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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Canaanite and Hebrew

(2,697 words)

Author(s): Hasselbach, Rebecca
As is well known, Hebrew belongs to the Canaanite branch of the Northwest Semitic (NWS) subgroup of Semitic, which also includes Ugaritic and Aramaic (Huehnergard 1991:284). In the Bible, Hebrew is once referred to as שְׂפַ֣ת כְּנַ֔עַן śəp̄at kənaʿan ‘the language of Canaan’ (Isa. 19.18), although the more commonly found term is יְהוּדִית yəhūḏīṯ ‘Judahite’ (2 Kgs 18.26, 28; 2 Chron. 32.18; Neh. 13.24; Isa. 36.11). The earliest evidence for Canaanite appears in the 14th-century-B.C.E. letters from Egyptian vassal-kings in Syria-Palestine found at El-Amarna in Egy…

Canaanite Shift

(465 words)

Author(s): Huehnergard, John
The ‘Canaanite Shift’ is the change of Proto-Semitic to ō, as in Proto-Semitic *salām- > Biblical Hebrew שָׁלוֹם šå̄lōm ‘peace’; * ṯalāṯ- > שָׁלֹשׁ šå̄lōš ‘three’; * kātib- > כֹּתֵב kōṯēb ‘writer (masculine singular participle)’, etc. The feature is also found in other dialects of Canaanite, such as Phoenician, and is thus one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Canaanite group of languages. The shift is attested already in Egyptian transcriptions from the early 15th century B.C.E., for example, ṯu-pi-r for /tsōpir/ ‘scribe’ (Hebrew סֹפֵר sōp̄ēr) from earlier *tsāpir-, and in…

Case: Modern Hebrew

(2,968 words)

Author(s): Botwinik, Irena
Case has been defined as a system of marking the relationship between nouns (or pronouns) and other heads/words in the syntactic structure, indicating their grammatical function in a sentence or phrase. For example, a noun or pronoun may play the role of subject (‘ I/He kicked the ball’), of direct object (‘John kicked me/him’), or of a possessor in a nominal phrase (‘ my/his ball’). 1. Introduction In traditional grammar, the notion ‘case’ is viewed primarily as a morphological phenomenon (referred to as ‘morphological case’), whereby nouns or pronouns change …

Case: Vestiges of Case Inflections

(792 words)

Author(s): Vern, Robyn C.
Case inflection is the marking of nominal forms to indicate their syntactic position in the sentence. In Biblical and Modern Hebrew, the syntactic function of nouns is indicated by word order, context, and case-specific grammatical forms. These forms include the nota accusativi, which marks the definite direct object of the verb; prepositions, which mark the indefinite object of the verb; construct noun forms, which mark the genitive; and the locative he. In the earliest forms of the Semitic languages a fully-functioning system of case inflection was present. The …

Castilian Spanish, Hebrew Loanwords in

(480 words)

Author(s): Ortega-Monasterio, Mª Teresa
The Jews living in the Iberian peninsula before the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 adopted the languages that were used in their territories and, in particular, that used by the dominant class, for administrative purposes. Nevertheless, Jews continued to use Hebrew for various kind of religious and secular literature, as is attested by the numerous works preconserved in Hebrew manuscripts written in Iberia during the Midd…


(1,448 words)

Author(s): Doron, Edit
Cataphora is the term used for backward anaphora (Discourse Anaphora): coreference between a referential expression and a pronoun which precedes it, as illustrated in (1). (1a) כאשר הוא יושב מול המחשב, דני מאושר kaʾašer hu yošev mul ha-max̱šev, dani meʾušar ‘When he sits in front of the computer, Dani is happy’. (1b) הספר שהוא כתב הקנה לדני פרסום רב ha-sefer še-hu katav hiqna le-dani pirsum rav ‘The book he wrote brought to Dani a lot of publicity’. (1c) הפתעה הסטודנטים שלומדים אתו ארגנו לדני מסיבת ha-sṭudenṭim še-lomdim ʾito ʾirgenu le-dani mesibat haftaʿa ‘The students who study with him …

Category Shifts

(464 words)

Author(s): Trommer, Pnina
In Modern Hebrew (both written and spoken) words of a given grammatical category may come to exhibit the morpho-syntactic behavior and meaning of another grammatical category. This shift from one part of speech to another is one of the most characteristic features giving Modern Hebrew its dynamic, living image, in contrast to past phases of the language. Some examples: Adjective > interjection: גדול gadol! ‘great!’ (cf. gadol ‘big’). Adjective > adverb: לחיות חכם lix̱yot x̱axam ‘to live wisely’ (cf. x̱axam ‘wise’). Adj…

Causal Constructions

(4,575 words)

Author(s): Bliboim, Rivka
Causal adverbials provide the reason for an action, an event, or a situation. Such an adverbial may consist of a word, a phrase, or a clause. In this entry we present the typical causal conjunctions used in Hebrew causal adverbials, whether words, phrases, or clauses. A typical simple sentence with a clausal adverbial is לא יצאנו לטיול בגלל הגשם lo yaṣanu la-ṭiyul biglal ha-gešem ‘we did not go for a walk because of the rain’; the following is an example of a complex sentence with a causal subordinate clause: מכיוון שירד גשם לא יצאנו לטיול mi-kevan še-yarad gešem lo yaṣanu la-ṭiyul ‘because it…

Causative Verb: Biblical Hebrew

(781 words)

Author(s): Castaldi, Maria Rita
1. Causative construction and causal event According to Comrie (1989:165–166) and Song (2001:256–259), the causative constructions describe a complex event where a participant ( causer) causes an action or a state involving another participant ( causee). A causative construction is characterized by an increase in valency of the original verb, due to the introduction of the causer (Valency). Causative constructions can be classified into three major types: morphological causatives, periphrastic causatives, and lexical causatives. Morphological causatives are forme…

C (Cain as personal name - Czech Republic Prague synagogues)

(5,515 words)

Cain, as personal name Names of People: Biblical Hebrew Cain, Horst Polynesian Languages, Hebrew Loanwords in Cairo Codex of the Prophets Masora, Tiberian Cairo Damascus (CD) see Damuscus Document Cairo Genizah  Arabic vocabulary lists in Arabic Bible Translations  Bible fragments in Manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible in the Middle Ages   in Arabic Arabic Bible Translations   with Babylonian accentuation Exceptive Construction, Vocalization, Babylonian   transcription into Arabic Transcription into Arabic Script: Medieval Muslim Sources  Book of Ben Sira manuscripts in…