Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

Get 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

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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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Elative: Biblical Hebrew

(259 words)

Author(s): Cohen, Ohad
The term elative is derived from the Latin efferre ‘to bring or carry out’. In Semitic linguistics it refers to the comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives. Arabic has a special elative form, with the pattern aCC aC in the masculine. For example, the positive adjective kabīr ‘big, great’ has the elative form ʾákbar ‘bigger/biggest’. Hebrew lacks this sort of morphological elative form. Biblical Hebrew uses several different syntactical constructions to express the notion of ‘more’ or ‘most’: The comparative. When there is no noun serving as the standard of compar…

Elative: Modern Hebrew

(947 words)

Author(s): Glinert, Lewis
Modern Hebrew uses a range of comparative and superlative clauses and phrases to express differentiation (Glinert 1989:212–221). 1. Scalar comparatives Differential comparison by degree or amount typically employs the degree words or quantifiers יותר yoter ‘more’ and פחות pax̱ot ‘less’: אכלתי יותר מהר ʾaxalti yoter maher ‘I ate more quickly’, אכלתי יותר דג ʾaxalti yoter dag ‘I ate more fish’. As degree words they may be postposed, depending on the class of head word and the stylistic level: אכלתי מהר יותר ʾaxalti maher yoter ‘I ate more quickly’. An adverbial complement may fo…

Election Discourse

(4,782 words)

Author(s): Shukrun-Nagar, Pnina
1. Channels of Propaganda Election propaganda consists of texts whose objective is to convince potential voters to cast their votes for a given person or party. These texts are conveyed through diverse channels of communication. Traditional channels include the printed media (advertisements in the press, leaflets, billboards, and stickers) and electronic media (propaganda broadcasts on radio, television, and in movie theaters as well as televised debates between major candidates). In the last decade…

Elision of Consonants: Israeli Hebrew

(622 words)

Author(s): Bolozky, Shmuel
In casual Hebrew speech consonant elision applies mostly to sonorant consonants, as in: ?יש לך רגע yéš le.xà régaʿ ‘do you have a moment?’ > yé.še.xà réga > yéš.xa réga החבר שלך àx̱avér šel.xà ‘your (ms) friend’ > àx̱avér še.xà As these examples show, the sonorant l can be elided either in the syllable onset (לך le.xà) or in the coda (שלך šel.xà). Elision is more likely to occur in clitics and affixes, which are high-frequency items by their very nature, or in high-frequency lexical items, since high frequency facilitates recoverability of reduced forms by…

Ellipsis: Biblical Hebrew

(3,000 words)

Author(s): Miller-Naudé, Cynthia L.
Ellipsis involves constructions in which a grammatically required element is omitted by the speaker or writer, thus creating a structural hole or gap. Ellipsis produces utterances which are grammatically incomplete in their surface structure. Less technically, the term ‘elliptical’ is sometimes used to describe utterances which are contextually incomplete and require the hearer to supply contextual information; this usage is not treated here. 1. Terminology Biblical scholars have long discussed instances of ellipsis in Biblical Hebrew. Some describe it with r…

Ellipsis: Modern Hebrew

(3,988 words)

Author(s): Doron, Edit
The syntactic structure of a sentence consists of a construction of syntactic constituents. Some of these constituents are phonologically realized (overt), and others may be phonologically null (covert). The grammar of Modern Hebrew allows null constituents in a wide variety of constructions (Uziel-Karl and Berman 2000; Borochovsky Bar-Aba 2007; 2008; 2010). The phonologically null expression of constituents is sometimes considered the manifestation of colloquial, careless, or hasty speech characteristic of non-standard or immature registers. Ye…

Emphatic Consonants

(733 words)

Author(s): Edzard, Lutz
In Semitic and other branches of Afroasiatic, the term ‘emphatic’ can refer to either a velarized/ pharyngealized pronunciation (phonetically speaking, the R[etracted] T[ongue] R[oot] feature) of certain stops, e.g., in various Arabic dialects, or to an ejective/post-glottalized pronunciation, as can be observed in the modern Ethio-Semitic and South-Arabian languages (cf., e.g., Lipiński 2001:111–112). A lateral quality has also been associated with some emphatic consonants, notably Classical Arabic /ḍ/ (cf. Arabic al-qāḍī ‘the judge’ and Spanish alcalde ‘mayor’). The …

Emphatic Lamed

(498 words)

Author(s): Muraoka, Takamitsu
Since the time of Haupt (1894) many scholars have voiced the opinion that the particle appearing in the consonantal orthography of Biblical Hebrew as -ל l- can serve an emphatic function. In the Masoretic text this is not distinguished from the preposition -ל l-, though they are unlikely to have the same etymology. One recent Biblical Hebrew dictionary (Koehler-Baumgartner 1974:485b–486a) has even created an entry -ל l- “vocative, emphatic” separate from that of the preposition. A number of ancient Semitic languages such as Classical Arabic, Akkadian, Ugaritic…

English, Hebrew Loanwords in

(752 words)

Author(s): Huehnergard, John
A recent large dictionary of English lists over 120 loanwords from Hebrew (see Huehnergard 2010). Many of these are quite specialized, such as the names of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, or words related to Jewish religious practice, such as seder, tzitzit, and yad. But others, such as behemoth, cherub, messiah, schmooze, and tush, have become part of everyday English vocabulary. Hebrew loans into English can be grouped into a few broad chronological and cultural categories. The earliest loans came into English with the introduction of Christianity to…

English Influence on Hebrew

(2,132 words)

Author(s): Rosenhouse, Judith
1. Introduction Throughout its long history, the Hebrew language has come under the influence of many other languages. English is the latest, and currently the most influential, source of influence on Hebrew, due to its abundant use in international communication and in the written materials of modern civilization. As the history of English influence on Hebrew is rather brief, and still ongoing, its results are as yet not finalized. What follows is a description of the historical circumstances and nature of the penetration of English into Hebrew. 2. History The beginning of the hist…

English Loanwords

(2,802 words)

Author(s): Rosenhouse, Judith
1. Introduction This article will focus on English loanwords in Modern Hebrew as spoken in Israel. These loanwords can be treated chronologically (i.e., by borrowing date), by discourse related groups (normative vs. high register, or slang), and by linguistic type (i.e., morphological, syntactic and semantic groups of vocabulary, as well as phonological aspects characterizing their transfer into Hebrew). Loanwords can be used in Hebrew as they are in English, without any adaptation, in a process t…


(518 words)

Author(s): Watson, Wilfred G. E.
‘Enjambment’ occurs when a sentence (or clause) does not end with a line of verse but runs into the next line. It has been defined as “the continuation of syntax and sense across line junctures without a major pause” (Dobbs-Allsopp 2001b:385). Much of Hebrew poetry is in synonymously parallel lines, where the break in meaning (here marked by /) comes at the end of the first line, as in אַל־תִּתְחַ֥ר בַּמְּרֵעִ֑ים אַל־תְּ֝קַנֵּ֗א בָּרְשָׁעִֽים׃ ʾal-tiṯḥar bam-mərēʿīm ʾal-təqannē bå̄-rəšå̄ʿīm ‘Do not get infuriated by evildoers./ Do not be envious of wicked persons’ (Prov. 24.19). Here the end of…