Wiktionary talk:About Hebrew/archives/2010

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{{he-present of}} and {{he-Present of}}[edit]

I've just created {{he-present of}} and {{he-Present of}}. I think a verb can have up to 52 present participle forms (2 genders × 2 numbers × 3 states + 2 genders × 2 numbers × 1 construct state × 10 pronominal suffixes), maybe even more than that if you count pausal forms, but these templates just support the 4 main ones (2 genders × 2 numbers × 1 indefinite state), since it's fairly clear how to handle those.

Please take a look, try them out, and let me know what you think. If these look good to y'all, I'll move on to templates for other moods and tenses.

Thanks in advance!

RuakhTALK 19:59, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

I like these templates; thanks for creating them. I even like the . parameter, although it will be hard to remember (as nodot is usual, with a different default).—msh210 19:37, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm glad to hear it. :-)   (BTW, I'm waiting for RU's feedback on some things before moving on to other similar templates, since in the past he's expressed strong opinions about these kinds of formatting parameters. If I don't hear back from him soon, I guess I'll plow ahead without it.) —RuakhTALK 13:29, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

unusual forms[edit]

I frequently see peculiar forms in translations of words, like people who seem to insist that there must be a female translation as well. the word "person" had not just בן אדם and בת אדם as translations, but also בת חוה. I've never seen this used before. whats the policy on these type of things? Fdskjs 11:53, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

For adjectives, we can just give the masculine singular indefinite; we don't need to give any other forms. People translating to Hebrew know that adjectives have eight forms, and obviously we can't include all of them in every translation table.
For nouns, if an English noun is gender-neutral, but Hebrew has separate nouns for men and women, then I think both nouns should be given — but just the singular indefinite form of each. This is because, well, they're separate nouns, which means they're separate translations. I don't think it's a big deal if we give just the male translation when the female one is derived from it by adding just ־ה or ־ת, but personally I'd prefer that we give the female translation in all cases — and certainly in a case like you describe, where the female translations are not trivially derived from the male ones.
By the way, בת חוה (bat-khavá, huwoman) is more traditional than בת אדם (bat-adám, huwoman), and is definitely well attested.
RuakhTALK 13:26, 13 January 2009 (UTC)


I just noticed that Arabic roots are included, titled with spaces between the letters. I don't know of any Hebrew-root entries (does anyone?), but most of the (hence red)links I've seen to such had hyphens or Hebrew hyphens between the letters. Shall we be consistent with our cousins?—msh210 23:34, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

Psst, Category:Hebrew roots. —RuakhTALK 00:18, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Ah, thanks! Yeah, I didn't know about that. Still and all: Shall we be consistent with our cousins? Or is that mere uniformity for the sake of uniformity?—msh210 15:39, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm generally pro-uniformity, but I don't think ס פ ר looks right. —RuakhTALK 16:30, 26 March 2009 (UTC)
Hm, no, it doesn't.—msh210 16:53, 26 March 2009 (UTC)


Some time ago I mentioned here that (old) piyutim seem (to me) to rhyme as follows:

  • They (usually) rhyme based on last syllable (without paying attention to stress), but
  • they (always) start the rhyme with the consonant preceding the last vowel (except in case of a patach g'nuva, where there is no such consonant) rather than with the last vowel itself.

I've recently examined the rhymes in some (modern) books for kids, and they seem (to me) to rhyme as follows, usually:

  • They rhyme based on the last stressed syllable.
  • They start the rhyme with the vowel of the last stressed syllable if that syllable is closed or it's not the last syllable (or both);
  • if the last stressed syllable is open and is the last syllable, they start the rhyme with the consonant preceding the vowel.

Thus, they rhyme the same way English does unless the last syllable is open and stressed.


  • Are my impressions correct?
  • Do we want to use one of these systems as our rhyming standard here on English Wiktionary?
  • Which?

I myself like the system I attribute to modern kids' books.—msh210 16:37, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

w:he:חריזה has some decent coverage of Hebrew rhyme, past and present. By my reading:
  • In Classical Antiquity, there was no Hebrew rhyme.
  • In the "Middle Ages" (by which the article seems to mean everything from Late Antiquity until well after the Renaissance), rhyming ignored stress (to the extent that a mil'el word could rhyme with a milra' word), and Medieval rhyming is generally classified by the number of consonants that matched (together with following vowels): bi-consonantal rhyme was typical, with uni-consonantal and tri-consonantal rhymes existing as well. If we want to include Medieval rhyming, I think bi-consonantal is the way to go. (But this might require some knowledge of Medieval phonology; I think there were some sound distinctions back then that we don't maintain in Modern Hebrew, but I don't think that all the sound distinctions of Classical Hebrew were still in effect.)
  • In Modern Hebrew rhymes (Enlightenment onward), the (last) stress positions must match, the entire last syllables (CV or CVC) must match, and everything from the (last) stressed vowels onwards must match. This one would not be so hard to do, if we want.
(Note: Even in Modern Hebrew, there's variation, with some rhymes being "poorer" than the above rule, and some being "richer". What I've described is what the article seems to consider the most normal kind of rhyme.)
All told, I'm not really interested in the rhymes project, so however you want to do it is fine by me.
RuakhTALK 02:43, 6 May 2009 (UTC)


Hi all,

I've been thinking about how to handle patterns (the binyanim — pa`ál, pi`él, etc. — and mishqalim — qéTel, qaTTéleth, etc.).

