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Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/81. Derivation of Nouns

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§81. Derivation of Nouns.
Brockelmann, Grundriss, p. 329 ff.

81a Nouns are by their derivation either primitive, i.e. cannot be referred to any verbal stem at present extant (see §82), such as אָב father, אֵם mother (but see both words in the Lexicon; according to Stade and others אָב, אֵם, &c., are children’s words and terms of endearment, and so really primitive nouns), or derivative, i.e. either Derivativa verbalia (§§8385), e.g. רָם high, רָמָה high place, מָרוֹם height, from רוּם to be high, or less frequently Derivativa denominativa (§86), e.g. מַרְגְּלוֹת the place at the feet, from רֶ֫גֶל foot.

81b Rem. 1. The earlier grammarians consider the verb alone as stem, and therefore all nouns as verbals, dividing them into (a) Formae nudae, i.e. such as have only the three (or two) radicals, and (b) Formae auctae, such as have formative letters or syllables added at the beginning or end, e.g. מַמְלָכָה, מַלְכוּת. The formative letters used for this purpose are ה א מ נ ת י ו (הֶֽאֱמַנְתִּיו),[1] and the treatment of nouns formerly followed this order.

81c According to the view of roots and stems presented in §30d, nouns (other than denominatives) are derived not from the verbal stem, but either from the (abstract) root or from the still undefined stem. In the following pages, however, the arrangement according to the verbal stem is retained as being simpler for the beginner. Cf. §79a.

81d 2. Compound nouns as appellatives are very rare in Hebrew, e.g. בְּלִיַּ֫עַל worthlessness, baseness. On the other hand, they very frequently occur as proper names, e.g. גַּבְרִיאֵל (man of God), יְהֽוֹיָקִים (Yahwe raises up), יְהֽוֹנָתָן (Yahwe gave), &c.[2]

  1. From this vox memorialis the nomina aucta are also called by the older grammarians nomina heemantica.
  2. G. Rammelt (Über die zusammengesetzten Nomina im Hebr., Halle, 1883, and Leipzig, 1884) recognizes as appellatives only צְפַרְדֵּעַ (cf. below, §85w) and צַלְמָ֫וֶת (the latter certainly incorrectly [see, however, Nöldeke, ZATW. 1897, p. 183 ff.]). In p. 8 ff. the author gives a list of ‘logical compounds’, i.e. new terms formed by composition with the negatives לֹא, בְּלִי, מִבְּלִי.