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I have been trying to figure this out by comparing Hebrew binyanim to Arabic and Akkadian conjuations. But I cannot figure it out.

Is Nif'al a natural part of the G-stem (like pa'al) or has it "wandered" there over the millenia when the original passive and reflexive G-stem conjugations died out? Where did it come from?

Nif'al just doesn't seem very equivalent to Hitpa'el even though as a reflexive of pa'al it should be.

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closed as off topic by Seth J, msh210 Mar 6 '13 at 7:30

Questions on Mi Yodeya are expected to relate to Judaism within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

An interesting (if unpopular) hypothesis is advanced in this paper regarding passive-counterpart-בנין drift and what the proto-system should have looked like. jstor.org/pss/1515901 I would summarize it as an answer but I haven't read it since back when I studied "Bible" and read German. – WAF May 13 '11 at 20:48
Thanks. That's a good lead. (I can read German.) – Andrew J. Brehm May 14 '11 at 13:41
Bah. They want US$34 for a four-page article... – Andrew J. Brehm May 14 '11 at 13:45
Sorry about that. You could try your local univesity library. . . or email me separately. – WAF May 15 '11 at 15:55
Can't find a way to email you. – Andrew J. Brehm May 17 '11 at 14:45