[b-hebrew] One question about Yonah

Peter Kirk peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Mon Aug 18 17:13:51 EDT 2003

On 18/08/2003 14:02, Karl Randolph wrote:

>Hi All:
>I was wondering the same question, though not limited to the example in Jonah.
>I noticed what I think are over 100 different nouns where they are sometimes used a final hey as in the feminine, sometimes without, as in masculine. I would have to go back to verify all the uses, but it is common enough to be noticed.
>I wonder what it portends. Is it a clue to ancient pronunciation that changed long before the Masorites? Does it have a linguistic effect long since forgotten?
>Then there are many where the addition of a final hey changes the meaning, usually akin to the English adding a -ness or -ice to a noun. Is there a pattern to recognize which is which? I haven’t found it.
>Has anyone else noticed this?
>Karl W. Randolph.
One possible relevant point which has not been mentioned here is that 
authors sometimes used gender as a poetic device i.e. deliberately 
pairing or contrasting genders. This was of course much easier than it 
might have been because some nouns had both masculine and feminine 
forms. Now strictly these words are not in poetry, but that does not 
mean that the author could not have been using the gender contrast as a 
literary device.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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