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Finding Gentilic Nouns

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#1 Helen Brown

Helen Brown


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Posted 05 August 2010 - 04:11 AM

This was a comment on our Facebook page in response to the Yes We Can thread:

Ken Ristau I noticed that BHS is not tagged with Hebrew gentilics, though the Aramaic gentilics are tagged. Aside from updating the tagging to include this, I could use some help designing a search that would find nouns ending with hireq yod.

I think it is easier to answer here with an image.

My search seems to work:
  • = to indicate exact form
  • * to indicate any letters
  • ? to indicate any one letter
  • () to define that one letter, backspace and enter the hirik, which will appear outside of the parentheses
  • yod
  • @ to combine with the next criterion
  • [NOUN Proper]
And a picture is worth a thousand words:
Attached File  Gentilic.png   110.97KB   78 downloads

By the way, I had to check what Gentilics are: nouns that define a people like Israelite, or Philistine.
Helen Brown
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#2 CapnKirk



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Posted 05 August 2010 - 05:29 AM

By the way, I had to check what Gentilics are: nouns that define a people like Israelite, or Philistine.

As Senior Editor of the Westminster Hebrew Morphology, I can address the question of why Aramaic gentilics are tagged, but Hebrew gentilics are not.

In the case of Aramaic, there is a clear, unambiguous ending that means "a member of an ethnic group." There is even a distinction between singular and plural forms.

In Hebrew, there is no such unique form. The ending is the ending for adjectives (actually the ancient genitive case-ending that Hebrew mostly lost). So it means that what ever precedes the adjective is the actual noun. But "man of Egypt", etc., was shortened to "of Egypt, Egyptian". So there is not a unique, unambiguous form for the "gentilic". From a linguistic perspective, the so-called "gentilic" doesn't exist, and so we don't tag it. Even the dictionaries and lexicons are inconsistent in how they treat these forms, which is also telling against the "reality" of this form.

One can define gentilic as Helen has done: proper noun + ending, and that should get you to the results you want.

Hope this helps.

Edited by CapnKirk, 05 August 2010 - 05:33 AM.

Kirk Lowery, PhD
President & Senior Research Fellow
J. Alan Groves Center
for Advanced Biblical Research

#3 jad



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Posted 18 June 2013 - 12:19 PM

The search turns up some proper names that aren't gentilic, like Eli, Hophni, etc. I also want to do this type of search in the DSS modules where the plural form is often yod-yod-mem. I wanted to narrow it to only those instances where the form is absolute and the different ending is evident.   I tried this =*?(י)?(י)@[properName]   (which displays backwards). It just tries to find yod-yod as a string. But in the DSS module it says it can't find the lexical form. I tried again with the final mem in the string but got the same result.       


Edited by jad, 18 June 2013 - 12:54 PM.

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