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

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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Secret Languages, Hebrew in: Judeo-Spanish

(547 words)

Author(s): Schwarzwald, Ora (Rodrigue)
The tendency to use foreign words for secret expressions is well known in many languages. As in other Jewish languages, Hebrew has been the diglossic language of Judeo-Spanish in the Sephardic communities. The Hebrew component in Judeo-Spanish is quite large and its application for secret expressions is only part of its general use (Bunis 1993). Hebrew words and phrases have been used as secretive expressions for two purposes: (1) to avoid taboo terms in Judeo-Spanish; (2) to conceal special meanings from outsiders (Schwarzwald 1982; 1983). Hebrew words are used to refer to tabo…

Secret Languages, Hebrew in: Yemenite Judeo-Arabic

(1,103 words)

Author(s): Shachmon, Ori
For their daily communication, Yemenite Jews used a mixed language, which was for the most part a variant of the local Arabic dialect with an integrated Hebrew component, often used instinctively and unconsciously. Yet in certain circumstances Hebrew and Aramaic words were deliberately used as secret elements with the aim of concealing specific meanings from unwanted listeners. The extent of the use of secret expressions correlates with the nature of the relations between the Jews and their Muslim neighbors. In the cities, where the pressure of the go…

Segholates: Modern Hebrew

(1,269 words)

Author(s): Bolozky, Shmuel
For a discussion of the class of Hebrew nouns known as segholates in their historical context Segholates: Pre-Modern Hebrew; below are some comments on their synchronic status in Israeli Hebrew. Segholates are the largest morphological class of words in the native lexicon that does not have word-final stress. As shown in the main entry (Segholates: Pre-Modern Hebrew), this is easily explained from a diachronic perspective: stress assignment applied before the seghol was inserted to break an impermissible word-final consonant cluster, i.e., when the surface penul…

Segholates: Pre-Modern Hebrew

(1,818 words)

Author(s): Huehnergard, John
The ‘segholates’ are a class of nouns originally of the shape C 1 VC 2 C 3, e.g., *qaṭl, *qiṭl, and *quṭl, which in Masoretic Hebrew have undergone anaptyxis (epenthesis), usually with the vowel seghol, to resolve the final consonant cluster that arose as a result of the loss of final vowels marking case endings, e.g., nominative *ʾarṣ́́u > *ʾarṣ > אֶרֶץ ʾεrεṣ ‘earth’. The anaptyctic vowel remains unstressed, with the result that stress falls on the penultimate syllable, in contrast to the normal placement of stress on the ultima in other nominal forms; cf. אֶ֫רֶץ ʾέrεṣ ‘earth’ versus דָּבָ֫ר d…

Semantic Bleaching

(1,236 words)

Author(s): Gianto, Agustinus
The term ‘semantic bleaching’ refers to a type of semantic change whereby the conventional lexical meaning of a word is blurred when the word is used to signal a grammatical function. This change is also called ‘fading’, ‘depletion’, ‘attrition’, ‘weakening’, and ‘desemanticization’. The English verb will originally meant ‘to want’, but at some point it came to be used more as an auxiliary to indicate possibility, and further, to mark the future, hence signaling modality and then tense. This change is part of grammaticalization, i.e, “the …

Semantic Domains

(1,426 words)

Author(s): de Blois, Reinier
A semantic domain or semantic field is a group of words with related meanings. These groupings play an important role in lexicography. Even though “the meaning of a word does not depend on the meaning of other words, to establish what the meaning of a word is one has to compare it with the meanings of other, intuitively related words” (Wierzbicka 1992:210). A simple example will illustrate what is meant here. A lexicographer who wants to describe the meaning of the English word ‘apple’ can only …

Semitic Language, Hebrew as a

(2,363 words)

Author(s): Huehnergard, John
To say that Hebrew is a Semitic language is to claim that it is related to other languages that exhibit similar structures and vocabulary, and that this relationship is genetic, that is, that the relationship exists because Hebrew and those other languages descend from a common ancestor, which is usually called Proto-Semitic. The Semitic family of languages is also part of a larger macro-family called Afroasiatic (Afroasiatic and Hebrew: Linguistic Features). The features that Hebrew shares with…

Sentence Patterns

(1,820 words)

Author(s): Kuzar, Ron
Traditionally, syntax has revolved around the identification of strings of words as sentence components, namely as subject, predicate, object, or adjunct. The idea that different sentence types may be described in terms of parts of speech has been discussed extensively in structuralism (Structural Linguistics), as for example in the works of Harris (1946; 1951), Fries (1952), and Hiorth (1962). Structuralism’s focus on Western European languages, and generativism’s early focus on English, emphasized the fact that all sentence forms in these languages ar…

Sephardi Pronunciation Traditions of Hebrew

(2,190 words)

Author(s): Henshke, Yehudit
The traditions of Hebrew pronunciation known as Sephardi were very widespread across the Jewish diaspora. They were found in many communities resident in or originating from Europe, in all communities of North Africa and in the majority of communities of Asia. The table below presents the classification of the Sephardi traditions into subgroups given by Morag (1971) with some modifications in the light of more recent research: The Sephardi traditions are ultimately related to the medieval Palestinian pronunciation tradition which is represented by the Palestini…

Septuagint, Underlying Knowledge of Hebrew

(1,200 words)

Author(s): Joosten, Jan
Although the Septuagint is a Greek text, it is possible to reason back to the mental dictionary and grammar of the translators. This provides an interesting window on the knowledge of Hebrew during the Hellenistic period (the bulk of the Septuagint having been produced between ca. 280 and 120 B.C.E.). A number of caveats need to be taken into account, however (Barr 1968:245–251). Any given passage of the Septuagint may be based on a text diverging from the received Masoretic text. In addition, t…
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