Nouns

Ok, so now we’re onto the important stuff – how words conjugate – starting with nouns and adjectives

Every noun has a gender. Unlike pronouns and adjectives, the gender of a noun is fixed. It never changes. Adjectives and pronouns change their gender to agree with a noun.

Nouns do inflect for number (singular/plural) and also for state. There are three states: absolute, construct and emphatic/determined.

  • the absolute state is a noun’s default state – its normal state. This is how it appears in lexicons (e.g. “a book”)
  • the construct state is the same as in Hebrew – it’s comparable to a genitive relationship in Greek (e.g. “a book of”)
  • the emphatic/determined state is equivalent to a Hebrew noun + definite article (e.g. “the book”).

Above is a table of the noun (and adjective) endings. Nouns have a fixed gender, but change their number and state accordingly. Adjectives change their number, state and gender accordingly. Both use the same endings. Dual endings are like Hebrew (e.g. יָדַיִם).

A few details to note:

  • the similarity between the Hebrew and Aramaic masculine absolute plural ending
  • the only very slight differences between the Aramaic feminine construct singular and plural (difference between and long and short vowel).
  • the similarity between feminine determined singular and plural endings.

Lastly, as in Hebrew, by adding endings to a word you make the word longer, move the stress (which usually falls on the final syllable) and change the syllables. All these factors affect the vowels/vocalisation of a word. So expect to see vowel reductions and some changes. The good news is that despite such vowel changes, the root letters and the endings are always pretty clear, so focus on what stays the same, not what changes.

One thought on “Nouns

  1. Pingback: Participles and Translation Practice « Greek and Hebrew

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