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Modern HebrewAn Essential GrammarThird EditionThis new edition of Modern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar is anup-to-date and practical reference guide to the most important aspects ofmodern Hebrew as used by contemporary native speakers of the language.It presents an accessible description of the language, focusing on the realpatterns of use today. The Grammar aims to serve as a reference sourcefor the learner and user of Hebrew irrespective of level, by setting out thecomplexities of the language in short, readable sections that are clear andfree from jargon.It is ideal either for independent study or for students in schools, colleges,universities and adult classes of all types.Features of this new edition include:xxxxExpanded coverage of nouns, verbs and adjectivesA glossary of grammatical termsA full exercise keyMore examples throughoutLewis Glinert is Professor of Hebrew Studies at Dartmouth College, NewHampshire, USA.

Routledge Essential GrammarsEssential Grammars are available for the following languages:ChineseDanishDutchEnglishFinnishModern GreekModern dishThaiUrduOther titles of related interest published by Routledge:Colloquial HebrewBy Zippi Lyttleton and Tamar Wang

Modern HebrewAn Essential GrammarThird EditionLewis GlinertROUTLEDGENEW YORK AND LONDON

To the memory of Sarah KatzA teacher of inspirationFirst published 1991by the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London)as Chik-Chak! A Gateway to Modern Hebrew GrammarSecond edition published 1994 in the USA and Canadaby Routledge270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016Simultaneously published in the UKby Routledge2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RNReprinted 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003Third edition published 2005 by RoutledgeRoutledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group 1991, 1994, 2005 Lewis GlinertThis edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.“To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’scollection of thousands of eBooks please go to”All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted orreproduced or utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical,or other means, now known or hereafter invented, includingphotocopying and recording, or in any information storage orretrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication DataGlinert, Lewis.Modern Hebrew: an essential grammar – third editionp. cm. – (Routledge essential grammars) Includes indexI. Hebrew language – Grammar – Textbooks.I. Title. II. Series: Essential Grammar.PJ4567.3.G58 2004492.4 ' 8421 – dc222004000795British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataA catalogue record for this book is available from the British LibraryISBN 0-203-32941-4 Master e-book ISBNISBN 0–415–70081–7 (hbk)ISBN 0–415–70082–5 (pbk)

ContentsPrefaceGlossaryHebrew grammatical terminologyxiiixvixixLEVEL ONE1 The simple sentence: basic word order2 The simplest sentences: ‘Me Tarzan, you Jane’(a) The pattern « Õ ‘Yoram is tired’(b) The pattern Ò ³ Þ Õ ‘Yoram’s in Tel Aviv’(c) The pattern ‘Yoram is a . . .’(d) The pattern ‘I am . . ., he is . . .’3 The personal pronouns4 The definite article 5 The Hebrew for ‘a’, ‘some’6–833567Masculine and feminine, singular and plural6 Masculine and feminine nouns (gender)7 The feminine and plural of nouns(a) The endings and ³Õ – the simplest noun type(b) The plural of nouns of the type (c) The plural of nouns of the type ¡ ª (segolate nouns)(d) The plural of nouns ending in ³â(e) The feminine of nouns denoting people, e.g. Õ§ ‘teacher’8 The feminine and plural of adjectives(a) The simplest adjective type: ³ , Õ¡(b) Adjectives ending in (c) Adjectives of the type Õ ‘large’, ¡ ‘small’7813v

