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Etymology 1


  • (Modern Israeli) IPA: /ha/ (usually), IPA: /he/ (sometimes; see usage notes below)


הַ־ (ha-)

  1. (Template loop detected: Template:context 1) The.
Usage notes
  • In traditional grammar, Hebrew common nouns have three “states”: indefinite (corresponding to English “a(n)/some __”), definite (corresponding to English “the __”), and construct (corresponding to English “a(n)/some/the __ of”). Therefore, the definite article was traditionally considered to be an actual part of the definite noun. In modern colloquial use, the definite article is often taken as a clitic, attaching to a noun but not actually part of it. For example, the Hebrew term for school is בֵּית־סֵפֶר (beit séfer) “house-of book”; so in traditional grammar, “the school” is בֵּית־הַסֵּפֶר (beit-haséfer) “house-of-the-book”, but in modern colloquial speech, it is often הַבֵּית־סֵפֶר (habeit-séfer) “the-house-of-book”.
  • ה־ is used not only with nouns, but also with attributive adjectives; that is, attributive adjectives agree in definiteness with the nouns they modify. This agreement is strictly semantic; an attributive adjective takes ה־ if its noun is semantically definite, even if the noun does not itself have ה־, for example if it’s a proper noun.
  • In traditional grammar, the consonant after ה־ receives a dagesh ḥazaq (gemination), unless it’s one of the letters that cannot take a dagesh (א, ה, ח, ע, ר), in which case the vowel in the ה־ changes:
    • If the consonant after the ה־ is א or ר, or if it’s ע and its syllable is stressed, then a qamats is used instead of a pataḥ; so, הָ־ (ha-).
    • If the consonant after the ה־ is ע and its syllable is unstressed, then a segol is used instead of a pataḥ; so, הֶ־ (he-).
    • If the consonant after the ה־ is ה or ח, then a pataḥ is used as usual, unless the ה or ח has unstressed qamats or ḥataf qamats, in which case a segol is used instead.
  • When ה־ follows לְ־ (l'-) “to, for”, בְּ־ (b'-) “in”, or כְּ־ (k'-) “like”, the two merge, with the consonant being ל, ב, or כ and the vowel being that from the ה־.

See also

Etymology 2


  • (Modern Israeli) IPA: /ha/


הֲ־ (ha-)

  1. (archaic) An interrogative particle.
    הידעת?Hayada'ata? — Did you know?

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