Talk:Modern Hebrew grammar

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Former featured article candidate Modern Hebrew grammar is a former featured article candidate. Please view the links under Article milestones below to see why the nomination failed. For older candidates, please check the archive.
June 4, 2006 Featured article candidate Not promoted

your recent rv; and a more general subject: Piel Verbs[edit]

I don't think I've seen a construction like "Hatkhil ata" ever used in Biblical/classical Hebrew, but I believe you that it's used.

About piel verbs such as "diber" I half-concede your point. You're right that words like diber or izen don't have direct objects. On the other hand, they do have implicit objects--one is speaking or listening to something. You cannot be m'daber to the empty air. I believe that this is, in fact, related to the relative "strength" of pi'el verbs. Still, I'll accept that that is too vague to put in a short aside.

More generally about pi'el verbs, and po'el omed vs. po'el yotzei: I think that something should be added about the "pa'al/pi'el/hitpa'el triangle". The details can be phrased differently, but the point that pi'el often takes the place of hif'il should be mentioned. --Judah

Gerund for nif'al[edit]

The nif'al binyan does have a gerund (שם פעולה--shem pe'ulah). For example:

נִכְנַע = surrender הִכָּנְעוּת = surrendering

נִשְׁאַר = remain הִשָּׁאֲרוּת = remaining

נֶאֱכַל = be eaten הֵאָכְלוּת = being eaten

Sentences without verbs[edit]

I have removed: "(A more English-like ordering, [ze mu'zaʁ ʃe-hu a'maʁ kaχa], literally "it strange that-he said thus", is also possible.)", which is made redundant by changes I have made. I have corrected examples which did not represent well-structured Hebrew sentences. RCSB


However, since the phonemes /ħ, ʕ/ are pronounced by some speakers, while others collapse them into the phonemes /χ, ʔ/[1], they will be indicated here for maximum coverage.

Nice idea, except that it hasn't been realized in the parts I've read so far. Also, if the idea is to accommodate such speakers, one should consistently use phonemic /r/ instead of [ʁ], as many of them would have an alveolar trill [r] and not the uvular fricative [ʁ] (and BTW, I think a uvular trill [R] is at least as common as a uvular fricative in Israeli Hebrew).-- (talk) 00:03, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Incorrect examples and notes[edit]

This article contains a number of notes example sentences that are not correct in Modern Hebrew (MH):

"in talking about a car that drove itself, one would say מכונית שנוהגת עצמה [meχoˈnit ʃe-noˈheɡet at͡sˈma] (a car that drives itself, using nahag)"

- No. לנהוג is intransitive and could not be used in this sense. The verb לנהוג does mean "to drive" but cannot be used transitively as in English. Colloquially, one would say "מכונית שנוהגת על עצמה," but this is very convoluted.

אני שכחתי מהבחירות [ani ʃaˈχaħti me-ha-bħiˈrot] (I forgot about the election)

- The pronoun אני would be omitted here.

We spoke to David (dibarnu le-David) = דברנו לדוד We spoke to him (dibarnu lo) = דברנו לו

- The verb דיבר ("spoke") takes the preposition עם for the neutral sense of "having a conversation."

There are also some grammatical notes that are not correct.

1) Nonnative speakers are sometimes taught that pi'el verbs are often "intensive" equivalents of pa'al/qal verbs. The classic example is "shiber" vs. "shavar." In fact, לשבר is not Modern Hebrew (to shatter would be "לשבור לרסיסים" or another verb altogether). A more important point about pi'el is that it is used for the great majority of new coinages in Modern Hebrew, including spontaneous ones - למלצר (to work as a waiter), לקנפג (to configure).

2) Pi'el/pu'al/hitpa'el can theoretically take roots with more than four letters - verbs such as לסנכרן (lesanxren, to synchronize, transitive) and the intransitive להסתנכרן are very much in use.

3) It is not true that most hitpa'el verbs have a reflexive sense. It's true that a number of common verbs such as להתרחץ and להתגלח do appear to be reflexive, but the most important and productive feature of hitpa'el is the way in which it acts as an intransitive equivalent of transitive pi'el verbs - a feature that also explains the reflexive sense of verbs like להתגלח (in English, this is a simple intransitive - to shave, not "to shave oneself").

4) Note also that להסתפר is not actually reflexive in sense; it does not mean "to cut one's own hair" which would be expressed as סיפר את עצמו - in fact, את עצמו is the only "true reflexive" in MH.

Some or all of this might be alleviated by splitting this article into Biblical Hebrew Grammar and Modern Hebrew Grammar, or rewriting the article to pertain to Modern Hebrew with clear notes about differences between it and Biblical Hebrew (or the other way around).

