[b-hebrew] Re: Compound Words in Hebrew

Eduard C Hanganu eddhanganu at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 28 08:41:24 EDT 2004

Hello to all!

Are there compound words in Hebrew? A friend with whom I have been 
discussing this matter states:

"Concerning the "evening morning", I was inclined, as you say, to consider 
this phrase as a unit, and somehow it is a unit, but not a compound word. In 
Hebrew, compound words stand in a special connection called status 
constructus (or s'michut), where the second noun has a free (absolute) 
state, and the first one is bound (construct) to the second one, usually 
modified and linked to the second by a makkef (kind of hyphen)."

"That the two are considered as separate nouns, is visible in v. 26, where 
the reference back to them is in form of two definite nouns "ha‘éreb 
wehabbóqer", which is quite strange for our European languages, but in 
Hebrew it is usual (e.g. Num 3:46: literally "the redemption of the three, 
of the seventy and of the two hundreds", meaning: "the redemption of the 273 
people"). So the unity of the evening and of the morning is not to be 
understood as a compound word, but as a syntactical and rhetorical/poetical 
form, an intentionally obscure phrase, fitted for the apocalyptic manner of 
expression (as "a time, two times and half a time"; or "70 weeks"). It is 
quite transparent that the expression is encoded. All apocalyptic is encoded 
language. Especially when it comes to the length of time to the end, or the 
identity of the most dangerous enemies of God."

My question is purely morphological,  and please, allow me to repeat it: 
does the lexicon of the Hebrew language include COMPOUND words? And if the 
answer is affirmative, what is the Grammar that discusses this matter?

Thanks for your help!


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