Number word pair forms

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Number word pair forms

Postby Cbrundage » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:08 pm

I am confused about the use of number word pair forms. In the text I am using there are two examples - “ obey the voice of the six angels “ and 6 is in the word pair form. Then there is “ obey the three women” with 3 not in the word pair form. Is it because in the first example, I should think of it as “obey the voice of the six of the angels“?

Also, the book says numbers more than one can be used with a noun that can be singular or plural, for instance, 20 men or 20 man, both correct. Confusing!

Any help gratefully received – I’m doing this learning on my own (at age 80) and sometimes it’s a bit difficult without a teacher.

Christina Brundage

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Location: Canada

Re: Number word pair forms

Postby Schubert » Wed Sep 12, 2018 7:35 pm

Hi Christina,

Welcome to the B-Hebrew forum. Since no one else has jumped in, I'll provide my thoughts even though I'm still not much more than a beginner myself.

I'm curious which textbook you're using. I'd not heard the expression "word pair form" previously – although I've now googled it and found a few references to it.

I'm not an expert on numbers but my textbooks say exactly what yours does: 20 men or 20 man are both correct.
John McKinnon

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Joined: Fri May 23, 2014 4:41 pm

Re: Number word pair forms

Postby S_Walch » Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:28 pm

This is the difference between 'construct state', and 'absolute state' - in either case, the nouns could either agree or disagree in number, yet still indicate more than one thing.

A good example of this is Genesis 31:41:

זֶה־לִּ֞י עֶשְׂרִ֣ים שָׁנָה֮ בְּבֵיתֶךָ֒ עֲבַדְתִּ֜יךָ אַרְבַּֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ בִּשְׁתֵּ֣י בְנֹתֶ֔יךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים בְּצֹאנֶ֑ךָ וַתַּחֲלֵ֥ף אֶת־מַשְׂכֻּרְתִּ֖י עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת מֹנִֽים׃

Here we have examples of absolute forms:
עֶשְׂרִ֣ים שָׁנָה֮ = עֶשְׂרִ֣ים / twenty, plural + שָׁנָה֮ / year, singular, yet meaning years, so "twenty years".

אַרְבַּֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ = אַרְבַּֽע / four, singular + עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה / ten, singular + שָׁנָה֙ / year singular, yet meaning years, so "fourteen years".

Or construct forms:
שֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים = שֵׁ֥שׁ / two, singular + שָׁנִ֖ים / years, plural, so "two years".

עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת מֹנִֽים = עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת / ten, singular + מֹנִֽים / times, plural, so "ten times".

Notice, in the "ten times" example above, the morph that the number 'ten' takes in the Hebrew - it is different from the "fourteen" example.
Ste Walch

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