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Posts Tagged ‘Hebrew Grammar’

Count On It

September 11, 2009 1 comment

[Reposted from my The Glamour of the Grammar column for the Jerusalem Post]

Numbers pop up in the most amazing places. Today we’ll look at a few. And we’ll start with one of the Hebrew words for “few,” because almost paradoxically it’s the plural of the word for “one.” One way to say “a few words” is milim ahadot, literally, “words ones.” While in the singular, “one” means “one,” in the plural it means “some.” Leave it to Hebrew to have a plural for “one.”

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Categories: Hebrew Grammar

Side by Side

August 30, 2009 1 comment

[Reposted from my The Glamour of the Grammar column for the Jerusalem Post]

What do apples, oranges and tomatoes have in common in Hebrew, as opposed to mangoes, bananas and carrots? Let’s find out. (Here’s a hint that won’t surprise you: The difference between the two groups has nothing to do with the foods themselves; it’s a matter of grammar.)

To get started, we look at a construction called smichut in Hebrew – literally, “closeness” – translated as “the construct” in English (creating the unfortunately alliterative phrase “construct construction”).

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Categories: Hebrew Grammar

It’s The Little Things

August 26, 2009 Leave a comment

[Reposted from my The Glamour of the Grammar column for the Jerusalem Post]

It is not unusual to hear Israelis yelling “die!” at each other. That’s because, in Hebrew, dai literally means “enough,” and it’s a common way of telling someone “that’s enough already; now please quit it.” (Two American parents took their children to Israel for the year. One day the five-year-old daughter came home from her new Israeli school and reported that she’d learned a Hebrew word: dai. She reported “it means ‘stop fighting.'”)….

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Categories: Hebrew Grammar