Biblical Hebrew

                                         Volume 2

 
 


The Weak verbs

In this series, a "weak verb" is defined as: 
"a verb with a root that has as its radicals: 
one, and only one, guttural, plus two different strong consonants." 

In this instance, resh is considered to be a strong consonant, but waw and yod are, with a few exceptions, not considered to be strong consonants.

The Roman numbers I, II, III, are used to indicate the position of the guttural in the root of the verb. For example: III-hey indicates that the verb has a hey as a radical in the third position. In other words, the root ends in a hey.

The weak verbs can be classified into twelve classes according to the four strong
gutturals, multiplied by the three root positions in a root where they could be found. Except for II-guttural verbs, resh is excluded as it presents no unexpected influences.


Summary

chapter   class                                      description /example

I-guttural A guttural in the first root position.
                  30 א I א in the first root position.
אָמַר
אָסַר
31 ע I ע in the first root position. עָמַד
32 ח I ח in the first root position. חָזַק
33 ה I ה in the first root position. הָלַךְ
II-guttural A guttural in the second root position.
34 א II א in the second root position. שָׁאַל
35 ע II ע in the second root position. בָּעַר
36 ר II / ח II ר / ח in the second root position. בָּחַר
37 ה II ה in the second root position. מָהַר
III-guttural A guttural in the third root position.
38 א III א in the third root position. מָצָא
39 ע III ע in the third root position. שָׁמַע
40 ח III ח in the third root position. בָּרַח
41 ה III ה in the third root position. בָּנָה

Notes:
With weak verbs, only vowel changes take place.
In weak verbs, the vowel changes take place in those forms that have prefixes and vocal shewas, namely the imperfect, imperative, and infinitives.
With irregular verbs however, vowel changes as well as changes to the radicals (root consonants) can occur. (Chapters 42 - 46)
In Chapter 1.4 of Volume 1 it was shown that the strong gutturals display certain peculiarities. Keeping these peculiarities in mind and adhering to all vocalization rules known by now, we could surmise that many weak verbs behave in what could be called: "an expected or normal I-, II-, or III-guttural verb fashion."




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