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

Oath/Curse Formulae: Biblical Hebrew

(631 words)

Author(s): Stadel, Christian
Biblical literature attests to a variety of curses, wishes for misfortune to befall one’s fellow. Except for the אָרוּר ʾå̄rūr curse, they were not formulaic, but phrased ad hoc. Oaths are phrases invoking God in order to validate a statement or a declaration o…

Oath/Curse Formulae: Rabbinic Hebrew

(548 words)

Author(s): Azar, Moshe
An oath formula is a linguistic structure composed of two elements. The first expresses authentication by oath, while the second conveys the oath’s actual content. Two categories of oaths must be distinguished in Rabbinic Hebrew: legally binding oaths, having judicial consequences and used also in court, and a variety of vernacular and informal oaths. Oaths of the first category, peculiar to Rabbinic Hebrew, are formed by the noun שבועה šeḇuʿa ‘[I hereby take an] oath’, (+ -ש še- ‘that’) + a clause expressing the oath’s content, for example,שבועה שלא אוכל šeḇuʿa šel-lo ʾoḵal ‘I swear that I will not eat’. When the oath taker is adjured by another person, who pronounces the content of the oath, the oath taker may perform the oath by saying …


(2,593 words)

Author(s): Shemesh, Rivka
An object is a complement of a verbal or an adjectival predicate (Sadka 1981:130–131). In Hebrew an object can take one of three grammatical forms: (1) noun phrase, e.g., מסרתי כתובת masarti ktovet ‘I gave an address’; (2) pronoun suffixed to a finite or infinitive form of the verb, e.g., מסרתיה mesartiha ‘I gave it’, למסרה lemosrah ‘to give it’; (3) prepositional phrase consisting of a preposition or the accusative marker את ʾet and a noun phrase, e.g., מסרתי את הכתובת לאדם זה masarti ʾet ha-ktovet le-ʾadam ze ‘I gave the address to this man’, or a pronominal suffix, e.g., מסרתי לו אותה masarti lo ʾotah ‘I gave it to him’. There is a distinction between the direct and the indirect object. In Hebrew an indirect object is one that begins with a preposition, not with the object marker את ʾet (like the example לאדם זה leʾadam ze in form (3) above), while a direct object begins either with no preposition (form (1) above) or with the object marker את…

Obsolete Meanings and Words

(1,363 words)

Author(s): Shivtiel, Avihai
Obsolete meaning refers to the case of a word which had more than one meaning, but which, in the course of time ‘lost’ one of its meanings, while obsolete word refers to an archaic word which is no longer used. Like most languages, Hebrew, too, has, over the years, ‘lost’ both meanings and words, because they have ceased to be used orally and/or in writing. That is to say, certain meanings and words did not pass from the stratum of the language in which they wer…