Background: In principle, patterns are not too different from roots: a root is a word-part, and a pattern is a word-part. (Of course, they contribute different sorts of things to the final word, but the same is true of -ology, -ness, and -ed.) In practice, however, in the Hebrew writing system, roots consist of letters (albeit sometimes inferred letters, as in הִפִּיל from נ־פ־ל), whereas patterns consist largely of diacritics, which is a huge difference for our purposes, since we have to name our entries somehow, and with all due respect to the diacritic, floating dots do not constitute entry names. In Hebrew tradition, verb patterns are usually written by using the root פ־ע־ל; for example, the verb עָזַר is said to use the פָּעַל pattern. Similarly, noun patterns are usually written by using the root ק־ט־ל; for example, the noun יֶלֶד is said to use the קֶטֶל pattern.

Proposal: I can't think of a good way to fit patterns into the main namespace; for example, I don't think it's a good idea for [[קטל]] to have a section on the קֶטֶל pattern, and I don't think it's a good idea to have a separate [[קֶטֶל]] entry, since we don't include niqqud in normal entry titles. Rather, I think we should have the entry as an appendix, at [[Appendix:Hebrew pattern קֶטֶל]], and that this appendix should belong to [[Category:Hebrew patterns]]. I think these appendices should be structured basically like normal entries, with etymology (if known), one or more non-gloss definitions (to the extent possible), gender information (if applicable), inflection information (with usage notes to cover inflections of hollow, broken, and guttural roots), and a partial list of derived terms (i.e., words using the pattern).

Does that seem like a good approach to y'all?

RuakhTALK 15:18, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

One suggestion: Use a slash between the base name for the appendix and the specific pattern name. That way, the software will generate an automatic link back to the main page on Hebrew patterns. --EncycloPetey 15:35, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Hmm, I wasn't planning to have any main page on Hebrew patterns, but that might be a good idea. —RuakhTALK 16:00, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
You, Ruakh, seem to be starting with the assumption that a mishkal or binyan is a good thing to have an entry on — alas, we cannot, so let's appendicize it. I don't see why it's a good thing to have an entry on in the first place. Even though, yes, it's "part" of a word in some sense, that sense is no stronger than the corresponding sense of some other "parts" of words we have no entries for, such as the "noun noun" "part" of the word chocolate chip (whose other parts are "chocolate" and "chip") and the "noun adjective" "part" of מצה שרויה. So, no, I don't think this is entry-worthy; rather, it's general grammatical info about the language that belongs, if anywhere, in an appendix. That said, I do think we should have it (i.e., in my opinion we can drop the "if anywhere" from the preceding sentence); perhaps all such grammatical appendices should be at Appendix:Hebrew grammar/foo?—msh210 19:03, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Why "a partial list of derived terms" (emph. added)? Why not either include all or none? I think all would be unwieldy; I suggest that categorizing is the way to go for these. Category:Hebrew verbs in piel construction, e.g., and category:Hebrew segolate nouns.—msh210 19:03, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Re: "noun noun" as an entry: Hmm, that's tricky. I do see what you're saying, and I don't think you're wrong, but I see it a bit differently. I view the patterns as more nearly analogous to English affixes and combining forms. I say this firstly because many patterns have fairly specific meanings (קַטֶּלֶת words, for example, usually denote infections or disorders), and secondly because the pattern itself contributes phonemes (usually a prefix and/or suffix, and always at least one internal vowel) to the resulting word. English noun-noun compounding doesn't warrant an entry, but interfixes such as -o- and -n- do.
Re: grammar-appendix subpages: I'd be down with that. What are you envisioning them to look like? I take it you're not picturing normal entry structure?
Re: "partial list": Well, because all would be unwieldy, and none would be unhelpful. Compare [[-hood]]. But, I'd also be down with an approach like at [[-ly]], where we list some examples right under the sense line, rather than as a separate section. (And the category idea is a good one. We do the same thing sometimes with English affixes, by using {{prefix}} and {{suffix}}, though admittedly we're not very consistent about it.) —RuakhTALK 19:49, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
No, not picturing normal entry structure. I'm thinking it would be all running text (except perhaps a list of "derived" words), with, as length demands, sections for etymology, pronunciations, etc. E.g.:
The form קַטֶּלֶת (with ק,‎ ט, and ל replaced by other root letters) is the form of a noun. The noun typically refers to some disease; examples of this date back at least to Biblical times, where words such as יַלֶּפֶת appear, but more recent coinages are also of this form, such as סַכֶּרֶת....
If we do have such a category, then I think even a (large) partial list is unnecessary: just an example or two is sufficient, à la -ly.—msh210 20:03, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Having thought about it some more, I don't think that the pagenames should have the letters קטל or פעל in them. I'll illustrate why not by means of an example, but note that other examples of the same sort exist. The word יעשו, "(they) will make/do", is of the form יפעו. The word יתנו "(they) will give", is of the form יעלו. And the Biblical spelling יבאו, "(they) will come", is of the form יפלו. These three forms should all, imo, be on one page, since that's where people will look who don't know which form a word they're looking at is of. So what to list them under if we're not using root letters? Well, any direction-neutral (or right-to-left) character that looks like a placeholder, I suppose. I suggest ~ (U+007e, the standard tilde), but would like to hear other suggestions. (‑ (U+2011, the non-breaking hyphen)? U+fffd is not allowed in pagenames, apparently.) A right-to-left character would be much better than a direction-neutral ones, so that it appears in the <h1> on the page correctly. ٭ (U+066d, Arabic star) seems like the only character that fits that bill.msh210 00:04, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I've made Appendix:Hebrew patterns/٭٭י٭ as a first example. Obviously, modify ad lib.msh210 00:24, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Hmm. I kind of thought that ya'asú, yitnú, and yavó'u were all of the pattern יִפְעֲלוּ\יִקְטְלוּ. Did I misunderstand the system for naming patterns? Either way, your point is a good one … one that raises further issues: how would the people you mention know that there are two words תִּבְלְטוּ (tivl'tú), one being the root ת־ב־ל־ט with the pattern ~ִ~ְ~ְ~וּ (_i__'_ú), the other being the root ב־ל־ט with the pattern תִּ~ְ~ְ~וּ (ti__'_ú)?
To be honest, I wasn't really expecting people to look up patterns on their own; my thought was that they could either browse through the pattern-list, or follow links to entries for specific patterns (mostly from etymologies and from entries for other patterns, but potentially also from conjugation appendices, other appendices, Wikipedia articles …). But if we can make it feasible for readers to find specific patterns they might be looking for, that would of course be even better.
RuakhTALK 01:00, 15 June 2009 (UTC) תבלטו example updated 00:58, 17 June 2009 (UTC) for no real reason, I just think this way's cooler.
Maybe they are of the form יִפְעֲלוּ. I still like stars better than letters: they are more indicative of "these are placeholders", especially for people who don't know already that Hebrew grammars use the letters פעל or קטל as placeholders. I think that they are the way to go.
The question about tivl'tu is a good one, and one that applies more generally. Perhaps {{xalso}} would be helpful? I'm really not sure.
I don't think that people will look up patterns on their own (without browsing through a list, say), and, if they would, the Arabic star won't help (since no one will think of typing that character). Still, the Arabic star is helpful for <h1>s.
I suppose an alternative would be to use פעל and קטל in pagenames, and to use stars on the list that links to all the pattern pages.msh210 22:57, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I've created Appendix:Hebrew patterns/קַטֶּלֶת as a second example. (Obviously, either it or Appendix:Hebrew patterns/٭٭י٭,and maybe both, will have to be moved, and likely reformatted.)msh210 23:02, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

