I've learned something about pi'el that I didn't understand before: pi'el makes stuff happen. For example, the pa'al גדל is grows (as in, "The child is growing."), but מגדל is make grow (as in, "The child is growing some vegetables.").
So, in this case, it seems to me that the ceiling is not "dripping on me," but, is "making dripping on me." Does this clear the air at all?
No it's not. A ceiling is solid matter. Solids can't drip. Things can drip from, on or through them in English, but they themselves can't drip.
Wax can't literally drip, melted wax can, because it's no longer a solid. You can say I dripped wax, because it changes states. You can't say, I dripped ceiling - because it doesn't.
I think you and LSadun are being a bit too literal. Of course you can say, "Something is dripping on me from the ceiling." But "The ceiling is dripping on me" is less wordy and conveys the same information. If someone is above me, such as in a stairwell, and carrying a wet umbrella, it would be more natural for me to say, "Hey, watch out! You're dripping on me," rather than, "the water on your umbrella is dripping on me."
You're dripping on me is not the same thing as this ceiling is dripping on me. "You're dripping" is possible - humans leak and we move environments (not to mention the phrase is colloquial). Ceilings can't drip or move. (Although you can say my ceiling "has" a leak. You can't say it is dripping ).
Edit/update: Actually I read this in a book once, it was a sci-fi & it was a portal to another dimension and NOT ACTUALLY A CEILING... otherwise the argument stands.
While this is true, it's not something people care about when speaking colloquially, and the speaker's meaning is still totally clear to me. I've heard of other things dripping as well when it's actually the source of the drip (e.g. faucets) so there's precedent for it. Since English is not a prescriptive language, if "the ceiling is dripping" sounds fine to native speakers of an English dialect, then it's correct in that dialect, whether it's truly logical or not.
That's not accurate. You can't always add a י or a ו. Often you can, but not always.
For example it's incorrect to spell שמחה (simcha, happiness) as שימחה. The rule is that if there's a shva nach after the i sound, the i sound can't be marked with a י.
There are a few more rules like that, and same for the ו
Then there would be water dripping on you from the ceiling, but not the ceiling itself. Maybe this is a distinction without a difference in Hebrew, but it's not correct in English. (I tried to find English examples and the closest thing I could find was from painters and handymen - how to stop ceilings dripping wet paint.
טפה tifah means "drop, a little, driblet" There is a word in linguistics "reduplication"--an initial syllable or, as in this case, the repeating of a root word, to make a new word. So multiple little drops = drizzling. It's also an example of onomatopoeia (a word that sounds like what it means)
To all the people who are concerned about whether or not a ceiling can really drip, I ask you, when you talk about the sun coming up, do you want someone to explain to you how our solar system works and how what you said is in error?
We know what you mean when you say “the sun comes up”. We know what you mean when you say “This ceiling is dripping on me.” It is an expression that is literally untrue, but fine to be used in the colloquial sense. “The ceiling is dripping on me” is brief, understandable and preferable to “The liquid from the ceiling is dripping on me”.
It's not a question of logical or physical impossibility. Lots of idioms don't really make logical sense. But it also isn't just a question of being understood. I stand in the rain yesterday and He go to the market now are both perfectly understandable, but are still wrong, as actual English speakers say stood and is going. And most (if perhaps not all) of us also say that liquids drip when their containers leak.