Contents9 Noun adjective phrases, e.g. ¡ ‘small boy’10 Quantity phrases11 Noun determiner phrases (‘this . . ., the same . . ., which . . .’)16171812–13 Agreement12 Agreement of (a) For noun adjective: Õ¡ ç ‘the wet dog’(b) For noun : ç ‘this dog’13 Agreement for gender and number(a) Adjective agreement(b) Agreement of verbs(c) Agreement of ‘particles of being’(d) Agreement of determiners: ³ ç ,³ , etc.(e) Agreement of quantity words1914 Numerals(a) The numerals 1 to 10(b) The numerals 11 to 19(c) The numerals 20 to 9915 Partitives: ‘many of the . . ., all the . . .’16 Pronouns and words standing in for nouns(a) Definite pronouns(b) Indefinite pronouns: ‘someone, something . . .’(c) Adjectives without their noun: Õ ‘the green one’(d) Numerals without their noun(e) Quantity words without their noun17 Possessives and constructs Ò ‘Yoram’s brother’(a) Possessive ‘of’: Õ Ú Ò ‘my brother’(b) Possessive ‘my, your’, etc.: Ú(c) The construct: set phrases(d) Construct endings(e) in construct phrases231926262918–23 The inflections of the verbvi18 Introduction19 The past tense(a) Form of the past tense(b) Syntax of the past tense(c) Meaning of the past tense3334

Contents20 The present tense(a) Form of the present tense(b) Use of the present tense21 The future tense(a) Form of the future tense(b) Use of the future tense22 The imperative(a) Form of the imperative(b) Use of the imperative23 The infinitive(a) Form of the infinitive(b) Use of the infinitive24 Root and base25 Word patterns: binyanim and mishkalim(a) Introduction(b) Functions of the verb patterns(c) Functions of the noun and adjective patterns26–9394041414549Binyan PI’EL and HITPA’EL28 PI’EL29 HITPA’EL30–236Illustrating the four active binyanim26 Binyan PA’AL(a) Two-syllable PA’AL(b) One-syllable PA’AL, e.g. ‘get up’27 Binyan HIF’IL28–9355152The passive binyanim: NIF’AL, HUF’AL, PU’AL30 NIF’AL31 HUF’AL32 PU’AL55565733 Direct and indirect object34 Object markers(a) The direct object marker ³ (b) Indirect objects with ,Þ , « ,§ , « 5959vii

Contents35–6Prepositions and other prefixes and suffixes35 Preposition suffix(a)61Preposition suffix: , Þ , etc.(b)Preposition suffix: ³ Õ ,Õ³Õ , etc.(c)Preposition suffix: « and § (d)Preposition suffix: Ú Þ (e)Preposition suffix: « , , , Ñ36 Pronunciation rules373865(a)â , , ,Þ and the like(b)Which syllable is stressed in nouns and adjectives?Ú ‘there is, there are’‘I have’: Ú 686839 Questions(a)Questions of the type ? Ò- ³ Þ Õ (b)‘What, where, when’40 Negation or how to say ‘no’71(a)‘I’m not . . ., he isn’t . . ., they didn’t’(b) as the opposite of Ú (c)Negative instructions41 ‘The cake in the fridge, stamps from Israel’42Degree words: , ç - ç , § , etc.43 Adverbs of time and place in the sentence44–9727273Embedded clauses44 The pattern Ú¡ « ³ Õ : ‘I want to sneeze’7345 The pattern Õ¡: ‘It’s good to smile’7446 Reported thoughts and object clauses74 47 Relative clauses with Ú75 Þ ,Ú Ñ, etc.48 Adverbial clauses: ç , ,Ú7649 Sentences without a subject78(a)viii70(b)The ‘general’ plural ! Ú Õ,¡ Ú ‘Quiet, people are thinking!’ Ú , ç , without a subject

ContentsLEVEL TWO50–950Special root-types ' roots(a)(b)(c)(d) ' in PA’AL and PI’EL ' in HITPA’EL and HIF’IL ' in NIF’AL51 Roots with ‘gutturals’(a)Introduction(b)When the first letter is a ‘guttural’(c)When the middle letter is a ‘guttural’(d)When the final letter is a ‘guttural’52 Roots with , , : ‘soft’ or ‘hard’?(a)Usually soft(b)Usually hard(c)Always soft53 Four-consonant roots54 ' roots(a)(b)81Introduction85909293Regular " verbsDeviant " verbs55 ‘Cross-over’: roots with initial , ,ª ,Û ,Ú9656 Maverick verbs97(d) " roots Õ and (a)(b)(c)(e)Some verbs beginning with (f)The verb ‘be’(g)The verbs ‘live’ and ³§ ‘die’(h)«"« roots57 HIF’IL verbs with two-consonant stems: , ç (b) ç verbs verbs(c)What are the roots of these verbs?(a)102ix