I do like the star-placeholders as an idea, but in practice they don't seem to work well with niqqud, which for me is a deal-breaker. Maybe we can have some sort of template on these pages that explain what they are and how to interpret them? —RuakhTALK 00:58, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
If the stars are to be used only in pagenames, and the vowels are not, then no problem, right? (Or, in fact, if there's some way I can't think of that stars and vowels are to be used in disjoint circumstances.) That's what I did at [[Appendix:Hebrew patterns/٭٭י٭]], q.v.msh210 17:16, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Re: "If the stars are to be used only in pagenames, and the vowels are not, then no problem, right?": Not using vowels in pagenames is itself a problem. Entries for specific words don't use vowels in their pagenames because words are usually written without vowels; but that approach doesn't make sense for patterns. Just think of the long list of patterns we'd document at [[Appendix:Hebrew patterns/٭٭٭]] … —RuakhTALK 17:29, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Bother. That's true. I'm still not happy with the letters. I searched for right-to-left characters that might work, and found none but the Arabic star, but would you mind looking, Ruakh, in case I missed something?msh210 17:42, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Entries for inflected forms of prepositions.[edit]

Hi all,

Another thing I've been thinking about is how to handle sense lines for inflected forms of prepositions.

Usually, for form-of entries, our sense line takes the form "[Description-of-form] of [word]." The problem is, what's the appropriate description-of-form for something like אֶצְלְךָ? Well, last October I went with:

  1. second-person masculine singular pronoun-including form of אצל (etzel)

which, I think you'll agree, is horrid. If anyone has a better description for it, I'm all ears; but if not, I was thinking maybe we should take a different approach:

  1. Form of אצל (etzel) including second-person masculine singular personal pronoun (as object).

Admittedly, that exact wording isn't very good, either — and I welcome y'all's suggestions for improvements — but I think it's already better than the current one, and offers much greater possibilities for further improvement than a rigid description-then-lemma approach.

The other issue is what to name the template that generates these sense lines. I was thinking maybe {{he-Form of prep}}? It's not very mnemonic, in that the word "preposition" doesn't actually appear anywhere in my proposed wording, but then, I can't think of any sort of name that's clearly preposition-specific and yet doesn't include anything like "prep" or "preposition".

Any thoughts?

RuakhTALK 18:38, 10 May 2009 (UTC)

I like the format and am okay with the template name (though am unused to the capitalization in the latter). Perhaps drop the parentheses in the former?—msh210 19:06, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Re: capitalization: Well, I was thinking to stick with the approach I started for {{he-Present of}} and {{he-Past of}}, where capitalization begets capitalization (so that if we want to precede the template-text with a gloss, we just use {{he-form of prep}} instead). Are you not liking that approach?
Re: parentheses: O.K., consider them dropped. :-)   Thanks!
RuakhTALK 19:53, 10 May 2009 (UTC)
Re "Are you not liking", no, it's good.—msh210 20:06, 10 May 2009 (UTC)


Opiaterein has created a {{he-verb}}. Documentation and discussion at Template talk:he-verb. —RuakhTALK 15:46, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

For those watching but not that page, please see the addition of the sort parameter (documented at the talk page), and modify (or comment) prn.msh210 22:21, 25 June 2009 (UTC)

{{etyl:hbo}} and {{etyl:he-IL}}[edit]

Per Doremítzwr (talkcontribs)'s suggestion at Wiktionary:Grease pit#Hebrew: Old and New, I think we should create {{etyl:hbo}} and {{etyl:he-IL}}. This would allow words and names taken from Classical Hebrew to be labeled and categorized differently from words and names taken from Modern Israeli Hebrew. Do y'all agree?

