Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

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Subject: Language and Linguistics

Edited by: Geoffrey Khan
Associate editors: Shmuel Bolozky, Steven Fassberg, Gary A. Rendsburg, Aaron D. Rubin, Ora R. Schwarzwald, Tamar Zewi

The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Online offers a systematic and comprehensive treatment of all aspects of the history and study of the Hebrew language from its earliest attested form to the present day.
The Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Online features advanced search options, as well as extensive cross-references and full-text search functionality using the Hebrew character set. With over 850 entries and approximately 400 contributing scholars, the Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics Online is the authoritative reference work for students and researchers in the fields of Hebrew linguistics, general linguistics, Biblical studies, Hebrew and Jewish literature, and related fields.

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Abbreviations

(2,197 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Aaron D.
Various types of abbreviations are in use in Modern Hebrew, some inherited from earlier periods and others introduced only in modern times. Each type will be dealt with below, followed by a short discussion of abbreviations in earlier stages of the language. 1. Abbreviations with a double apostrophe One type of abbreviation is marked with a double apostrophe (called גרשיים geršayim), which always appears before the last letter, as in סכו״ם and ארה״ב. This type can be further divided into three classes: abbreviations which are not pronounced as such; abbreviations wh…

Abecedaries

(2,513 words)

Author(s): Gzella, Holger
In the history of writing systems, the term ‘abecedary’ (from Latin abecedarium; see Sittig 1952) denotes a text, usually a tablet or an ostracon, listing a sequence of letters of a script in a specific order. Examples with West Semitic, Greek, Etruscan, and Latin writing are known from antiquity (Demsky 1977:16). Presumably, many served as teaching aids, exercises, or models for artisans, as lists of letter signs constitute essential tools for learning a script. Some are repetitive, others incomplete, lik…

Acquisition of Language, First

(3,968 words)

Author(s): Berman, Ruth A.
1. Introduction The mystery of how children learn language has intrigued scholars through the ages, while the question of how a small child can gain command of the complex syntactic structures that linguists work hard to explain has motivated the field of developmental psycholinguistics since the 1960s. To this day, children’s acquisition of their mother tongue serves as a testing ground for claims about human language as a branch of cognitive science. Explanations range from behaviorist stimulus-…

Actionality (Aktionsart): Modern Hebrew

(1,998 words)

Author(s): Laks, Lior
Actionality (also known as Aktionsart) is an aspect of a verb phrase that relates to the way it is structured in relation to time. Actionality should be distinguished from grammatical aspect. The former is an inherent invariant part of an eventuality, which can denote a certain aspectual content according to its semantic value, while the latter relates to a specific verb form. Vendler (1957) classified verbs in four categories with respect to actionality: state, activity, achievement, and accomplishment (for further discussion see also Comrie 1976; Dowty 1…

Actionality (Aktionsart): Pre-Modern Hebrew

(2,122 words)

Author(s): Cook, John A.
Actionality ( Aktionsart) is a subcategory of Aspect. The term has been applied to at least two different types of aspect: situation aspect and phasal aspect. Situation or Aristotelian aspect (Binnick 1991:135–49) describes predicates according to their internal temporal contours. The standard taxonomy of situation aspect includes state, activity, accomplishment, and achievement. Phasal aspect describes alterations of the temporal constituency of a situation distinguished in terms of what part of …

Addressee-Switching

(722 words)

Author(s): Rendsburg, Gary A.
Addressee-switching refers to the literary-linguistic device in the Bible whereby prophets included foreign elements in oracles (ostensibly) directed at foreign nations. To be sure, these texts were heard only by the Israelite consumers of ancient Hebrew literature, but the addition of such foreign elements no doubt added a hint of reality and authenticity to the speeches. The first to identify this device appears to have been Chaim Rabin (1967:304–305): “It is a feature of First Isaiah’s style that, when speaking of or addressing a foreign nation, h…

Address, Forms of

(2,080 words)