Contents58 PA’AL verbs with -i-a- in the future: ‘grow’(a) , , (b) ç Ú , ç Ú , Ú(c) ÚÞ ,Ú (d) " verbs: § , § 59 A minor binyan: the PO’EL and HITPO’EL60 More plurals of nouns(a) Plurals ending in (b) Duals ending in (c) Plural of segolate nouns with ³- (e.g. ³ Õª§ ‘tradition’)(d) Plural nouns: some exceptions61 Vowel-raising: § â - Õ Ò ,Õ âç- ç 62 Generic plurals: ‘I hate cockroaches’63 Plural loss: Ú Û « ‘twenty persons’64–8104107108112113113Noun types (mishkalim)Action nouns, e.g. Úâ ‘renewal’Nouns from adjectives, e.g. ³â ¡ ‘slowness’The noun patterns « ì and « ì Nouns with the suffix and (a) The suffix (b) The suffix 68 Some other noun patterns6465666711411511611711869–71 Adjective types69 Passive adjectives (ª â § ,ª ⧠,ªâ ç )70 Adjectives from nouns71 Other meaningful adjective patterns12312412572 Present tense ‘verbs’ as nouns and adjectives12873–7xConstructs and possessives73 The construct as a possessive129(a) Noun noun, e.g. ç Õ ‘the bride’s parents’(b–c) Possessive suffixes: . . . Õ , Õ (b) With singular nouns(c) With plural nouns(d) Construct adjective noun e.g. « Û - ç â ‘long-haired’74 of possession: « Þ á ç ñ ª ñ ‘Look into her eyes’134

Contents75–6Construct nouns – vowel changes75 Construct segolates(a) The Þ / ì type (initial )(b) The « Þ type (initial )(c) The ª Õ¡ type (initial Õ)76 Some other vowel changes in constructs(a) Loss of a: Õ § Õ § (b) Inserting an -i-: , Þ , etc.(c) Some important oddments134 Ú ³ Þ 77 Double possessives: Û13878 Preposition suffix: Õ§ç , Þ , Þ 13813679–81 Numerals79 Definite numerals: ‘the three idiots’80 Ordinals: ‘first, second, third . . .’81 Hundreds and thousands13914114182 Tense(a) Past habitual tense: ‘I used to . . .’(b) Unreal conditionals: ‘If I were . . .’(c) Tense in reported thought ç , and Ú Õñ(d) Tense with Ú83 The object suffix: Õ³Õ ‘to build it’84 Reflexives: ‘myself, yourself . . .’85 ‘One another’86 Experience adjectives: , Õ ‘I’m comfortable, I’m cold’14214514514614687–90 Comparatives87 Comparative phrases(a) § ³ Õ ‘more than’ § ‘than’(b) Ú(c) § ‘too’, ì ª § ‘enough’(d) ‘the more that . . ., the more . . .’88 ‘The most . . .’89 ‘As big as’: . . . Õ§ç 90 Measurement: . . . Õ § ‘How big is . . .’147149149150xi

