Nouns with double plural forms in biblical Hebrew

Meirav Tubul

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2 Scopus citations


Most nouns in Hebrew have one plural form. However, a number of nouns have two plural forms: one with the -îm morpheme and the other with the -ît morpheme. This paper will discuss the nouns with double forms in the plural in Biblical Hebrew. The central question at the focus of this paper is whether both plural forms are used in conditioned or free distribution, and what the variables that influence the choice of each plural form are. It was found that for most nouns the two plural forms are used in complementary distribution. The dominant variables that affect the choice of the plural morpheme are various literary and chronological variables, such as attraction, stylistic variation in adjacent forms and verses, as well as the literary genre of the text - poetry and wisdom literature as opposed to prose. Other variables are a complementary grammatical distribution which is dependent on the status of the word in the sentence and the conditioned distribution in the phrase in which the form appears. The semantic variable, which until now was the dominant variable discussed in studies of these nouns, was found to affect only a small number of cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-210
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Semitic Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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