If so, there are three questions for each of these: (1) what text should be displayed; (2) what Wikipedia article should be linked to; and (3) what name should be used in the categories. My preference is (1) "Classical Hebrew" and "Modern Israeli Hebrew"; (2) use the same as the title for the 'pedia-link, and let Wikipedia handle any redirection it wants to pull; and (3) use the same as the category name. {{etyl:hbo}} and {{etyl:he-IL}} would then contain simply Classical Hebrew and Modern Israeli Hebrew, respectively (not counting <noinclude>d stuff.)


RuakhTALK 13:57, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Fine by me (fwiw).msh210 17:08, 22 June 2009 (UTC)
Not that I do anything with Hebrew, but yeah — it sounds good to me.  (u):Raifʻhār (t):Doremítzwr﴿ 00:20, 23 June 2009 (UTC)

links to he:wikt root categories[edit]

An idea.msh210 21:04, 22 June 2009 (UTC)

Looks good. Another possibility is {{projectlink|wt|קטגוריה:ידע (שורש)|lang=he|sc=Hebr}}:
. Either way, we might want to wrap it in a specialized template.
RuakhTALK 18:14, 23 June 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't know projectlink can be used for Wiktionaries. Yes, that's good. I don't see the need for a specialized template, though template:new he root (à la special:prefixindex/template:new) might be useful.msh210 18:29, 23 June 2009 (UTC)


Why do we have both template:he-adj (which has no documentation) and template:he-adjective? They seem to be both used for the same thing: masculine singular adjectives. Can we merge them and delete one?​—msh210 17:48, 1 July 2009 (UTC)

I assume we have both because the creator of the former was unaware of the latter. I support merging them, preferably at the name {{he-adj}} (to match {{en-adj}}). There are a lot differences between them, including the following:
  • {{he-adj}} lists the feminine plural indefinite form, which {{he-adjective}} does not. I don't really have a preference on this.
  • {{he-adjective}} has vestigial support for being used at feminine singular indefinite forms, which {{he-adj}} does not. I prefer {{he-adj}} in this regard.
  • {{he-adj}} requires plural forms to exist, and if they're not provided, it forges ahead with its best guess what they might be, whereas {{he-adjective}} supports the notion of singular-only adjectives, and categorizes for cleanup any entries that neither specify plural forms nor specify that they don't have any. I don't like the guessing — I can't put my finger on why, and I realize it's what {{en-noun}} does, but for some reason I just don't like it for this — but aside from that, I don't have much of a preference on how to handle missing parameters. (Does Hebrew even have singular-only adjectives? There are words like כיף and אפשר that seem to be adjectives but don't seem to inflect, but I'm not sure they fit at all into this sort of template structure.)
RuakhTALK 23:30, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Someone has since requested deletion of template:he-adjective at RFDO, and this discussion should I suppose be considered continued there.​—msh210 (talk) 16:25, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Hebrew verbs' definition lines[edit]

I and Ruakh seem to be editing at cross-purposes. In [[האיר]], he reverted my change from "to illuminate" to "(he/it) illuminated". Yet I keep adding senses in the latter form, and even changing definition lines to read "(he/it) ...". (I don't know of a specific example where I reverted a change from "(he/it) ...", but there probably exist such.) We (community, not the two of us, although in this case that may possibly coincide) should decide on something lest the two of us continue to revert each other.

(I know that there was discussion about this issue. (If I recall correctly it was brief discussion.) It's not on this page, and I don't know where it is.)

My reasoning for the "he/it" translation is that, well, that's the translation. We have decided on the past tense masculine singular third-person form's being the lemma, fine, but it still is not translatable as "to illuminate" anywhere it appears. It's just plain incorrect. The only reason I can think of for putting "to" in the definition line is to inform people that the form in question is the lemma. But (a) they don't need informing (why should they care?), (b) it's still wrong (a wrong translation), and (c) adding a conjugation table is a better way to so inform them. In my opinion, having an incorrect translation in every verb's definition line is unconscionable.​—msh210 18:09, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