Contents91–6Adverbials91 Adverbs of manner: e.g. ³â § Þ ‘quickly’92 Echo phrases: e.g. ¡ â§ Õ ‘won decisively’93 Þ of time, place and means ‘today, this year’94 Õ , Ú95 of destination: e.g. Õ ‘northwards’96 § of location: e.g. §Û § ‘on the left’15015215215315315497 The gerund: Õ« Þ ‘on his arrival’98 Where to position and 15415599–100 Negativesxii99 Inflexion of 100 ‘No one, nothing, nowhere, non-, un-, neither’155156101 Questions(a) Questions using (b) Questions using ‘whether’102 Wishes and requests Õ (a) ‘I want (him) to . . .’ . . . Ú(b) Commands with Ú 103 ‘Either . . . or’: Õ . . . Õ 104 Clauses as subject: ‘Painting is fun’105 Relative clauses(a) Relative clauses with a pronoun ,. . . Ú § ,. . . Ú § (b) . . . Ú(c) Relative clauses with 106 When the order is not subject–verb–object(a) Inverting subject and verb(b) Starting with the object(c) Presentative verbs107 Backtracking108 Israeli spelling158ExercisesVocabulary for exercisesKey to exercisesIndex159159160160162164165167217261299

PrefaceModern Hebrew: An Essential Grammar is intended as a grammar andworkbook for the first two years of modern Hebrew at high school oruniversity.The book covers the features of syntax and morphology – colloquial andmore formal – that are most useful to the average student. Many otherfeatures of modern Hebrew might arguably have been included – but wewished to keep things short and sweet. For a much fuller picture of thelanguage, teachers and advancing students are referred to our TheGrammar of Modern Hebrew (Cambridge University Press, 1989).Modern Hebrew is not a graded, step-by-step coursebook. Of those thereare many. It supplies what they generally lack: a simple, up-to-dateoutline of Hebrew structure.The grammar and exercises are arranged by topic, with several sections onthe noun, several on the adverb, and so on. Using the contents or index,students will be able to home in on the points of grammar that they wishto learn, in whichever order suits them best. The exercises should providean entertaining challenge, but a carefully managed one: the exercises forLevel One require no knowledge of Level Two (and in fact littleknowledge of any subsequent sections in Level One), and all vocabulary islisted in the custom-built word list.If some of this vocabulary is rather more colorful than the usualbeginners’ fare, so much the better. The old ‘basic Hebrew’ word listsupon which modern Hebrew courses have rested for forty years arestarting to look distinctly dated.xiii

PrefaceThus the exercises in this book are more than just an exercise-ground forthe grammar: they also introduce a colorful spectrum of vocabulary,spanning the colloquial and the elegant, current affairs, kitchens andkibbutzim, and religious and secular culture.To the teacherThe way we have divided the material between Levels One and Two maycause surprise. Some of the things traditionally fed to beginners do notappear until Level Two – and not by accident. Hebrew education has hadan unhealthy tradition of fussing over inflections while ignoring syntax,and the written word, even to this day, gets more attention than thecolloquial language. We have endeavored to redress the balance.At the same time, in leaving all defective verb inflections until Level Two,we have taken advantage of the fact that language teachers today nolonger deal with each grammatical structure fully as soon as it crops up.Instead, a word with³ or³« Õ may be learned simply as avocabulary item, or even just as part of an expression, until the time isripe for the grammatical facts of the verb or the guttural verb to beconfronted in toto. The signal we have tried to convey in leaving alldefective verbs till Level Two is that there are many more important – andabove all, simpler – things to be learned systematically before these.A word on colloquial language, ‘slang’, and ‘grammatical errors’: someteachers may be surprised to see that we have given primacy to the normsof the average educated Israeli speaker rather than the traditional normsof school grammar books. For example, forms of the typethroughout the verb tables, rather than the ‘classical’ ñ ª ç appearform ñ ª ç .Similarly, our nikkud seeks to echo colloquial pronunciation rather thanBiblical norms. The reason is simple: the main purpose of modernHebrew teaching, as of modern French or Spanish teaching, is to teachstudents to understand and simulate an average educated speaker – not toxivsound like a newsreader or funeral orator.

