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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 40

§40. Tenses. Moods. Flexion.

A. Ungnad, ‘Die gegenseitigen Beziehungen der Verbalformen im Grundstamm des semit. Verbs,’ in ZDMG. 59 (1905), 766 ff., and his ‘Zum hebr. Verbalsystem’, in Beiträge zur Assyriologie ed. by Fr. Delitzsch and P. Haupt, 1907, p. 55 ff.

1. While the Hebrew verb, owing to these derivative forms or conjugations, possesses a certain richness and copiousness, it is, on the other hand, poor in the matter of tenses and moods. The verb has only two tense-forms (Perfect and Imperfect, see the note on §47a), besides an Imperative (but only in the active), two Infinitives and a Participle. All relations of time, absolute and relative, are expressed either by these forms (hence a certain diversity in their meaning, §106ff.) or by syntactical combinations. Of moods properly so called (besides the Imperfect Indicative and Imperative), only the Jussive and Optativeare sometimes indicated by express modifications of the Imperfect-form (§ 48).

2. The inflexion of the Perfect, Imperfect, and Imperative as to persons, differs from that of the Western languages in having, to a great extent, distinct forms for the two genders, which correspond to the different forms of the personal pronoun. It is from the union of the pronoun with the verbal stem that the personal inflexions of these tenses arise.

The following table will serve for the beginner as a provisional scheme of the formative syllables (afformatives and preformatives) of the two tenses. The three stem-consonants of the strong verb are denoted by dots. Cf. §44ff. and the Paradigms.

Perfect
Singular. Plural.
3. m.  ∙   ∙   ∙  3. c. וּ‎  ∙   ∙   ∙ 
3. f. ־ָה‎  ∙   ∙   ∙ 
2. m. תָּ‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  2. m. תֶּם‎  ∙   ∙   ∙ 
2. f. תְּ‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  2. f. תֶּן‎  ∙   ∙   ∙ 
1. c. תִּי‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  1. c. נוּ‎  ∙   ∙   ∙ 
Imperfect
Singular. Plural.
3. m.  ∙   ∙   ∙  י‎ 3. m. וּ‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  י‎
3. f.  ∙   ∙   ∙  תּ‎ 3. f. נָה‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  תּ‎
2. m.  ∙   ∙   ∙  תּ‎ 2. m. וּ‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  תּ‎
2. f. ־ִי‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  תּ‎ 2. f. נָה‎  ∙   ∙   ∙  תּ‎
1. c.  ∙   ∙   ∙  א‎ 1. c.  ∙   ∙   ∙  נ‍‎
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