החל vs התחיל

  • slus

    Senior Member
    Hebrew - Israel
    It depends on the context, but generally speaking, החל is higher register than התחיל
    החל is less common and more poetic.
    Having said that, in commercials you can often hear הספירה לאחור החלה (the countdown has begun).
    Another difference is that החל is usually standalone. If you want to say "began to" you would say התחיל ל. Almost never החל ל.
     

    Doug R

    Member
    English - Canada
    Is החל used in anything besides past tense, third person? I am only used to seeing it in that form.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Searching Google, I find plenty of uses of the future (I searched for "יחל" and "יחלו"). The present tense is harder to search for, because it has the same spelling as more common words, but if you search for specific phrases like "מחילים לבנות" and "מחילים אחרי", you do get a few results.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    התחיל is, of course, from hif'il, but what about החל? What are its root letters?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    החל is the original word. It's Hif'il with root חלל.

    התחיל is a derived from the "rootification" of תחילה as תחל, even though it is actually from the same root חלל as above and the ת is just a prefix.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    But if it's from hif'il why is I started החלותי ha-khi-lo-ti (with stress on lo)?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    That's normal for geminate roots in most binyanim, as well as hollow roots in some binyanim.

    - Hif'il geminate: הֵסֵב becomes הֵסַבְתִּי or הֲסִבּוֹתִי
    - Hif'il hollow: הֵרִים becomes הֵרַמְתִּי or הֲרִימוֹתִי
    - Pa'al geminate: סַב/סָבַב becomes סַבְתִּי or סַבּוֹתִי
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks! By the way, I don't think סַבְתִּי ('I turned (intransitive)' or 'I went around' or 'I surrounded') exists.

    Nor does הֵסַבְתִּי ('I turned (transitive)' or 'I made something go around') exist as far as I know. Have you encountered such forms before?
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I mean these verbs are not so common in Modern Hebrew so they're not the easiest to find examples of with such tight criteria.

    Also it could be that in pa'al, סבבתי is what's in more common use.

    But הסבתי is definitely the commonly used form today for hif'il geminates.
     
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