What exactly is the Construct in Hebrew?

Classical Hebrew morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
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ralph
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:20 am

Re: What exactly is the Construct in Hebrew?

Postby ralph » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:45 am

Mira de Vries wrote:It seems to me that the Hebrew language is to you like ballet is to me. When I go to the ballet, I'm so preoccupied identifying the steps and analyzing the technique, that I forget to sit back and enjoy the performance. Even more than ballet, Hebrew is so beautiful, what a shame to read it in a reductionistic way.


I suggest you watch this 2 minute clip from richard feynmann that discusses that view (albeit not about hebrew specifically or even language, but the same thing applies) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbFM3rn4ldo

But anyhow, the question stands.
Ralph Zak

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: What exactly is the Construct in Hebrew?

Postby Isaac Fried » Wed Sep 25, 2019 9:28 pm

Ralph writes
I'm confused about what the construct is in Hebrew. my question is, what is the construct?!

It may be helpful to start thinking about the Hebrew construct by first considering it as a compound noun made up, constructed, of two or more nouns. For instance
עמוּד ברזל, חלוֹן זכוּכית, שומר סף, חדר אוכל, ארוֹן בגדים, נר חנוּכה, תפוּח זהב-תפוּז, תפוּח עץ, מרק גזר, כובע טמבל, בקבוּק סוֹדה, מועדון ג'אז
Each pair of names being a name by itself.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

ralph
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:20 am

Re: What exactly is the Construct in Hebrew?

Postby ralph » Thu Sep 26, 2019 2:56 am

Isaac Fried wrote:
I'm confused about what the construct is in Hebrew. my question is, what is the construct?!

It may be helpful to start thinking about the Hebrew construct by first considering it as a compound noun made up, constructed, of two or more nouns.


Did you only read the title of the thread and nothing else?

Did you not even read the first post? I mentioned that "you can have more than two nouns". and I mentioned that that definition of that it's for 2+ nouns, doesn't cover cases where it isn't. And I mentioned that it can be a noun with suffix, or a noun followed by VSO(verb subject object). So the "definition" you mention is very lacking.
Ralph Zak

Isaac Fried
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

Re: What exactly is the Construct in Hebrew?

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:52 pm

Ralph writes
I mentioned that "you can have more than two nouns". and I mentioned that that definition of that it's for 2+ nouns, doesn't cover cases where it isn't. And I mentioned that it can be a noun with suffix, or a noun followed by VSO(verb subject object).

Reading what you wrote I did not fully grasp what "have" means here. It seemed to me (am I right?) that the question is not what we have, but what is it. So, the first thing to come to my mind was the "simplest" case of two nouns, one at the heel of the other, and I, then and there, recalled that this סמוּכים pair are nothing but one name consisting of two nouns. The newly coined name, the two bound names, are naturally chosen to reflect the nature or function of the thing so named.
Take for example the new useful compound Hebrew name בּוֹרֶג עֵץ consisting of the noun בּוֹרֶג, 'screw', followed by the noun עֵץ, 'wood', in speech BOREGETZ. It is the name of a well defined thing: a threaded, short, slender and tapered piece of round metal, used, by force turning, to pierce and penetrate soft wood, holding itself tightly in place.
If you go into a Hebrew speaking hardware store and declare
אני צריך בורג עץ מספר 6 (brass, phillips head)
the store owner, who possibly has never heard about grammatical סמיכות, will go and presto fetch you the right thing.
Things may become more abstract and mysterious. In Gen. 1:2 we read
וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם
KJV: " And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters"
And I mentioned that it can be a noun with suffix, or a noun followed by VSO(verb subject object).

Thinking about a complex phenomenon it is best, I believe, to first look at the obvious cases, and only then at the less obvious cases. I would really really love to hear any criticism or misgivings you have on what I have just said. I would also love to confront any more complex examples (more than two nouns, a noun with suffix, or a noun followed by VSO(verb subject object)), that you might bring up.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

ralph
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:20 am

Re: What exactly is the Construct in Hebrew?

Postby ralph » Wed Nov 06, 2019 2:24 am

Isaac Fried wrote:Thinking about a complex phenomenon it is best, I believe, to first look at the obvious cases, and only then at the less obvious cases.


Of course, but I already did that in the first post.

Isaac wrote:I would also love to confront any more complex examples (more than two nouns, a noun with suffix, or a noun followed by VSO(verb subject object)), that you might bring up.


but I did bring up very different examples.


It looks to me like the construct , like the "perfect" or "imperfect", is a form, and it's not so easy to define.. it's just used in particular contexts and there's some variety in the contexts, and some similarity.. and there may be strange exceptions.

These questions are something to confront..

Considering the noun with possessive. Are they in construct form?

So, if you consider nouns that look different in construct than in absolute, and then those nouns having a possessive suffix.. Is it the construct form of the noun with the possessive suffix.. Or is it the absolute form of the noun with the possessive suffix?
Ralph Zak


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