Author(s): Revell, E. J.
This entry is based mainly on a corpus consisting of the narratives of the Former Prophets, which present a generally homogeneous picture of the society they describe, a picture which seems also to be represented in the limited epigraphic evidence from the same period. A member of this society is typically identified by a personal name, e.g., דָּוִד då̄wīd ‘David’, given at or soon after birth. More precise identification may be achieved by the addition of one or more epithets giving information about that character, such as a significant personal relationship, as with בֶּן־יִשַׁי bɛn-yīšay

Adjective

(6,059 words)

Author(s): Fritz Werner
1. General Introduction The English term ‘adjective’ is derived from the Latin adiectivum, a translation of the Greek epitheton meaning ‘that which is added’. Morphologically, the Hebrew adjective is a part of speech inflected for number (§3.1), gender (§3.1), and definiteness (§3.3); syntactically, it has attributive (§4.1), predicative (§4.2), and adverbial functions (§4.3); it is also used to denote degrees of comparison (§4.4). In Hebrew a שם תואר šem toʾar ‘adjective’ is not marked as such by any unequivocally distinctive morphological markers, so that this …
Date: 2014-10-01

Adjective

(6,055 words)

Author(s): Werner, Fritz
1. General Introduction The English term ‘adjective’ is derived from the Latin adiectivum, a translation of the Greek epitheton meaning ‘that which is added’. Morphologically, the Hebrew adjective is a part of speech inflected for number (§3.1), gender (§3.1), and definiteness (§3.3); syntactically, it has attributive (§4.1), predicative (§4.2), and adverbial functions (§4.3); it is also used to denote degrees of comparison (§4.4). In Hebrew a שם תואר šem toʾar ‘adjective’ is not marked as such by any unequivocally distinctive morphological markers, so that this …

Adverb

(4,056 words)

Author(s): Mor, Galila
1. Introduction The terms ‘adverb’ and ‘adverbial’ are closely related and are often used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, however, ‘adverb’ is a structural term referring to a part of speech distinguished from other parts of speech by its form, whereas ‘adverbial’ is related to the syntactic function of a word or phrase. Theoretically, adverbs and adverbials are non-obligatory parts in a given utterance, since the utterance can exist without them. In the sentence נפגשנו אתמול באמצע הרחוב nifgašnu ʾetmol be-ʾemṣaʿ ha-rx̱ov ‘We met yesterday in the middle of the street’,…

Adverb

(4,052 words)

Author(s): Galila Mor
1. Introduction The terms ‘adverb’ and ‘adverbial’ are closely related and are often used interchangeably. Strictly speaking, however, ‘adverb’ is a structural term referring to a part of speech distinguished from other parts of speech by its form, whereas ‘adverbial’ is related to the syntactic function of a word or phrase. Theoretically, adverbs and adverbials are non-obligatory parts in a given utterance, since the utterance can exist without them. In the sentence נפגשנו אתמול באמצע הרחוב nifgašnu ʾetmol be-ʾemṣaʿ ha-rx̱ov ‘We met yesterday in the middle of the street’,…
Date: 2014-10-01

Adverbial

(1,873 words)

Author(s): Oren, Mikhal
A nominal or prepositional phrase that modifies a verb phrase or an entire sentence is called an adverbial phrase, while a subordinate clause with a similar role is termed an adverbial clause. Note that the latter term is somewhat ambiguous: though it is often taken to refer to the subordinate clause strictly defined, it is in fact the combination of this clause with a preposition and/or conjunction which gives it its adverbial function (Glinert 1988:253–254). Adverbial phrases and adverbial cla…

Adversative: Biblical Hebrew

(382 words)

