Learn Hebrew Nouns ~ Lesson 1|
Introduction to Hebrew Nouns
By Jeff A. Benner
The Hebrew script used in these lessons are the internet Hebrew Unicodes and are best viewed with the David.ttf font uploaded to your fonts folder.
A Noun is defined as a person, place or thing and is the most common type of word in the Biblical text. Some common examples of nouns in the Biblical text are בן (ben - son), מלך (melek - king), ארץ (erets - land), יד (yad - hand), חי (hhai - life) and עץ (eyts - tree). Proper nouns are names of specific persons and places such as יעקב (Ya'aqov - Jacob) and מצרים (Mitsrayim - Egypt).
Every noun is either masculine or feminine. An obvious masculine noun is אישׁ (iysh - man) and an obvious feminine noun would be אשׁה (iyshah - woman). As can be seen in this example the suffix ה (ah) can be added to a masculine noun to make it feminine. Another example is the word מלך (melek - king), a masculine noun whereas מלכה (mal'khah - queen) is the feminine form. However, some nouns cannot be identified as masculine or feminine by any suffix, or lack of it. The word עץ (eyts - tree) is a masculine while רוּח (ru'ahh - wind) is feminine. The gender of a noun is important as will become evident in later lessons.
A simple noun is composed of the two or three letters of its root such as מלך (melek - king) which comes from the root מ-ל-ך (M-L-K). Also coming from the root מ-ל-ך is the verb מלך (malak - to reign). Other nouns are derived from this root by placing specific letters as fixes (prefixes, infixes or suffixes) to the root such as we saw with the word מלכה (mal'khah - Queen). Other nouns derived from מ-ל-ך are מלכוּת (mal'khut - Kingdom), ממלכוּת (mam'lekhut - Reign) and מלוּכה (melukhah - Royal).
Below is a list of the most common “fixes” added to a root for developing additional nouns. By recognizing these "fixes", one can easily uncover the original root word assisting the reader with identifying the meaning of the word.
A construct is where two nouns are put together to form one idea. A common Biblical example of this is the construct “messenger of God.” In Hebrew this is written as מַלְאַךְ אֱלֹהִים (the “of” is implied in the Hebrew). If the first word in this construct is a feminine word ending with the letter ה, the ה is changed to a ת. For instance, when the word תוֹרָה (teachings) is used in the construct with the word אֱלֹהִים it becomes תוֹרָת אֱלֹהִים (teachings of God).
This PDF file is a list of the 100 most frequent Biblical Hebrew nouns. I recommend making flash cards for each of these. Write the Hebrew on one side and the English on the other. Take them with you everywhere and when you have time pull them out and go through them to build your Hebrew vocabulary.