I don't know of a single Hebrew–English dictionary but that translates entire Hebrew verbs to entire English verbs, rather than trying to translate specific Hebrew verb-forms to specific English verb-forms. If we want to do the latter — and I, for one, don't — then "(he/it) illuminated" is very incomplete, because there are actually a lot of different verb forms that האיר can translate to — certainly at least "illuminated", "did illuminate", "has illuminated", "had illuminated", "was illuminating", and "had been illuminating", and probably many others as well.
The only reason I think can think of for putting "(he/it)" in the definition line is to remind people that Hebrew verbs are identifies by their masculine singular past-tense forms; but if they've successfully found the entry, then they presumably know that; and anyway, adding a conjugation table is a better way to so remind them.
(BTW, per our previous discussion, I don't go around changing your entries to dictionary style; but when I'm adding translations, I'm not willing to add them in the "(he/it)" form, so I dictionarize any adjacent translations.)
RuakhTALK 20:38, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Well, I've been using the infinitive forms (to attack) but for languages like Latin, Greek and Albanian, which also use non-infinitive forms for lemma, they use "I attack". I think it might be misleading to say "to attack" instead of "he attacked" in a Hebrew entry, and I've never really been one to cater to the less-serious crowd... if someone sees the main form is a past tense, they should wonder why and figure it out. I don't like wrapping he/it in parantheses, though. </2cents>— [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 20:45, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
To answer the last point, about the parentheses, I did that because the verb means both "illuminated" (when it follows a noun or pronoun) and "he illuminated".​—msh210 20:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Re: Latin, Greek, Albanian: Yes, I believe EncycloPetey is a firm partisan of the approach you describe. But on the other hand, the most relevant analogue would seem to be Arabic, which as far I've seen is very consistent in doing things the way I describe.
Re: "I've never really been one to cater to the less-serious crowd": I'm confused; it seems like the main reason for the "(he/it)" approach is, in fact, to try to give some extra assistance to readers who don't know anything about Hebrew.
RuakhTALK 21:36, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
My main reason for the "he approached" approach is to not give the definition of the infinitive form in the past tense entry. Since liknot means 'to buy', where kana means '(he) bought', I think it's slightly odd to list 'to buy' as the definition for the latter. If Hebrew had no infinitive, it would make more sense to me. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 12:38, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
How are Latin, et al., less analogous to Hebrew than Arabic is (in a way that affects this discussion)?​—msh210 21:41, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Good question. As far as I understand, Latin and Greek (dunno about Albanian) have a weird tradition of "principal parts", where a word sort of has multiple lemmata, with Wiktionary using the "first principal part" as its lemma. (?) I guess I'm not sure quite how it works, to be honest. Arabic seems perfectly analogous, since it (not coincidentally) has the same root system, and a cognate choice of lemma form; but I guess I'm not sure if Latin etc. are actually less perfectly analogous, or if they're merely less obviously so to me (because I don't know enough about them). Ivan Štambuk (talkcontribs) also seems to prefer for Latin and Greek (as well as Sanskrit) a system like what I describe, suggesting that the difference may be between {EP,you,…} and {Ivan,me,…} rather than between {Latin,Greek,…} and {Hebrew,Arabic,…} —RuakhTALK 22:08, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Most dictionaries don't translate every form of a verb; arguably, any that would do so would presumably translate the lemma form also. Now, whether we translate every form is a matter of taste, or something: some include {{conjugation of}} (or similar) and a gloss and others just the former, and this is a cross-language issue. I'm in the first camp usually (though it depends on the verb).​—msh210 20:55, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Not coincidentally, my attitude and approach toward non-lemma translations are exactly the same as toward "(he/it)"-style translations: I don't like them, and refuse to use them, but I'm not going to revert other people's using them (and as a courtesy to you, since I know you do like them, I made sure the Hebrew form-of templates supported them smoothly). —RuakhTALK 21:36, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
And I thank you.​—msh210 21:41, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
Re "The only reason I think can think of for putting "(he/it)" in the definition line is to remind people that Hebrew verbs are identifie[d] by their masculine singular past-tense forms": That's assuming that we don't provide glosses for conjugated forms. Otherwise, my "that's the accurate gloss!" reason holds. If we do provide glosses for conjugated forms, but translate the lemma form as "to...", then the past-tense 3-m-s is a second-class citizen: it's the only one without a form-of line. We'd need "# To illuminate. # Past 3-m-s of..." for heir. I do recognize, though, that you, Ruakh, do not like glosses on form-of foreign entries. Fine: we cna agree to disagree, and I'll try not to revert you modify existing entries except as necessary to keep consistency with later-added senses.—msh210℠ on a public computer 02:38, 7 July 2009 (UTC) 15:51, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • What do most of the Hebrew-English dictionary do? If they translate as English infinitives, so should we.. I'm of opinion that we should translate FL verbal lemma (whatever tense/mood/person it may be, be it root or whatever) as an English verbal lemma, i.e. the infinitive. Anyone who uses Wiktionary as a dictionary to look up FL verbs should already be familiar with the common lemmatization scheme used, it being nothing but a lexicographical convention, and not a direct translation. So far we have had both schemes used for Ancient Greek and Latin (which lemmatize verbs in the 1st person singular PAI), and I for Sanskrit prefer the infinitives (Sanskrit verbs are lemmatized either as roots, or as 3rd person singular PAI - I prefer the latter approach as it is much more suitable for a Wiktionary, plus there is less problem with CFI [roots are imaginary constructions and not actually used attestations]). There has been some recent activitiy by Bulgarian and Macedonian language contributors - the former lemmatizes verbs in first-person, and the latter in 3rd-person singular present, yet all of their contributors seem to translate their respective lemmata as English infinitives in the definition lines (both languages lost the infinitive as a category under the influence of Balkan sprachbund). Perhaps this is a more general topic that should be raised in BP? --ⰉⰂⰀⰐ ⰞⰕⰀⰏⰁⰖⰍ 14:22, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
    I disagree strongly with "Anyone who uses Wiktionary as a dictionary to look up FL verbs should already be familiar with the common lemmatization scheme used": I have on numerous occasions used English Wiktionary and its FL counterparts to look up words whose lemmata I did not know: I had found the words in running text. I suspect that that is a common use of Wiktionary. Indeed, if that were not a common use — if people looked up only words whose lemmata they knew — we wouldn't need form-of entries at all. But when I went to look up soit, for example, it would have been terrible to find that it meant "to be". (That's analogous to looking up heir and finding it means "to illuminate".)​—msh210 15:51, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
  • Adult-oriented Hebrew-English print dictionaries translate Hebrew 3rd-masc-sing-past to English infinitives (usually bare infinitives, sometimes full ones). Child-oriented dictionaries and online dictionaries vary somewhat; some take the same tack as print dictionaries, others translate Hebrew full infinitives to English infinitives, and yet others are inconsistent. (The Hebrew Wiktionary does as print dictionaries do.) I don't know of any dictionary, be it online or in print, that translates Hebrew 3rd-masc-sing-past to English preterite.
    A BP discussion may be a good idea.
    RuakhTALK 15:54, 7 July 2009 (UTC)