Author(s): Arnold, Bill T.
The idea of opposition or contrast may be expressed in Classical Hebrew by the lexemes אֲבָל ʾăḇå̄l and אוּלָם ʾūlå̄m. The adverb אֲבָל ʾăḇå̄l expresses the antithesis of a previously stated idea: אֲבָל֙ שָׂרָ֣ה אִשְׁתְּךָ֗ יֹלֶ֤דֶת לְךָ֙ בֵּ֔ן ʾăḇå̄l śå̄rå̄ ʾištǝḵå̄ yōlɛḏɛṯ lǝḵå̄ bēn ‘(No), but your wife Sarah shall bear you a son’ (Gen. 17.19) (Clines 1993 1:109; HALOT 1:7). Similarly the conjunction אוּלָם ʾūlå̄m may denote contrast either in a nominal clause (e.g., וְאוּלָ֛ם ל֥וּז שֵׁם־הָעִ֖יר לָרִאשֹׁנָֽה wǝ-ʾūlå̄m lūz šēm-hå̄-ʿīr lå̄-rīšōnå̄ ‘but Luz was the name of the city at f…

Adversative: Modern Hebrew

(2,072 words)

Author(s): Bliboim, Rivka
Adversative conjunctions have been described by various grammarians as reflecting such semantic relations as disagreement, reservation, or agreement with the contrary. The adversative particles to be discussed in the present entry mostly express a contrast between two sentence parts, e.g., הוא אינו ירושלמי אלא תל אביבי hu ʾeno yerušalmi ʾela tel ʾavivi ‘He is not from Jerusalem, but from Tel-Aviv’, or two clauses, e.g., החורף שעבר היה גשום ואילו החורף הנוכחי שחון ha-x̱oref še-ʿavar haya gašum ve-ʾilu ha-x̱oref ha-noxex̱i šax̱un ‘Last winter was rainy, whereas this winter i…

Advertising

(885 words)

Author(s): Zeevi, Irit
Advertisements are part of the cultural landscape of modern society, relating to a particular period and society (Fowles 1996; Lemish 2000). During the first two decades of the State of Israel’s existence, the Israeli advertising field also took its initial steps, slowly shaping the conventions of the form and language of advertising. Over the years, the advertising genre developed, and by the beginning of the 1990s, Israeli advertising had been shaped according to international standards (Hornik and Lieberman 1996). The language of Israeli advertising reflects the transit…

Affixation: Pre-Modern Hebrew

(1,634 words)

Author(s): Fassberg, Steven E.
Affixation is the addition of a formative to a morphological base. Traditionally affixes are divided into prefixes, suffixes, and infixes. Prefixes and suffixes are common in pre-modern Hebrew; infixes are rare. In the nominal system, prefixes may be found in some of the noun patterns (משקלים mišqalim; Mishqal ). The most frequent of them is -מ mV- ( a and i are the most common vowels), which marks nouns of location, e.g., מָקוֹם må̄qōm ‘place’, מִדְבָּר miḏbå̄r ‘desert’, instrument, e.g., מַפְתֵּחַ map̄tēaḥ ‘key’, מִזְבֵּח mizbeaḥ ‘altar’, and abstraction, e.g., מִבְטָח miḇṭå̄ḥ ‘trust’, מ…

Affrication

(597 words)

Author(s): Koller, Aaron
Phonetically, affricates are consonants which begin with a plosive sound (a quick release of air following complete closure somewhere in the vocal tract) followed by homorganic audible friction. Sounds such as English <ch>, pronounced [tʃ], or Israeli <צ>, pronounced [ts], are affricates. Although the phonetic definition of an affricate is clear, its phonological reality is less so. Since the work of Trubetzkoy and Martinet (see Martinet 1939), linguists have wondered how to distinguish true affricates, which are perceived as monophonem…

Afroasiatic and Hebrew: History of Scholarship

(870 words)

Author(s): Rubin, Aaron D.
The Semitic family, of which Hebrew is a member (Semitic Language, Hebrew as a), is part of a larger macro-family that is usually called Afroasiatic. The term Hamito-Semitic has been used in the past, but Afroasiatic is preferable, since the former inaccurately implies a binary split between Semitic and the other (Hamitic) branches. Other language families within Afroasiatic are Egyptian, Cushitic, Berber, and Chadic. The inclusion of an additional family, Omotic, remains debated. Some believe O…
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