Learning to Read Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar

By Robert Ray Ellis | Go to book overview

Lesson 5
NOUNS, VERBS, AND SENTENCES;
DEFINITE ARTICLE

5A NOUNS, VERBS, AND SENTENCES
The purpose of this section is to provide some fundamental information about nouns, verbs, and sentences, in order to form a basis for the translation of simple sentences.
1. Nouns
a. Gender and number
1. With regard to gender, every noun is either masculine or feminine; no nouns are neuter.
2. With regard to number, most nouns have singular and plural forms; a few have dual forms. As the name suggests, the dual form normally indicates a pair of something.
b. Generally, the inflection of a noun (through the occurrence of certain vowels, prefixes, or suffixes) indicates the gender and number of the noun. The means for recognizing inflected nouns will be discussed in a future lesson.
c. The simplest form of a noun is that by which it is listed in a lexicon; hence, it is called the lexical form. The lexical form of a noun is normally the masculine or feminine, singular form. It is this form by which nouns will be presented in the vocabulary lists of lessons.

2. Verbs
a. Indicative verbs (that is, verbs that make statements) occur in two tenses: perfect and imperfect. The nature of these tenses will be discussed in future lessons.
b. Person, gender, and number
1. Unlike English, a verb in Hebrew indicates whether the subject is first person (“I,” “we”), second person (“you”), or third person (“he,” “she,” “they”).
2. Again unlike English, a verb in Hebrew indicates the gender of the subject — either masculine or feminine.

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