It always made me wonder why Latin and Ancient Greek dictionaries chose specifically first person singular present tense as a lemma. Why not the infinitive? That would have been neutral and symmetric. Does anyone know? Concerning the discussion, a case in point: Old Armenian dictionaries too use 1st person singular as the lemma, but have infinitives in translation. This especially makes sense for verbs like "to snow" or "to bud" (I snow?, I bud?). --Vahagn Petrosyan 16:48, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

New, less ambiguous romanization scheme?[edit]

I had thought of this, but I figured I'd ask, to see if this might be desirable, before I try to construct a new transliteration system. My goal is to disambiguate letters with the same pronunciation while remaining neutral on the issue of pronunciation. I'd also like to use only one Roman letter for the transliteration of each for Hebrew (ś/š/ş/whatever for ש). This, of course, would mean that שׁ, שׂ and ס would all be transliterated differently, which could be potentially confusing, but I guess the new system would be optional. If this is something we might like, I could start working on this today or tomorrow. — [ R·I·C ] opiaterein — 21:02, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

Don't like it. We've discussed this before, though I don't see the extent of discussion on this page that I recall. But see the top section at Wiktionary talk:About Hebrew/archives/2007.​—msh210 21:19, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
No, don't. In the event that we decide to adopt an unambiguous, digraphless transliteration scheme, we'd be best served with one like what Gilgamesh (talkcontribs) describes at Wiktionary talk:About Hebrew/archives/2008#My thoughts on Hebrew — that is, a well-known scholarly scheme that was designed with an eye toward common Semitic norms, with emphasis on the Masoretic and Tiberian traditions. —RuakhTALK 21:25, 6 July 2009 (UTC)

font size with vowels[edit]

The larger font size used for the headword in all the inflection templates (and, via {Hebr}, in {infl} itself) is nice: it allows the viewer to see the vowels more easily. I propose that the larger size be used for the forms listed on the inflection line also, for the same reason. (I further propose that someone else do this.  :-) ) Thoughts?​—msh210 21:13, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

It looks like {{he-noun}} and {{infl}} were the only ones using it for the headword without also using it for the other forms. The former I've fixed; the latter I don't feel comfortable messing with, as it's Robert's thing. —RuakhTALK 02:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I'll request it in the GP.​—msh210 18:49, 26 August 2009 (UTC)


Now that CI is bot-adding anagrams, I want to request of him that he use a specific scheme for Hebrew, but want to run it by interested parties here first. Any objection to the following?

  • Treat כ and ך as identical, and same for the other four pairs.
  • Drop space and punctuation from consideration, including shin/sin dot (which shouldn't exist anyway), geresh, gershayim, makaf.
  • Ignore entries with alef-lamed ligature (since they should all be redirects except the ligature's "character entry", which doesn't need an anagram section).
  • Ignore redirects.

​—msh210 17:59, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Sounds good. I'd also suggest ignoring entries whose first or second character is a maqaf, as these will generally be prefixes, suffixes, and roots. (I'm assuming that for English it ignores prefixes and suffixes?) —RuakhTALK 20:54, 7 October 2009 (UTC)
All right: if it's good enough for Ruakh, it's good enough for me. If it does ignore them for English, I don't know why. I'll mention that, too. (My request will follow close behind this post (chronologically) and will be at CI's talkpage, FYI.)​—msh210 15:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

new template[edit]

Template:new he root. Tweaks welcome, natch.​—msh210 18:17, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

ותמת איז געשטאָרבען[edit]

(The section title is in Yiddish and a reference to a good joke: [1]. In any event, it means "ותמת has died", which is sorta the subject of this section.)

We have (IMO unfortunately) agreed to exclude prefixed pagetitles, such as those with a prefixed ו־ like ואריה (and a lion; and Aryeh). Now, ע״ו verbs in קל in ו׳ ההיפוך‎-induced past tense, third person singular (or second person singular masculine) drop their ע׳ הפועל:‎ תמות (tamút) but ותמת (vatámot), not *ותמות (except of course in future tense), nor *תמת. So should we have the entry [[תמת]]‎, despite the nonexistence of that word, noting in the entry that it's used exclusively with the ו׳ ההיפוך, or should we have the entry [[ותמת]]‎?​—msh210 16:47, 19 January 2010 (UTC)

Personally, my main reason for wanting to reject entries for sequences of clitic(s) plus non-clitic, except for set phrases, was that it's endless: the link between the words is only phonological and orthographic, not syntactic or semantic, and long sequences are possible (including sequences with the same clitic appearing multiple times). Since none of those reasons seems to apply here — vav-hahippúkh attaches only to verbs, not (say) to other clitics, and it interacts in a very complicated, more-than-phonological way with the morphologies of those verbs ("flipping" them from prefix to suffix conjugation or vice versa, plus shifting their stress and otherwise changing the result) — I'd be O.K. with having entries for vav-hahippúkh + verb. I mean, I'd never add them, but if you wanted to, I'd be O.K. with your doing so. —RuakhTALK 20:01, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

romanization of ע[edit]

In my opinion, an apostrophe (') should always be used to represent ע. As opposed to the Yiddish language in which ע is used as a vowel, in Hebrew (as well as Aramaic) ע is exclusively a consonant. The fact that unfortunately, most modern-day Hebrew-speakers (myself included) do not know how to pronounce this consonant should not imply that the letter should be ignored. --Sije 23:45, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

