תָּם

Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan
שלום

I know the last letter of תָּם 'finished, ended' originally had a דגש but it dropped out for some reason. My question is: the same strange thing happened to עַם 'people', yet the פתח did not lengthen to a קמץ. Is there a reason for this difference in behavior?

אני מודה לכם מאוד
 
  • Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    The dagesh is always dropped at the end of a word (with a few exceptions). In general, the patach remains a patach, though sometimes it becomes a kamatz. In pausal position it will (almost?) always become a kamatz. I'm not sure if there is a predictable patter for when it is a kamatz in non-pausal positions.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks. The same strange thing happened with סָר, as in

    אִישׁ הָיָה בְאֶרֶץ עוּץ אִיּוֹב שְׁמוֹ וְהָיָה הָאִישׁ הַהוּא תָּם וְיָשָׁר וִירֵא אֱלֹהִים וְסָר מֵרָע.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    You're right; silly me!

    By the way, I just received the following reply from a friend:

    "Most people explain the qameṣ forms as owing to the final /m/, for the phenomenon occurs also in yamm- and ʿamm-"
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Could be. What's most interesting is that the kamatz remains in the construct forms as well, rather than becoming a patach. At least for ים and תם.
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    For יָם, yes, but isn't עַם spelt with a patach? With the definite article הָעָם, the qamets returns, but I am not quite sure why that is.

    I've heard it cited as some kind of affect of the stressed guttural with the definite article. Compare also ההר and הארץ and החג. But it doesn't happen in most other such words, so I'm not sure how good of an explanation that is.
     
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