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Bible Lexicons

Gesenius Hebrew Grammer

Part 94

§94. Formation of Feminine Nouns.

1. The feminine ending ־ָה‎, when appended to the masculine forms treated in §93, effects in almost all cases the same changes as are produced in the masculine forms by the addition of a light suffix, since in both cases the tone is moved one place farther forward (see §92b). The following scheme is based on the same division into four classes, with their subdivisions, as in §93; a few special forms will be treated in §95 in connexion with the paradigms of feminine nouns.

Paradigm I: segholate forms, with the feminine ending always added to the ground-form, (a) מַלְכָּה‎ queen, כַּבְשָׂ֫ה‎, and with attenuation of ă to ĭ כִּבְשָׂ֫ה‎ lamb, רִצְפָּה‎ hot stone, Isaiah 6:6 (from another root רִֽצְפָה‎; see Baer on Ezekiel 40:17), חֶזְקָה‎ strength (unless belonging to Paradigm b); (b) סִתְרָה‎ covering (masc. סֵ֫תֶר‎); עֶדְנָה‎ pleasure (עֵ֫דֶן‎), not to be confounded with the unchangeable forms with a prefixed מ‍‎, derived from ל״ה‎ stems, as מִצְוָה‎ command, plur. מִצְו‌ֹת‎; (c) חֻלְדָּה‎, proper name (חֹ֫לֶד‎ mole), אָכְלָה‎ food (אֹ֫כֶל‎); (d) נַֽעֲרָה‎ girl (נַ֫עַר‎); (f) בָּאְשָׁה‎ weed, טָֽהֳרָה‎ purity (טֹ֫הַר‎); (g) עַוְלָה‎ wrong (also עוֹלָה‎, Paradigm i); (i) צֵידָה‎ victuals (masc. צַ֫יִד‎, cf. Paradigm h); from qiṭl and quṭl-forms, בִּינָה‎ understanding, סוּפָה‎ tempest; (k) אַלְיָה‎ fat tail (as if from אֲלִי‎), שִׁבְיָה‎ (ă attenuated to ĭ) captivity (שְׁבִי)‎, לִוְיָה‎ wreath (probably an original qiṭl-form); (l) חַיָּה‎ life, מִדָּה‎ measure (attenuated from מַדָּה‎). Adjectives derived from ע״ע‎ stems also belong in flexion to this class, as רַבָּה‎ multa, with middle guttural רָעָה‎ mala; (m) זִמָּה‎ plan; (n) חֻקָּה‎ statute (חֹק‎).

Paradigm II: ground-form qăṭălăt, &c., (a) נְקָמָה‎ vengeance (נָקָם‎); (b) אֲדָמָה‎ earth; (c) נְבֵלָה‎ corpse; (d) עֲיֵפָה‎ languida; (f) יָפָה‎ beautiful, קָצָה‎ end (from יָפֶה‎, קָצֶה‎). From stems ע״וּ‎ arise such forms as עֵדָה‎ (masc. עֵד‎, properly part. Qal from עוּד‎) female witness. From the ground-form qătŭl, עֲמֻקָּה‎ profunda (masc. עָמֹק‎), עֲבֻדָּה‎ servitude, &c.

Paradigm III: unchangeable vowel in the first, changeable in the second syllable, (a) יֽׄלֵדָה‎ a woman with child (cf. the examples in §84as, and the retention of the ē in the part. Piʿēl, Exodus 22:17, Exodus 23:26; in the Hithpaʿēl 1 Kings 14:5), but also with the change of the ē (originally ĭ) into Še, יֽשְׁבָה‎ dwelling, Nahum 3:8. However, in these participial forms the feminine is mostly indicated by ־ֶת‎ (see below, h); (c) גּוֹלָה‎ those of the captivity (masc. גּוֹלֶה‎), but also with a return of the final Yôdh, הֹֽמִיָּה‎ clamorous, Proverbs 7:11, and the examples in §75v. On the â of the participles of verbs ע״וּ‎, which also belong to this class, such as זָרָה‎ peregrina, cf. §72g. Paradigm IV: originally changeable vowel in the first syllable, unchangeable in the second, (a) גְּדֹלָה‎ magna, חֲסִידָה‎ stork, properly pia; בְּתוּלָה‎ virgin, properly seiuncta; (b) עֲנִיָה‎ misera.