In some forms of Hebrew, ayin is a consonant; in other forms, it's silent. —RuakhTALK 01:03, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
No form of Hebrew maintains that ע is meant to be silent. It's just that the pronounciation has been forgotten by most Europeans. I don't think anyone argues against this fact. --Sije 19:49, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
I argue against that opinion. Wiktionary is descriptivist, meaning that we don't express opinions about how a language "is meant to be"; we only discuss the facts about how a language actually is — and in some forms of Hebrew, including those spoken by most of the world's Hebrew speakers today, the ayin is silent. (There are also many forms where the ayin is not silent, including both many ancient forms and many modern forms; but no form is any better or worse, for our purposes, than any other forms. The existence of forms with consonantal ayin doesn't negate the existence, prevalence, and validity of forms with silent ayin.) —RuakhTALK 21:09, 10 May 2010 (UTC)
An apostrophe representing ע would be beneficial for those who do pronounce the consonantal ע, while it would not at all interfere with those who do not.
(!זה נהנה וזה לא חסר – Is there an identical phrase in English?) --Sije 22:42, 11 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think an apostrophe would be beneficial for anyone who pronounces the ayin, since people who pronounce the ayin already know the Hebrew alphabet, and don't need the romanization. (By the way, out of curiosity: how come you write ayin rather than 'ayin?)RuakhTALK 01:07, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
(Sorry, but I didn't write ayin). --Sije 21:54, 12 May 2010 (UTC)
(Oops, I'm an idiot!) —RuakhTALK 23:11, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

doubling the letters שּׁ and צּ[edit]

In my opinion, "shsh" and "TSTS" might look confusing. "TSTS" would be even more confusing to Sephardi and Yemenite Jews who don't pronounce the צ as "TS" at all. --Sije 23:45, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

So, what do you suggest instead? —RuakhTALK 01:04, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
I see the proposed transliteration scheme on the About page says "Dagesh khazak is optionally (as described above) indicated by doubling the letter. In the case of שּׁ and צּ, this produces shsh and TSTS" (though I'm not sure what the parenthetical remark refers to), but I for one don't double d'gushot. Do the other regular Hebrew editors? I haven't noticed as much, though I have from irregular editors.​—msh210 16:13, 7 May 2010 (UTC)
"Optionally" refers to the previous note, i.e., "when it is particularly important to represent a form of Hebrew in which the sound is distinguished". (I think it made more sense in an older version of the page.) I never indicate gemination; a few years ago, there was a period of a few weeks when I tried to transliterate Tanakhic quotes in a way that represented Ancient Hebrew pronunciations, but I gave it up as (1) too much work and (2) too speculative. I do transliterate ק as q (and so on) when I'm transliterating a root, but the traditional understanding of roots doesn't use geminates, so that's not relevant to this. —RuakhTALK 17:00, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

sentence-final, phrase-final, and pre-makaf forms[edit]

In Biblical Hebrew, a vowel in a word often changes at the end of a sentence or phrase or before a makaf. Such examples abound throughout the Bible. Here a few:

  • Psalms 1:1 וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים לֹא יָשָׁב‎'s yashav has a kamatz under the shin instead of the usual patach, as it's sentence-final.
  • In Numbers 18, compare אִתָּךְ in verses 1–2, where the cantillation on it marks the end of a phrase, to אִתְּךָ in verse 7, whose cantillation, though disjunctive, is not a strong enough disjunction to change the vowels.
  • In 2 Samuel 13:26's יֵלֶךְ־נָא, the lamed has a segol instead of a tzere because of the makaf.
  • Daniel 9:16 has יָשָׁב־נָא, a form of יָשׁוּב.

I suggest putting these on the inflection line where attested.

  • This will supplant the creation of (and effect the deletion, where existing, of) a whole other section for such forms (see e.g. [[ישב]]‎, which currently has three such sections), be by combining them into sections for standard forms of the same spelling.
  • This can, if desired, be done only when the odd form matches the main form in spelling (modulo vowels) (as in the first three of the above four examples). (In other cases, the benefit mentioned in the preceding bullet point is absent.)
  • This would then be made a part of the he- inflection-line templates. (If only same-spelling forms are to be added, per the preceding bullet point, then only the ...wv parameters need exist.)


Also: what are these forms usually called in English? If they're to be added to inflection lines, we'll have to refer to them somehow, and should do so using standard names. (Once this is decided, the parameters can be named appropriately.)​—msh210 17:08, 14 June 2010 (UTC)

