Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics

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Indefinite Article
(611 words)

In no period of the Hebrew language has there ever been an element which can be called an indefinite article. Indefiniteness is simply ‘marked’ by the lack of a definite article. Cf. Biblical Hebrew אֶל־עִ֔יר ʾεl-ʿīr ‘to a city’ (Deut. 20.10) and אֶל־הָעִ֑יר ʾεl-hå̄-ʿīr ‘to the city’ (Josh. 8.5). However, it is not infrequently the case in Biblical Hebrew that the definite article is often missing where expected, and so the lack of the article does not always indicate indefiniteness in the Bible. An example is שֵׁבֶט šēḇεṭ ‘the scepter’ in the passage לֽאׁ־יָס֥וּר שֵׁ֙בֶט֙ מִֽיהוּדָ֔ה lō-yå̄sū…

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Rubin, Aaron D., “Indefinite Article”, in: Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, Edited by: Geoffrey Khan. Consulted online on 22 February 2024 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2212-4241_ehll_EHLL_COM_00000720>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: 9789004176423

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