Suggesting that the Semitic root may be, at least subconsciously, biliteral, Hurwitz launches into a study of this phenomenon. Discussing linguistic phenomena such as pluriliteral forms, root-differentiation, and folk-etymologies, this little study covers significant ground for understanding the underlying structure of biblical Hebrew.
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Beginning with a trend noticed by many students of classical Hebrew, Hurwitz takes as his starting point the idea that roots in biblical Hebrew may in fact have a biliteral basis. The student of Semitic languages initiated into the triliteral Hebrew root system may find this concept shocking, but, as Hurwitz points out, it is an old idea. Suggesting that perhaps the biliteral root is a subconscious phenomenon, Hurwitz takes a careful look at root-differentiation and folk-etymologies as found in the Bible. Pluriliteral forms are subjected next to his analysis and a resulting theory emerges. Linguistic features such as stative, intensive, purposive, causative, and reflexive stems are presented as examples of primitive Semitic stem formations. Hurwitz concludes his study with a summary as well as a useful index of roots.
Solomon Theodore Halévy Hurwitz (1886-1920) earned his Ph.D. at Columbia University. He continued to live in New York and published articles on items of Jewish interest.