Are sentence-final forms different from phrase-final forms? I thought that they were the same, and that they were called pausal forms. If they're different, then I'm pretty sure the sentence-final group is the "pausal" one, unless both groups are. Also, the pre-makaf form is basically the non-noun version of the construct form, right?
Anyway, I'm O.K. with your including them in inflection lines, though for reasons of profound and incurable laziness, I don't expect ever to do so myself.
RuakhTALK 22:26, 14 June 2010 (UTC)
Sentence-final and phrase-final forms are not the same. יָשָׁב will replace יָשַׁב (in the Bible) only when the cantillation on the word is sof-pasuk/s'liksiluk or etnachta/etnach, whereas אִתָּךְ will replace אִתְּךָ even when the cantillation is more weakly disjunctive (to an extent). And yes, the pre-makaf form is kinda like the construct form, but I have no idea whether it's called "construct". (I am basing all this on what I've picked up over the years from reading Hebrew, not on any grammar or other secondary source.) I will search online for more info about this, especially to find out the English names of these forms, without which knowledge I do not feel comfortable adding the info to the inflection lines.​—msh210 18:35, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, though sentence-final and phrase-final forms are for different words (as I stated, yashav will change only sentence-finally whereas it'cha will change phrase-finally), both seem to be called "pausal" (as you stated, Ruakh, thanks) and I don't think there can be both forms (distinct) for the same word, so I suppose just calling it "pausal" in the inflection line will do. I suppose I can start effecting that. I haven't found any info on the construct-like form.​—msh210 19:48, 15 June 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I've created {{he-pausal}} to house the wording, so it can be changed centrally if desired. I've added pausal support to {{he-noun}} and {{he-verb}}: see use at [[פסח#Noun]] and [[ישב#Etymology_1]], respectively. (If I messed anything up, of course revert (or better yet fix  :-) ) it, but I don't think I did.​—msh210 (talk) 17:13, 21 June 2010 (UTC)
To continue documenting what I'm doing: I've added it to template:he-infl-adj-form, which is currently used nowhere. I've also added it to template:he-proper noun, but consolidating the transliterations if they match: see [[בית לחם]] and [[מצרים]].​—msh210 (talk) 18:08, 24 June 2010 (UTC)
Added to template:he-adv and template:he-interj.​—msh210 (talk) 17:30, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
...and template:he-plural-noun.​—msh210 (talk) 05:03, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
...and he-pron. I'm leaving he-prep alone, as I can't picture a bare preposition being used phrase-finally, and can't think of a pausal form for any of them. I'm leaving he-adj alone for now, as it needs a rewrite anyway (per discussion at RFDO and the template's talkpage) and this can be added then or thereafter. I think that that covers all the inflection-line templates.​—msh210 (talk) 17:18, 15 July 2010 (UTC)


I've created this for use in citing Tanach. Please tweak as needed! One thing worth adding IMO (and easy to add) is years of the books, where known (or {{ante}}/{{post}}/{{circa}}).​—msh210 (talk) 16:56, 29 July 2010 (UTC)

present-tense verbs as nouns and as adjectives[edit]

We have a page of tests for English adjectives, so people writing entries can determine whether the word they've found is a true adjective. Is there any similar test for a Hebrew present-tense verb to determine whether it is also a noun? Is being preceded by ה־ (but not modifying another noun as in האיש הלומד‎) sufficient? Is being used as a substantive? Or what? (Or, perhaps nothing — maybe we never want to count these as nouns.)​—msh210 (talk) 19:34, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Perhaps having a construct (‎לומדי‎) is enough to count it as a noun?​—msh210 (talk) 18:01, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

And what about a test for whether a Hebrew present-tense verb is also an adjective? Many verbs are used primarily in ways that (I strongly suspect) natives would consider adjectives, like רעב (but google books:רעבתי) — but does this mean that they are adjectives? Or are they always just verbs? Or perhaps some criterion decides. Perhaps a sufficient test for a verb meaning "is [sensory]" is that מְאֹד affect degree of the sensation and not the amount of the "is" (so that רעב מאד, which means "is very hungry" and not "is hungry a lot of time", differs from עומד מאד, which means "stands a lot of time" if it means anything)? — or perhaps that's nonsense. Thoughts?​—msh210 (talk) 19:34, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

For participle vs. adjective, the test that I generally use is, would I use hayíti ra'év as a normal past (not just as a conditional)? And in that case, the answer is yes, which I think is the right answer if there is one; but in the general case, I don't know how valid a test that is. I don't know about that m'od test; I see nothing wrong with, say, m'ód ahávti otó meaning "I loved it/him a lot." —RuakhTALK 19:04, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
Re מְאֹד‎, okay, good point. But I don't understand all of what you wrote about your test for being an adjective. If you'd use a form of היה plus the adjective as the past then you'd count the word as an adjective, which (counting) is right if there is a [___]. OTOH, if there is no known [___], then you don't know if the היה test is valid.​—msh210 (talk) 19:36, 16 August 2010 (UTC)
I mean that in the specific case of רעב, if there is a right answer to the question, "is רעב an adjective?", then I think the right answer is "yes". —RuakhTALK 20:30, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

Someone (whom I thank but who will remain nameless unless he names himself, so as to avoid copyright-violation culpability) e-mailed me scans of The Grammar of Modern Hebrew, by Lewis Glinert →ISBN, and I'll summarize that part of what Glinert says that I understand well. Note though that he applies it only to modern Hebrew:

  • If it can be used with היה,‎ יהיה,‎ להיות, and all other forms of היה, then it's an adjective or noun; otherwise, it's a verb. Examples he gives are מוכרח (adj.) and צריך (verb).
  • If it's used as a predicate, joined to the subject by הוא, then it's an adjective or noun, not a verb. Examples he gives are, חתולים הם כשרים and *חתולים הם מגרגרים. If the הוא is absent, it's an adjective or a verb.
  • If it takes a possessive suffix, it's a noun. An example he gives is זְקֵנינו.
  • If it is followed by על־ידי and a NP, then it's probably a verb rather than an adjective. Examples he gives are זה נשבר על־ידי הילד and *זה שבור על־ידי הילד.

He concludes that, based on his criteria, a word in the form of a present-tense of the pual construction is actually an adjective, though many will be verbs also (and some will be nouns also).​—msh210 (talk) 17:19, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Seeing as the book is on Amazon with the "search inside" feature, I don't feel very culpable for scanning less than 2½ pages, out of several hundred, and e-mailing them to a single recipient; but thanks. :-)   —RuakhTALK 18:24, 17 August 2010 (UTC)