Hebrew Infinitives

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by אדם, Mar 2, 2008.

  1. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA

    I am independently trying to learn Hebrew, and I am somewhat confused about turning roots into infinitives. I have observed a few of them, and understand some basic concepts that work for some, but not all of the infinitives.

    Also, with בנין היתפאל (sp?) is it supposed to start with a hey or a mem? On Wikipedia it shows it with a mem, but on a different text I read it said to use a hey.

    Oh.. and a bit off topic, how can you type with vowels? I can read Hebrew pretty well without vowels, but it's a lot easier with (for notes if I ever take them on my computer).

  2. בעל-חלומות Senior Member

    ישראל, עברית
    Five of the seven ביניינים have infinitives. The general rule is to take the imperative form and add a ל in the beginning. I don't think that there are any irregulars in התפעל, הפעיל, נפעל, and פיעל, but there are many in פעל.
    From Hebrew Vikipedia:
    בניין קל: לִשְׁבֹּר
    בניין נפעל: לְהִשָּׁבֵר
    בניין פיעל: לְשַׁבֵּר
    בניין הפעיל: לְהַלְבִּישׁ
    בניין התפעל: לְהִתְלַבֵּשׁ

    Some irregulars are הלך-ללכת, שמע-לשמוע, ראה-לראות. I don't know if there are rules for בניין פעל.

    It's ה. You use מ in the present form.

    If you have Hebrew installed, then you need to turn CAPS lock on and then push shift and one of the numbers above the letters.
  3. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    Thanks a lot, that definitely helps.. Along with that though, how do you know which בניין it should belong with?

    Let's take אכל for example.. why does it become לֶאֶכוֹל and not לִאְכֹל? Also with לְלֶחֶת, לִנְסוֹהַ, etc. (Hopefully I'm not butchering how it's spelled.. =/)

    Also.. what are the most used בניין? So far I understand how קל והתפעל work, and their usage. Would it be wrong to assume that קל is the most used בנייו?
  4. בעל-חלומות Senior Member

    ישראל, עברית
    Most roots have more than one infinitives. א.כ.ל, for example, has all five. You can put אכל in all the ביניינים, so the infinitives depends on the בניין that you choose. Each בניין gives the roots a different meaning, so each infinitive has a different meaning as well. For example, in בניין קל the verb is אכל and its infinitive is לֶאֱכוֹל, while in התפעל the verb is התאכל and the infinitive is לְהִתְאַכֵּל, which means "to be digested".

    I think that was your question. Let me know if I answered something completely different instead.

    נסע and הלך both have irregular infintives in קל, so you would have to remember them.

    קל is the most common. I don't know which of the others is used most.
  5. eshcar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    just a small correction - להתאכל means "to be burned up, to be destroyed", and is very rare (biblical)
    you were probably thinking about להתעכל, which does mean "to be digested" :)
  6. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    Wait, can אכל actually have a התפעל בנייו? Wouldn't that mean that the subject is eating itself? Or are there other qualities to התפעל aside from the reflexive?
  7. בעל-חלומות Senior Member

    ישראל, עברית
    It can also be a passive action, an action between two people, and "becoming something".

    And thanks, eshcar, for the correctment. It's intersting how close the root for digestion and the root for eating/destroying are.
  8. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    I just had a talk with a person who's teaching Conversational Hebrew.. and he explained it in a way that is really simple for me to understand.. Not on the topic of the infinitives, but just on the בניין... With the verb אכל if you conjugate it to הפיל (sp?) then it is to make someone eat, i.e. to feed someone? Or if you conjugate it to התפעל then it is more in the sense of I feed myself?

    Tell me if I'm wrong.. but that seems to make sense to me..


    אני מדבר -> I teach
    אני דובר -> I learn
    אני מתדבר -> I teach myself

    Sorry.. I guess I'm kind of getting off topic, but I feel like I'm having epiphanies.. haha
  9. בעל-חלומות Senior Member

    ישראל, עברית
    This is basically correct.

    האכיל means "to feed".

    אכל in בניין התפעל wouldn't mean "to feed myself", though, but "to eat myself". The actual meaning of התאכל though, as is written above, is to be destroyed/burned. This is sensous(is this word used for הגיוני? ) when you think about it. Eating is just a form of destruction in which your body uses the remainders of what your mouth destroys, isn't it?

    This would have been right if you used the root למד. The root you used means "to speak".

    Epiphanes are among the best things in learning languages, I think, and Hebrew gives a lot of opportunities to get them...
  10. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    Haha yeah, sorry.. I keep mixing up למד ודבר....

    Something I've been a bit confused about still though, is how to distinguish between if something should be conjugated with הפיעל or with פיעל, because it seems like things could work in both instances.. Cause with אכל for example, "To make someone eat" is essencially "feeding them", but to "feed" someone you technically need to have two people, so rather than conjugating in הפעיל I would conjugate with פיעל... I suppose the latter version makes more sense...

