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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 (mi…

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…

Demonstrative Pronouns

(2,004 words)

Author(s): Hasselbach, Rebecca
Like most Semitic languages, Hebrew has two main sets of demonstrative pronouns, one set for near deixis (‘this’) and another for remote deixis (‘that’). In the singular, the pronouns for near deixis are distinguished for gender, while the plural has a communis form. The pronouns for remote deixis, which consist of anaphoric pronouns, distinguish gender in both the singular and plural. The following paradigm provides an overview of the common demonstrative pronouns in Hebrew in their most basic form: Near deixis ‘this’ Remote deixis ‘that’ Ms זֶה אוּה Fs זֺאת zōṯ הִיא Mpl אֵלֶּה ʾēll…