Diminutives in Biblical Hebrew

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talmid56
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Diminutives in Biblical Hebrew

Post by talmid56 »

Do diminutive forms exist in BH, as they do in ancient Greek? That is, as in English we can say "kitty" vs "cat", "doggy" vs "dog", "dearie" vs "dear", etc. If they do exist, how are they formed? (I'm aware they exist in Modern Hebrew.)
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Jason Hare
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Re: Diminutives in Biblical Hebrew

Post by Jason Hare »

See Gesenius section 86g and note. The ון ending is used extensively in modern Hebrew, whereas it's very rare in biblical. Notice also the repeated root letters in words like כלבלב for "puppy" (from כלב). I'm not sure if this structure is biblical, though. (In modern, we use קטנטן for "tiny" [from קטן]. Then again, יפיפה doesn't mean "small handsome." Perhaps the repetition is some kind of intensifier.)
Jason Hare
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ducky
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Re: Diminutives in Biblical Hebrew

Post by ducky »

"Doubling" the word in the Bible is used to give more strength to the word
so אדמדם is more red than red
and קטנטן is more little than little
And so on...

Today (but started way before), some of these words got the opposite sense
So today if someone says אדמדם, he actually means light red

So today, this "doubling" form is used sometimes for "strength" and sometimes for "softness"
It depends on the word.

Today, The suffix of ון (along with the Biblical general meaning) is used also a lot of times for "little-ing" the word.
(also ית)

But I don't have in mind some Biblical form for this usage of "little-ing"
David Hunter
Jason Hare
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Re: Diminutives in Biblical Hebrew

Post by Jason Hare »

ducky wrote:"Doubling" the word in the Bible is used to give more strength to the word
so אדמדם is more red than red
and קטנטן is more little than little
And so on...

Today (but started way before), some of these words got the opposite sense
So today if someone says אדמדם, he actually means light red

So today, this "doubling" form is used sometimes for "strength" and sometimes for "softness"
It depends on the word.

Today, The suffix of ון (along with the Biblical general meaning) is used also a lot of times for "little-ing" the word.
(also ית)

But I don't have in mind some Biblical form for this usage of "little-ing"
"Little-ing" is called "diminution." That's what the OP is asking about. ;)
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
ducky
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Re: Diminutives in Biblical Hebrew

Post by ducky »

Thanks, Jason.
I understand that from his question

But I wrote "little-ing" anyway to make sure.
David Hunter
Jason Hare
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Re: Diminutives in Biblical Hebrew

Post by Jason Hare »

ducky wrote:Thanks, Jason.
I understand that from his question

But I wrote "little-ing" anyway to make sure.
I like it.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
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