    Or am I thinking about this incorrectly?
  11. eshcar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    I can understand you wanting to find some sort of regularity in the בניינים system. However, you sould keep in mind that a language is not an exact science - there will always be exceptions to the rules...:)
    I don't know if you understand hebrew well enough, but if you do, you should check out the hebrew wikipedia article about בניינים (I would add a link, but I'm not senior enough...)

    And just to demonstrate how confusing it is, even for a native speaker -
    בעל חלומות agreed with you that the root למד in בניין התפעל would mean "to teach oneself", beacuse verbs in התפעל tend to be reflexive. This, however, is not the case here - התלמד means that he was trained (usually for a job/profession and usually by someone more experience than himself). מתלמד as a noun means "a trainee".

    best of luck trying to make sense of it all! :D

  12. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    אני לא יודע מספיק עברית, אבל אני אלמוד עוד. תודה הרבי מאוד​

    And sorry I'm probably bitchering how everything is spelled. =/
    Please correct anything you notice. ;)
  13. Mjolnir

    Mjolnir Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew, English
    I'll learn more - אני אלמד עוד
    I'll still learn - אני עוד אלמד
    Thank you very much - תודה רבה
    Butchering :)
  14. JaiHare Senior Member

    Israel (ישראל)
    English (American)
    I think we should specifically point out that there are some verbs in the Qal (קל) that have a different future form.

    We would expect *אלמוד elmod, if it were normal, but it has a different form and comes out as אלמד elmad ("i will learn"). So, it looks exactly like אלמד elamad ("I will teach"). This is the case with a set of verbs. It applies to אלבש elbash ("I will wear"), אשכב eshkav ("I will lie down"), אשמע eshma ("I will hear"), אקרא ekra ("I will read") and some others. The infinitive still forms with the -o- vowel, however.

    Does anyone have a list of the verbs that take this form? It can be a little frustrating for beginners, but it's the way that the language works.

  15. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    I recommend 501 Hebrew Verbs by Bolozky. It's not a list of special pa`al conjugations but a whole volume of 501 fully conjugated verbs.

    By the way, אלמד (as in, "I will teach") is pronounced alamed.
  16. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    תודה... I guess I can't even spell in English lately haha.

    I'll be sure to check that book out then.

    Alright, thank you for explaining that. Does that mean that those verbs are irregular? Like how in Spanish some words follow some of the conjugation rules, but not others.

    I suppose it's not a good idea to compare two languages though
  17. JaiHare Senior Member

    Israel (ישראל)
    English (American)
    Yes, exactly. Just like there are words in the preterite that do not follow the normal form, such as condujo and fui, so there are words that belong to a different category and do not fit the normal form. It is just a short list of verbs that have a yiqtal form instead of a yiqtol form for the future. Don't worry about it until you actually start learning verb forms and such. Good luck in your studies. :)

  18. JaiHare Senior Member

    Israel (ישראל)
    English (American)
    Of course it is alamed. I make that mistake in transliterating sometimes. Whoops! LOL

    There is a short list of verbs with the yiqtal pattern in the future. I already have 501 Hebrew Verbs, however that doesn't lay out the specific words that have this pattern. I have them in a book I got from ulpan here. I think I will look through it and find them, and I'll put it on here.

  19. JaiHare Senior Member

    Israel (ישראל)
    English (American)
    Here is the list that I found in my book:

    יצחק - he will laugh
    ימצא - he will find
    ישלח - he will send
    יפתח - he will open
    יגדל - he will grow
    ילמד - he will learn
    ישכב - he will lie down (inf. לשכב also outside of the normal pattern)
    ילבש - he will wear
    ינהג - he will drive

    Does anyone know if there are other verbs that fit this pattern of an -a- vowel in the second syllable of the future instead of an -o- vowel?

  20. eshcar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    just off the top of my head : ירכב - he will ride (and NOT ירכוב, as mant native speakers tend to say).
    i'm sure there are many more, it's quite a usual form.
  21. eshcar Senior Member

    Israel, Hebrew
    I gave it some thought, and here are some more examples:

    יבטח - he will trust
    ירעד - he will shake/tremble
    ישלח - he will send
    יפגע - he will hurt/hit
    יגע - he will touch (the root is נגע, and it has both reg. form of inf. לנגוע and irreg. form of inf. לגעת [much more common])
    יטע - he will plant (the root is נטע, and it has both reg. inf. לנטוע [more common] and irreg. inf. לטעת)
    יקח - he will take (the root is לקח, and it has irreg. form of inf. לקחת)
    יאמר - he will say (irreg. inf. - לומר)

    Of course, there are also all of the roots with the final radical ה, which give an 'e' sound in the final syllable of the future, and other irregularities (like יתן - he wiil give, which is pronounced yiten) but let's not נערב שמחה בשמחה, as we say :)
  22. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    Where does yiktal apply? Is it random, or is it set when there is a certain character in the root?
  23. JaiHare Senior Member

    Israel (ישראל)
    English (American)
    Many times it is triggered by the presence of a guttural letter. This isn't always the case, however, and many of the words must simply be memorized.

  24. אדם Senior Member

    English - USA
    Alright. Thank you guys very much.

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