- Samaritan Hebrew language
Israeland Palestinian Authorityterritories, predominantly in Samariaand Holon.
speakers=fewer than 1,000; liturgical only
iso3=heb The Samaritan Hebrew language is a descendant of
Biblical Hebrewas pronounced and written by the Samaritans. It is used in the reading tradition of the Samaritan Pentateuch.
It is written in the
Samaritan alphabet, a direct descendant of the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet(itself a variation of what phoenicians used as a alphabet, see, the Phoenician alphabet), whereas all other varieties of Hebrew are written in the later Hebrew alphabet, a variation on the Aramaic alphabet.
The Samaritan pronunciation of Hebrew differs in several respects from most others. The
laryngealsHe and Cheth have disappeared or turned into vowels. Behth and Waw both are pronounced as "b" (in fact, the letters' names are pronounced Bîhth and Baa), only the waw-conjunctive is pronounced as "u". There is no double pronunciation of the Shin like Jewish Hebrew; it is always pronounced "sh". Consonants with dageshare pronounced geminate. Stress is commonly penultimate rather than ultimate.
- ’Ā´lāph. ' /ʔ/
- Bîhth. /b/
- Gā´mān. /ɡ/
- Dā´lath. /d/
- Iē’. /ey/,
- Báā. /b/
- Zēn. /z/
- Tihth. /tˁ/
- Yūhth. /y/
- Káph. /k/ - [x] allophonically
- Lā´bāth. /l/
- Mīīm. /m/
- Nūn. /n/
- Sîn´gath/Sîn´kath. /s/
- ‛A´yîn. /ʕ/
- Phī’. /f/
- Tsa•dhey´. /tzsˁ/ /tş/
- Qūhph. /qˁ/
- Rīhšh. /ɾ/
- šhān. /š/ (sh)
Parts of speech
I anáki you (male) átta you (female) átti (note the final "yohdh") he û she î we anánu you (male, plural) attímma you (female, plural) éttên they (male) ímma they (female) ínna
This: masc. ze, fem. zéot, pl. ílla.
That: alaz (written with a "he" at the beginning).
Who, which: éšar.
Who? = mi. What? = ma.
When suffixes are added, ê and ô in the last syllable may become î and û: bôr (Judean bohr) "pit" > búrôt "pits". Note also af "anger" > éppa "her anger".
Segolates behave more or less as in other Hebrew varieties: beţen "stomach" > báţnek "your stomach", ke′seph "silver" > ke′sefánu (Judean Hebrew "kaspe′nu") "our silver", dérek > dirkakimma "your (m. pl.) road" but áreş (in Judean Hebrew: "’e′rets") "earth" > árşak (Judean Hebrew "’arts-ekha") "your earth".
definite articleis a- or e-, and causes geminationof the following consonant, unless it is a guttural; it is written with a "he", but as usual, the "h" is silent. Thus, for example: énnar / ánnar = "the youth"; ellêm = "the meat"; a'émur = "the donkey".
Regular plural suffixes are -êm, Judean Hebrew -im) masc., -ôt (Judean Hebrew: -oth.) fem: eyyamêm "the days", elamôt "dreams".
Dual is sometimes -ayem (Judean Hebrew: a′yim) (šenatayem "two years"), usually -êm like the plural (yédêm "hands", Judean Hebrew "yadhayim".)
Tradition of Divine name
Samaritans have the tradition of either spelling out loud with the Samaritan letters
"Yohth, Ie', Baa, Ie’ "
or saying "Shema" meaning "(The Divine) Name" in Aramaic, similar to Judean Hebrew "Ha-Shem" .
Affixes are: perfect imperfect I -ti e- you (male) -ta ti- you (female) -ti ? he - yi- she -a ti- we ? ne- you (plural) -tímma te- -un you (female, plural) -tên ? they (male) -u yi- -u they (female) ? ti- -inna
"in, using", pronounced:
* b- before a vowel (or, therefore, a former guttural): b-érbi = "with a sword"; b-íštu "with his wife".
* ba- before a
bilabial consonant: bá-bêt (Judean Hebrew: ba-ba′yith) "in a house", ba-mádbar "in a wilderness"
* ev- before other consonant: ev-lila "in a night", ev-dévar "with the thing".
* ba-/be- before the
definite article("the"): barrášet (Judean Hebrew: Bere’·shith′) "in the beginning"; béyyôm "in the day".
"as, like", pronounced:
* ka without the article: ka-demútu "in his likeness"
* ke with the article: ké-yyôm "like the day".
* l- before a vowel: l-ávi "to my father", l-évad "to the slave"
* el-, al- before a consonant: al-béni "to the children (of)"
* le- before l: le-léket "to go"
* l- before the article: lammúad "at the appointed time"; la-şé'on "to the flock"
* w- before consonants: wal-Šárra "and to Sarah"
* u- before vowels: u-yeššeg "and he caught up".
* al: towards
* elfáni: before
* bêd-u: for him
* elqérôt: against
* balêd-i: except me
* u: or
* em: if, when
* avel: but
* la: not
* kâ: also
* afu: also
* ín-ak: you are not
* ífa (ípa): where?
* méti: when
* fâ: here
* šémma: there
* mittét: under
*J. Rosenberg, "Lehrbuch der samaritanischen Sprache und Literatur", A. Hartleben's Verlag: Wien, Pest, Leipzig.
* Ben-Hayyim, Ze'ev, and Tal, Abraham, "A Grammar of Samaritan Hebrew Based on the Recitation of the Law in Comparison with the Tiberian and Other Jewish Traditions": 2000 ISBN 1-57506-047-7
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