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-it/-iyah and -im/-iyim

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by Drink, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    For adjectives ending in -i (for example צָרְפָתִי), what is the difference between the feminine singular endings -it and -iyah (צָרְפָתִית and צָרְפָתִיָּה)? And what is the difference between the masculine plural endings -im and -iyim (צָרְפָתִים and צָרְפָתִיִּים)?

    My gut feeling is that for the feminine singular, -it is used for inanimate objects and -iyah for people, and that for the masculine plural, -iyim is the adjective and -im is only if it is used as a noun.

    For example, are the following grammatically correct?:

    האישה הצרפתיה מכינה ארוחה צרפתית.
    הצרפתים הם אנשים צרפתיים.

    And are there any other rules about the usage of these variants?
  2. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    You can simply say
    הצרפתיה מכינה ארוחה צרפתית
    without אישה

    And the second sentence is a bit strange ("The French are French people") but all the same correct.
  3. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Thanks for confirming that the sentences are correct, but they are really just examples to illustrate my perception of the difference between the endings. I am more interested in why they are correct and the more general rules of how to use these these endings.
  4. ystab Senior Member

  5. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    תודה רבה!

    I can read Hebrew but with difficulty. I understood the first link about the feminine singular. It says that there is no hard rule but in general people prefer -it when the masculine singular has non-final stress and -iyah when the masculine singular has final stress. But this does not explain the difference between אישה צרפתיה and ארוחה צרפתית.

    I did not quite understand the second link about the masculine plural. It seemed to say that -im is used for people and -iyim for everything else, but then it gave a lot of counterexamples.

    I would really like to understand the rules behind these counterexamples.
  6. arielipi Senior Member

    I think that arukha tsarfatit - the -it suffix acts as a meta'er, while isha tsarfatiya is a fact.
  7. ystab Senior Member

    Regarding the masculine plural, what they say there is that צרפתי can be either a noun (a Frenchman) or an adjective (French). Therefore, for persons you can say: חיילים צרפתיים (French soldiers) and חיילים צרפתים (soldiers who are Frenchmen), while for inanimates you say: מטוסים צרפתיים (French planes). In practice, a single Yod is for people and a double Yod for non people.

    Regarding the feminine singular, check also this related link from the same site: http://hebrew-academy.org.il/2011/07/דתית-או-דתייה-סיומת-םִית-לעומת-סיומת/. Its principle is basically similar to the people-non-people above.
  8. Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    תודה רבה! אני חושב שאני מבין כרגע.
  9. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    Moderator note: The discussion about the word כרגע has been moved to a new thread.

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