2. A simple ת‎ is added as feminine ending in forms like בְּכִית‎ weeping (masc. בְּכִי‎, §93x, a), בְּרִית‎ covenant; but feminine participles of verbs ל״א‎, as יׄצֵאת‎, מֹצֵאת‎, may be due to contraction from yôṣèʾet, &c. (hardly to lengthening of the ĭ in the ground-form môṣi), whilst forms like מֽוֹצְאֵת‎, נֽשְֹׁאֵת‎ (see §74i) are to be explained on the analogy of the forms treated in §93t. Apart from the ל״ה‎ formations, we find the simple ת‎ in the participle מְשָׁרַת‎ 1 Kings 1:15, contracted from מְשָׁרַתְתְּ‎. But וְיׄלַדְתְּ‎ Genesis 16:11, Judges 13:57 is the ground-form of the ptcp. וְיׄלֶ֫דֶת‎ (as in the same connexion in Genesis 17:19, Isaiah 7:14), cf. §80d and the Qere שַׁבְתְּ‎, &c., discussed in §90n.

The forms which arise by appending the ת‎ feminine to masculine nouns with a changeable vowel in a closed final syllable are, as a rule, developed exactly in the same way as masculine segholate forms. Thus there arise in Paradigm I (a) from גְּבַרְתְּ‎ (for original gebirt; §69c), the form גְּבֶ֫רֶת‎ mistress (but only in construct st.; in Isaiah 47:7 also גְּבֶ֫רֶת עַד‎ are to be taken together; the absolute st. is גְּבִירָה‎); from מְלַכְתְּ‎, מְלֶ֫כֶת‎ queen (in Paradigm II, a); פְּחֶ֫תֶת‎ (פְּ֫חַת‎ = פַּ֫חַת‎ pit) Leviticus 13:55; (c) גָּדֵר‎ wall, גְּדֶ֫רֶת‎ (from גְּדַרְתְּ‎ = gedirt; cf. זְקַן‎ as construct st. of זָקֵן‎); on the other hand, חֲמֵ֫שֶׁת‎ is construct st. of חֲמִשָּׁה‎ five, with lengthening of the original ĭ of חֲמִשְׁתְּ‎.

Formations with a changeable ō in the second syllable belonging to this class are נְח֫שֶׁת‎ bronze (from נְחֻשְׁתְּ‎), כְּתֹ֫נֶת‎ the constr. st. of כֻּתֹּ֫נֶת‎ coat, perhaps also כְּתֹ֫בֶת‎ writing (unless it be obscured from כְּתָב‎, §93, Paradigm IV, c).—Paradigm III, (a) חֹתֶ֫מֶת‎ (from חֹתַמְתְּ‎), masc. חוֹתָם‎ seal; (b) יוֹנֶ֫קֶת‎ (properly sucking) sprout (in pause, e.g. חֹבָ֫רֶת‎ Exodus 26:4, &c.), and so most feminines of participles קֹטֵל‎. On this transition of the ground-form qôṭilt to קֹטַלְתְּ‎ (regularly before suffixes in יֽוֹנַקְתּוֹ‎, יֽׄלַדְתּוֹ‎, &c.), cf. §69c; qôṭalt serves as the ground-form under the influenee of a guttural as well as before suffixes, e.g. יׄדַ֫עַת‎, feminine of יׄדֵעַ‎ knowing; in a wider sense, גֻּלְגּׄ֫לֶת‎ skull may also be included here, see §95, Paradigm IV, c.

On the endings וּת‎ and ־ִית‎, see §86k, l, §95 at the end.

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