Learning to Read Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar

By Robert Ray Ellis | Go to book overview

Lesson 9
PRONOMINAL SUFFIXES ON NOUNS

9A PRONOMINAL SUFFIXES ON NOUNS

1. Introduction
a. A pronominal suffix can be attached to the end of a word to communicate the concept of a pronoun in relationship with that word. A pronominal suffix may be placed on nouns, substantival adjectives, prepositions, verbs, adverbs, and particles.
b. When attached to nouns, pronominal suffixes usually serve the function of possessive pronouns (“my,” “your,” “his,” “her,” “our,” and “their”). There are two sets of forms for pronominal suffixes used with nouns. One set is employed with singular nouns; the other set with plural nouns.
c. The pronominal suffixes are attached to the construct forms of singular and plural nouns; they cannot be attached to absolute forms.
d. Since a pronominal suffix can appear only on a construct noun, and a construct noun cannot take a definite article, a noun with such a suffix can never be articular. However, a noun with a pronominal suffix is made definite by its suffix. For example, (“my head”) is a construct noun with a first person, singular, pronominal suffix (“my”). While this noun has no definite article, it is nevertheless definite because it has a suffix that refers to a particular head: “my head.” In fact this noun and pronominal suffix can be translated “the head of me.” Since a noun with a pronominal suffix is definite, an attributive adjective which follows such a noun will take the definite article.1

2. Pronominal suffixes for singular nouns
a. The following chart presents the forms of the pronominal suffixes which are commonly used with singular nouns, along with translations of those suffixes.2

1 Kelley, 71.

2 Alternate forms of some of the pronominal suffixes for singular nouns do occur in rare situations. See Joüon, §94h.

-80-

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