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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Syllable Structure: Biblical Hebrew

(5,662 words)

Author(s): Khan, Geoffrey
The sources for the study of syllable structure in the standard Tiberian tradition of Biblical Hebrew are the Tiberian vocalization system and medieval sources close to the Tiberian tradition that elucidate this system. One of the key starting points for analyzing the syllable structure of Tiberian Hebrew is the understanding of the original function of the shewa sign. The quality of vocalic shewa in the Tiberian Reading Tradition was generally the same as that of the pataḥ vowel sign, i.e., the maximally low vowel [a]. When occurring before a guttural consonant or the letter yod it was …

Syllable Structure: Modern Hebrew

(2,200 words)

Author(s): Cohen-Gross, Dalia
The syllable plays a central role in phonological theory as an organizing principle for grouping segments into sequences (see, e.g., Haugen 1956; Fudge 1969; Selkirk 1982), and psycholinguists have recognized it as the fundamental building block of speech, both in production and perception (see, e.g., Selinker 1992:10; Ben-Dror et al. 1995; Share and Blum 2001; Siok et al. 2003). The basic elements of a syllable are consonants (C) and vowels (V), arranged in a sequence of onset (the initial segment), nucleus (the central segment), and coda (the closing segment). The nucleus (V o…


(6 words)

see Metonymy and Synecdoche

Synonym: Biblical Hebrew

(412 words)

Author(s): S.J., Paul Mankowski
Synonyms are words of the same language with the same or a strongly similar meaning. Synonyms may be ‘co-extensional’ if they refer to the same referent (cf.אֱדוֹם ʾε̆ḏōm ‘Edom’ and שֵׂעִיר śē ʿīr ‘Seir’, place names which apply to the same territory), or ‘co-intensional’, if they denote the same or at least overlapping properties (cf. דַּל dal and אֶבְיוֹן ʾε̆ḇyōn, both ‘poor’). As a natural language, Biblical Hebrew (BH) existed as a lexically open system continuously adaptive to social, dialectal, and intellectual changes by adding to its vocabulary, thu…

Synonym: Rabbinic Hebrew

(1,768 words)

Author(s): Shivtiel, Avihai
1. Introduction Although most of the biblical lexicon is used in Rabbinic Hebrew, either as part of the latter’s own vocabulary or in reference to biblical passages, i.e., quotations or allusions, many biblical words and phrases do not appear in the Mishnah, in either of the Talmuds, in the midrashim, or in other Rabbinical works. Moreover, we may assume that the texts that have reached us do not contain the complete linguistic wealth of Hebrew used at the time, but only the vocabulary the writers of the texts required for their writings, so t…

Syntactic-Semantic Interface in Hebrew

(3,149 words)

Author(s): Kotek, Hadas
The syntax-semantics interface is concerned with the relationship between two kinds of recursive procedures, namely, the procedures that generate sentences in a given language and the procedures that assign meaning to those sentences. This entry reviews this complex relationship in light of research in generative linguistic theory. Natural language often challenges speakers to derive salient differences in meaning from superficially similar expressions. For example, sentence (1) implies that Danny will do his homework himself, while in (2), …

Syntax: Biblical Hebrew

(7,733 words)

Author(s): Zewi, Tamar
1. Introduction In the following survey the syntactic structure of Biblical Hebrew is primarily presented through a description of the realization of the three basic grammatical relations, the attributive, the predicative, and the objective. These syntactic relations are clearly reflected in the Semitic case system, which marks the different syntactic status of attributes, subjects/predicates, and objects/adverbials by three distinct vowels: i, u, and a, respectively (Goldenberg 1998b). From this case system only vestiges have survived in Biblical Hebrew. Phrases like חַֽיְ…

Syntax: Modern Hebrew

(10,994 words)

Author(s): Halevy, Rivka
1. Introduction Modern Hebrew is a fusion language, including elements from all the historical layers of the language. To quote Ben-Ḥayyim (1992:59), “nothing in it has died and so there exist—and are in use—different chronological layers side by side, not on top of one another as in languages with a historic continuity”. However, very frequently, in cases in which A´ succeeds A of an earlier layer of Hebrew, both A and A´ coexist, though differentiated either functionally or stylistically. In add…

Syntax: Rabbinic Hebrew

(6,135 words)

Author(s): Azar, Moshe
Some of the main syntactic features that are typical of Rabbinic Hebrew can be summarized under a number of headings. 1. The Definite Article In general, one might say, especially in comparison with modern usage, that a certain laxity in the usage of the definite article -ה ha- ‘the’ is characteristic of Rabbinic Hebrew. Indeed, the definite article may be absent where it would be present in modern texts and present where it would be absent. An example of a ‘superfluous’ article with a semantically unspecific (unknown) noun is found in: ראה את המציאה raʾa ʾet ham-meṣiʾa ‘If he saw the (= a…