במרכז אמריקה or באמריקה המרכזית?

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by Konstantinos, Mar 6, 2014.

  1. Konstantinos

    Konstantinos Senior Member

    Athens, Greece
    Greek - Athens
    פנמה נמצאת במרכז אמריקה
    פנמה נמצאת באמריקה המרכזית

    What is the difference?
     
  2. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    מרכז = center (noun)
    מרכזי = central (adjective)

    The first one means "Panama is located in the center of America".
    The second one means "Panama is located in Central America".
     
  3. Konstantinos

    Konstantinos Senior Member

    Athens, Greece
    Greek - Athens
    Thank you Drink. And what about the definite article "the" "ה"?

    פנמה נמצאת במרכז אמריקה - Panama is located in center of America
    פנמה נמצאת בהמרכז אמריקה - Panama is located in the center of America
     
  4. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    This has to do with the rules of Hebrew grammar.

    First of all, "אמריקה" is a proper noun and therefore always definite. It cannot take the definite article "ה" because it is already definite.

    Adjectives must agree with the noun, not only in gender and number, but also in definiteness. Since "אמריקה" is definite, adjectives modifying it must also be definite. Thus, "אמריקה המרכזית".

    "מרכז אמריקה" is a compound noun (technically, the "construct state" or "סמיכות"). The rule for construct states is that only the last noun can have the definite article and it makes the whole compound definite. Since the last noun "אמריקה" is already definite, even without the definite article, it makes the whole compound definite. The first noun in a compound can never take the definite article, thus "המרכז אמריקה" is wrong. The correct form is "מרכז אמריקה".

    Lastly, the prepositions ב, ל, כ (but NOT מ) combine with ה, making the "ה" disappear, but changing the pronunciation. "ב + המרכז" becomes "במרכז" (pronounced "ba-merkaz"). The spelling "במרכז" can mean two different things: "be-merkaz" (meaning "in a center") or "ba-merkaz" (meaning "in the center"). In "במרכז אמריקה" it is pronounced "be-merkaz" because it does not have the definite article.

    SUMMARY:
    "במרכז אמריקה" = in the center of America
    "בהמרכז אמריקה" is wrong
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  5. Konstantinos

    Konstantinos Senior Member

    Athens, Greece
    Greek - Athens
    Drink, you are enlightening, thank you.
     

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