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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

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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
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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

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