Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

Purchase Access
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.

Subscriptions: Brill.com

Back Formation

(470 words)

Author(s): Schwarzwald, Ora (Rodrigue)
Back formation is the derivation of a new lexeme from an existing word by the treatment of an affix not according to the normative ‘historically-correct’ rules. Back formation is motivated by the natural tendency for simplification that results from word leveling (Bloomfield 1933:412–416). In most cases Hebrew back formations are created on the basis of inflected forms by the omission of the inflectional morpheme. Thus, for example, the Modern Hebrew word עיירה ʿayara ‘s…

Baghdad, Pronunciation Tradition

(2,293 words)

Author(s): Shatil, Nimrod
1. Historical background Baghdad became the central Jewish city of contemporary Iraq after the Abbasid caliphs turned it into their capital in 762 C.E. During the 9th and 10th centuries, the famous Babylonian academies, Sura and Pumbedita, moved into the city, retaining their traditional names. T…

Bar Kokhba Documents

(3,342 words)

Author(s): Mor, Uri
The Bar Kokhba documents were discovered in the Judean Desert (Wadi Murabbaʿat, Naḥal Ḥever, and other sites), mostly in the 1950s and 1960s (Eshel 1998; Yadin et al. 2002:2–4). They consist of military letters, legal documents, and lists, written at or around the time of the Bar Kokhba (Bar Kosiba) Revolt (132–135 C.E), in Hebrew, Jewish Aramaic, Nabatean, and Greek. It appears that the choice of language was a matter of functionality: Jewish Aramaic was the natural option, being the traditiona…

Barth-Ginsberg Law

(992 words)

Author(s): Hasselbach, Rebecca
The Barth-Ginsberg law is a phonological rule stating that the prefix vowel of the prefix or imperfect(ive) conjugation in the base (i.e., G) stem is dependent on the theme vowel of the respective verbal base. When the theme vowel is /i/ or /u/, the prefix vowel is /a/, while when the theme vowel is /a/, the prefix vowel is /i/, resulting in the following paradigm: ya-ktub yi-ktab ya-ktib The evidence for this distinction in Hebrew and Aramaic was first compiled by Jakob Barth (1894:5–6), who noted that Hebrew has different prefix vowels depending on theme vowel in initial guttural, ע״ו/י (middle waw/yod, i.e., hollow) , and ע״ע (geminate) roots, as in יַעֲבֹד yaʿăḇōḏ < * yaʿbud ‘he will work’ versus יֶחֱזַק yεḥε̆zaq < * yiḥzaq ‘he will be strong’; יָקוּם yāͦqūm < * yaqūm ‘he will rise’ versus יֵבוֹשׁ yēḇōš < * yi-bāš ‘he will be ashamed’; and יָסֹב yå̄sōḇ < * yasubb ‘he will turn’ versus יֵקַל yēqal < yiqall ‘he will be slight’. Syriac has the same distinction in roots פ״א (initial ʾalef ), which have the prefix vowel /ē/ < /a/ with /o/-theme vowels, but /ī/ < /i/ with /a/-theme vowels, as in nē(ʾ)ḵol < * naʾkul ‘he will eat’ versus nī(ʾ)zal < * niʾzal ‘he will go’ (Barth 1894:6). Barth also sug…

B (b (bet) - Byzantium)

(7,542 words)

b (bet)  in Hebrew-to-Arabic transcription Transcription into Arabic Script: Modern Period  pronunciation of Italy, Pronunciation Traditions, Kurdistan, Pronunciation Tradition, Tiberian Reading Tradition ba ˓aḇūr (in order that) Result Clause: Biblical Hebrew ba˓al, as element in personal names Names of People: Biblical Hebrew Baal Shem Tov, Yisrael Hasidism Babad, Elisha Y. Names of People: Modern Hebrew: Philosophical and Sociological Aspects babbling stage Child Language Babel, Isaak Russia babies, language acquisition stages of Child Language Babylonia see

Ben Sira

(1,938 words)

Author(s): Kister, Menahem
1. The Book and Its Versions The book of Ben Sira, also known by the names Sirach and Ecclesiasticus, is a work consisting of fifty-one chapters that was composed in the 2nd century B.C.E. by a sage named Ben Sira. The greater part of the book consists of proverbs and maxims, but it also contains prayers (36 [33].1–22; chapter 51), descriptions of nature (42.15–43.33), a concise history of the people of Israel (chapters 44–49), and a depiction of the High Priest as he officiates in the Temple (chapter…

bgdkpt Consonants: Modern Hebrew

(3,516 words)

Author(s): Bolozky, Shmuel
Biblical Hebrew stops (other than ק q, the emphatic ט and the glottal א ʾ) were spirantized postvocalically. In Modern Hebrew spirantization (= fricativization) is much more restricted; it is limited to the consonant pairs b-v (ב), k-x (כ), and p-f (פ), and even among those there are so many counter-examples that the fricative members of these pairs can no longer be deemed allophones, but must be considered independent phonemes. The counter-examples, ‘violations’ of the rules of normative grammar, arise mostly when forms become opaque…