PrefaceThanks are due to the Research and Publications Committee of the Schoolof Oriental and African Studies for sponsoring the first, experimentaledition of this book, to Simon Bell of Routledge for bringing it to fullfruition, to Professor Reuven Tzur of Tel Aviv University for his wizardrywith the Hebrew Mac and to my students at the universities of Londonand Chicago, perforce anonymous, for being such magnificent guinea-pigsin the evolution of an idea. ² « London 1993/5753About the third editionThis third edition is a response to the comments and suggestions of themany teachers and students who have used this book over the past tenyears. Mindful in particular of the needs of intermediate students, I haveintroduced several new points of syntax and expanded the coverage ofnoun, verb, and adjective morphology and their semantics, as well as theexercises to match. Thanks are due to the reviewers for their valuableadvice and criticisms, and above all to Routledge for their unstintingcommitment to the teaching of the Hebrew language around the globe.Yishar kocham.Lewis GlinertDartmouth College, USA2003/5764xv

GlossaryxviAction nouns indicate an action: destruction, dancing, development.Actives are the forms of the verbs that indicate ‘doing an action’: hegrabbed.Adjectives are words that describe: a bad boy, the eggs are bad.Adverbials are any word, phrase or clause that tells us how, when, where,or why: he stopped suddenly, he stopped after the lights, he stopped toscratch his nose.Adverbs are any one-word adverbial: he sings loudly, he always knows.Agreement shows that a word hangs together with a particular noun – theword may agree in number and gender (sometimes even in person)with that noun: times are changing (not: is changing).Bases are the basic uninflected forms, before the addition of inflectionalprefixes and endings. Thus the bases of kibbutzim and madricha arekibbutz and madrich.Binyan: a verb pattern. There are seven binyanim, allowing one to build avariety of verbs from a single root.Clauses are sentences nested inside the larger sentence: he thinks you’recrazy.Comparatives denote more, most, as (e.g. easy as) and the like.Construct phrases are two Hebrew words side by side (usually two nounsand usually a set phrase), much like English soccer game, apple tree.The first noun in the Hebrew is called ‘the construct noun’ and oftendisplays a special construct ending.Definite article: the word ‘the’.Degree words are a special sort of adverb, indicating degree: very cold,somewhat strange, more slowly, I quite agree.Demonstratives single out: this tape, that disk, such ideas (demonstrativedeterminers), give me this, what’s that (demonstrative pronouns).

GlossaryDeterminers are words added to a noun to indicate its identity: which guy,any time, this tape, the same guy.Feminine. See masculine.Gender. See masculine.Generic plural: refers to ‘x in general’: I hate exams, dentists chew gum.Gerunds are a verb form that does the job of a noun: on arriving inIsrael . . ., before meeting his fiancée . . . .Imperative: a verb form expressing a request: kiss me! stop!Infinitive: a special verb form that is unchanged for gender or plural, andhas an abstract meaning. In English: to go, to be, to squeeze.Inflections are the variations in number, gender, tense, etc. that can becreated in a word by adding prefixes, suffixes, etc.: take, takes, took,taken . . . long, longer, longest.Masculine and feminine: all Hebrew nouns have a certain ‘gender’, eithermasculine or feminine. This has nothing essentially to do with male orfemale.Mishkal: a noun or adjective pattern, with a distinctive set of vowels,prefixes or suffixes.Nouns indicate a person or thing – concrete or abstract: mat, mate,materialism.Object: the object of a verb is the person or thing undergoing the action: Igot jelly.Object marker: the small word (preposition) that often introduces objectsin Hebrew and English: I looked at Joel, he thought of jelly.Ordinals indicate order by number: first, third, twenty-fourth.Partitives indicate ‘part of’: some of, all of, three of, most.Passives: forms of verbs indicating ‘undergoing an action’: he wasgrabbed, I am asked by many people. (Compare actives.) Hebrew hasspecial binyanim for the passive.Person: depending on whether the subject of the verb is I or we (‘firstperson’), you (‘second person’) or he, she, they, or any noun (‘thirdperson’), the form of the verb may vary, even in English: I am, youare, Jane is.Personal pronouns denote I, you, he, she, it, we, they.Plural indicates ‘more than one’: dogs vs. dog.Possessive indicates to whom or what something belongs or relates: Jane’shusband, my surprise, the end of the world.xvii

GlossaryPrefixes ar

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