Learning noun plurals

For questions and discussion of Seow’s A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew.
Paul Kohlmeier
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Learning noun plurals

Post by Paul Kohlmeier »

I completed exercise 5b in Seow yesterday, and was incorrect on quite a few irregular nouns (or at least irregular up to this point, anyway). I was wondering what suggestions anyone had on learning the plural forms, such as with flashcards?
Glenn Dean
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Glenn Dean »

Hi Paul:

So many in 5B are irregular (2,3,4,5,6,7,11,12,13,14,16,20) - so you would of had to really paid close attention to the vocab list on p.44
So many are segholate nouns (1,8,9,10,15,17,19,21), and all follow the same pattern for pluralization
That leaves only #18 (kinda looks like a fem noun, but it's masc: מַעֲשִים)

Glenn
Paul Kohlmeier
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Paul Kohlmeier »

Yeah, the segolate nouns were easy. I just got tripped up with the vowel points on most of the irregulars. A few I mixed up their gender.

I'll take a few passes at the vocabulary on page 44 and then make another attempt at exercise 5b.

Thanks!
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Jason Hare
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Jason Hare »

If you want, I can make a set of vocab cards online with singulars and plurals on opposite sides. Would that be beneficial?

For me, vocab always just comes and goes in my memory. I learn words as I run into them in texts.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Jason Hare »

A long while back, I created a set of vocab cards for Seow. Lesson V is here. If you want, I will make a list just of words with their plurals. I can add pronunciation audio, too.
Jason Hare
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Paul Kohlmeier
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Paul Kohlmeier »

I've been using Anki for flashcards.

I was just curious if it was worth making separate flashcards for certain plurals or not. So far I have them noted on the same card. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking it probably would be a good idea. But I'm more than happy to hear any thoughts. :)
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Jason Hare
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Jason Hare »

Paul Kohlmeier wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 12:19 pm I've been using Anki for flashcards.

I was just curious if it was worth making separate flashcards for certain plurals or not. So far I have them noted on the same card. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking it probably would be a good idea. But I'm more than happy to hear any thoughts. :)
Well, my ulpan teacher basically said that masculine nouns that take plurals in ־וֹת and feminine nouns with plurals that end in ־ִים make up about 30% of the most common words in the language. It cannot be that anything that appears with such a frequency should be termed “irregular.” They aren’t irregular, though that term is often used to describe them. The fault lies in our calling the suffixes “masculine plural” and “feminine plural.” We should relate to them as endings, not as masculine or feminine—except when it comes to adjectives. The distinction exists only in adjectives, not in nouns.

The fact is that this happens in other inflected languages, such as Latin and Greek. In Greek, we have feminine nouns of the second declension, although most people want to think that the second declension is used for masculine and neuter nouns. We also have masculine nouns of the first declension, although the first declension is more commonly used for feminine nouns. Every student of Greek must learn that ὁδός, νῆσος, and νόσος are feminine nouns that look like λόγος and νόμος, which are masculine. You just have to learn them, and they are not called “irregular” by Greek teachers (who understand that this is simply a class of nouns).

As with Latin and Greek, you must simply learn the endings of a noun as you encounter it. Rote memory at first, then—as you get used to reading—it sticks with you quite easily. The challenge is just to get past the stage of rote memory, in which you just take something as true until you can sense how it works at a later stage.
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Paul Kohlmeier
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Paul Kohlmeier »

Actually, it's not those class of nouns which I intended to label "irregular", and given Seow's tendency to reveal the linguistics behind (most of these?) irregularities, I even hesitated to call any of them "irregular". (Hence my use of quotes repeatedly with that term.)

But yes, I largely agree with you that there are parallels in Greek. I'll continue on with the rote stage as I can. At this point (as I have not gotten to any sort of continuous readings from the Biblical text yet), I'm certainly not shooting for 100% accuracy. I'm reminded of what Mounce talks about in his grammar on Greek: the fog.
talmid56
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by talmid56 »

Jason, I would like to have that set of cards for review also, even though I'm not using a textbook. Especially if they are Anki format, since I am using that app for learning Psalms vocabulary now. And, having the audio would be very helpful, too.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Learning noun plurals

Post by Jason Hare »

talmid56 wrote: Tue Jan 25, 2022 10:08 am Jason, I would like to have that set of cards for review also, even though I'm not using a textbook. Especially if they are Anki format, since I am using that app for learning Psalms vocabulary now. And, having the audio would be very helpful, too.
I don’t really know or use Anki. I use Quizlet because it’s online and people don’t have to download anything. I pay for a teacher account with them so that I can make audio and all.
Jason Hare
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The Hebrew Café
יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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