Pashoshington (talk) 19:03, 4 January 2011 (UTC)

We would have to find publications covering these topics. Dan 21:43, 4 January 2011 (UTC)
I agree with your #1, but I think it's useful to mention the "intensive"-ness. It's important to mention that pi'el is the main way of forming new verbs (largely, I think, because new verbs tend to have quadriliteral roots), but we should also mention the ways that pi'el verbs tend to relate to pa'al verbs when both exist for the same root: pi'el is sometimes more intensive (shiber, shileakh, kipets — rare-to-nonexistent in MH, yes, but I think people understand them without difficulty), sometimes causative (limed, simeakh, sovev/sibev), sometimes more or less synonymous (pikhed), sometimes more or less unrelated (siper). Firstly, this is useful because we're explaining in general the relationships between the binyanim, so we should explicitly address the relationship between pa'al and pi'el — even if only to downplay it.
I completely agree with your #2. In general, this article is overly influenced by Biblical Hebrew.
I disagree with your #3 and #4. "Hitgaleakh" and "histaper" are indeed reflexive in sense. The fact that English uses "shave" ambitransitively, with intransitive=reflexive, is not relevant to Hebrew; and the fact that "histaper" is not exactly synonymous with "siper et atsmo" doesn't mean it's not reflexive. (Note that the English phrase "it solved itself" doesn't literally mean that it set about solving itself and then managed to do so. Reflexives are not a strict thing.)
[added later] To elaborate a bit: I'm not saying that hitpa'el is inherently reflexive. Its general sense seems to be as a middle or mediopassive voice, and even from that there are many exceptions. But I think that "reflexive" is more useful than "intransitive equivalent of transitive pi'el verbs", since there are many ways that a transitive verb could have an intransitive "equivalent". (Think of English "cook", which can be transitive — "I'm cooking dinner" — or intransitive in two different ways — "I'm cooking", "dinner is cooking". Only the latter is anything like hitpa'el.) —RuakhTALK 14:03, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Re: splitting the article: This article is supposed to be about Modern Hebrew. Any information that's not true of Modern Hebrew should be removed (and ideally moved to an article about grammar of older forms of the language). But that applies only statements that are really not true of Modern Hebrew. There are a lot of BH usages that are still possible in MH, even if highly marked, and such usages should be described accurately rather than ignored.
RuakhTALK 23:08, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Hebrew Genitive?[edit]

Adjectival substitutes. In Hebrew the so-called construct state largely took the place of the adjective. In this construction two nouns stand together, and the second noun (as genitive) limits or qualifies the first one. Greek has a corresponding use of the genitive case of a noun in an adjectival sense. The two most characteristically Semitic idioms are (1) the genitive of an abstract noun in place of an adjective of quality, and (2) the use of "son" (huios) with a following genitive of origin or definition. The former idiom, sometimes called the "Hebrew genitive," is found for example in Philippians 3:21, where Paul describes "our lowly body" (literally "the body of our lowliness"), and "his glorious body" (literally "the body of his glory"). New Testament instances of huios and the genitive include Luke 10:6 "a peace-loving man" (literally "a son of peace"), 1 Thessalonians 5:5 "people who belong to the light" (literally "sons of light"), and Colossians 1:13 "his dear son" (literally "the son of his love").

- The Semitic Style of the New Testament by Michael D. Marlowe

Anybody has any insight on this? Komitsuki (talk) 10:51, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

See Status constructus.Dan 21:39, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

The word for "son" in Hebrew is ben(בֵּן), which is the Hebrew root word of the forms "son of me"(בְּנִי), "son of him"(בְּנוֹ), "son of her"(בְּנָהּ), and "sons"(בָּנִים), among others. While there is little doubt that he is familiar with Greek, he quotes mostly the New Testament, which was originally written in Greek and Aramaic, not Hebrew. It was not until recent years that a Hebrew translation of the New Testament was formed. The New Testament is not even a part of the Tanakh(Hebrew Bible), however there is a Jewish account of Yeshua, the actual name of the one so often mistakenly called Jesus, but it differs greatly from the Christian account.AurumSpiral1235813 (talk) 20:28, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Hebrew numbers[edit]

There is no mention of what the ordinal and cardinal numbers are in the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:19, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

Broken plurals?[edit]

Quote: Some forms, like אחות ← אחיות (sister) or חמות ← חמיות (mother-in-law) reflect the historical broken plurals of Proto-Semitic, which have been preserved in other Semitic languages (most notably Arabic).

--> Could someone capable check this please?! These forms don't look like Arabic broken plurals at all, but rather like Arabic regular plurals: Those Arabic words ending in -ât take the regular ("sound") plural -ayât, e.g. fatât -> fatayât ("girl[s]"). The Hebrew akhôt -> akhayôt seems to be exactly the same pattern, since Arabic â = Hebrew ô. So I'm positive that these forms have nothing to do with Arabic broken plurals!

Suggest section: Gender and number in Hebrew nouns and adjectives[edit]

I would like to suggest that sections of the article are ordered as follows:

3 Verbs
4 Adverbs
5 Gender and number in Hebrew nouns and adjectives
6 Nouns
7 Adjectives

I have recently made changes to the text of Tel Aviv with content: "Residents of Tel Aviv are referred to as Tel Avivim or by the singulars: Tel Avivi (for males) and Tel Avivit (for females)". In, perhaps rare, cases like this I think that it would be helpful to have a reference to link to. I also think that it would be advantageous to add reference to suffix pronunciations towards -eem, -ee and -eet or -eem, -ee and -eet. Would -oht be relevant? Anyway this is just an idea.

GregKaye 09:20, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

Spelling convention?[edit]

I noticed that someone recently changed some (but not all) of the spelling in this article from ktiv male to ktiv haser. Is there any convention about which should be used for Modern Hebrew on English Wikipedia? (talk) 05:28, 1 March 2015 (UTC)