot-living/2016/07/summer-weather-calls-new-crops-lawncare/

We still don't need it with all the rain we've gotten in the last two weeks but the end is near!

I have pollinator blooms: Korean dill, chicory, and a plant that I think was celeriac.
It's a biennial, it gets about 5 feet high, it has yellow flowers that the bees love.
When the seeds mature, the sparrows will be all over them.
They came in squadrons to monitor  the progress last week.

Pokeweed flowers are on.  They're not pretty or aromatic but they'll make berries for the birds to eat this  winter.

Yes.  Grrrr.  I had more poison ivy this year.  I pulled it a couple of weeks ago after heavy rain and got a little bit skunked in spite of heavy flushing in cold running water within 10 minutes.
Ice cube poultice right away to kill the itch, check.
Lavender essential oil  -- on the blisters, not the healthy skin -- check.
Witch hazel in alcohol daily, check.
Aloe gel mixed with chickweed infusion to restore the skin after the blisters go, check.

I got out my herbal bug repellent to put on before I dump the birdbath at night. 
It's witch hazel in alcohol, plus several essential oils.
Citronella, of course; lavender; cedar wood; bunch of others.
I'm plotting to plant lemon balm and Oswego tea near the birdbath to scare off skeeters next year.

If  you look around, you should see blooming trees:
Virginia magnolia: there are two huge ones near my town library half a block away and a northerly breeze carries their magnificent citrusy fragrance straight to my house;
mimosa;
golden raintree;
some early crepe myrtles.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved