Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

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Gentilic: Biblical Hebrew
(1,253 words)

The gentilic suffix - -ī (sometimes referred to by the Arabic term nisba) is used to form adjectives that denote some form of relation, such as affiliation, origin, or numerical order. Originally this suffix was consonantal (-iy); indeed, in Classical Arabic, on account of its case endings, it is still so, in fact with a geminated y that has preserved its consonantal nature. It has also been preserved in Aramaic, with a slight phonetic change, namely, יַ - -ay, especially in the plural, e.g., יהוּדָיֵ֗א yəhūḏå̄yē ‘Jews’ (Ezra 4.12), כַּשְׂדָּיֵא kaśdå̄yē (ketib) ‘Chaldeans’ (Dan. 4.4) (s…

Cite this page
Hilman, Yitzhak, “Gentilic: Biblical Hebrew”, in: Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, Edited by: Geoffrey Khan. Consulted online on 13 April 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2212-4241_ehll_EHLL_COM_00000376>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: 9789004176423



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