[b-hebrew] Re: Compound Words in Hebrew

George F. Somsel gfsomsel at juno.com
Mon Jun 28 09:15:01 EDT 2004

On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 07:41:24 -0500 "Eduard C Hanganu"
<eddhanganu at hotmail.com> writes:
> 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!
> Eduard

Not to make any comment on the presence or lack thereof of compound words
in Hebrew, I don't think this can be considered as a compound since if
this were considered to be one concept rather than 2 the period
envisioned would then be 6 years rather than 3.


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