Hebrew: -on suffix

raamez

Senior Member
Arabic (Syria)
Hello,
What is the origin of this suffix? Do you know whether it is found in other semitic languages or not? I think in modern Hebrew it is not always diminutive but was it so in ancient Hebrew?
Many thanks.
 
  • Ihsiin

    Senior Member
    English
    I don't know if it's related or not but in Iraqi Arabic we have diminutive suffix -ūn(a), for example in words such as ẓġayyrūn or darbūna.
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Did this recent post of mine inspire this thread? :D
    CVCCon is a common Hebrew pattern (cf. רבעון, סרטון, דרכון, חשבון).

    I don't know the answers to your questions, but I can confirm that the suffix doesn't always have a diminutive meaning in Modern Hebrew. In fact, my guess would be that most of the time it doesn't.

    The examples I gave are:

    רבעון: a quarterly publication or a quarter of a year, from רבע, quarter
    סרטון: short film/video, from סרט, film/video [This one is diminutive.]
    דרכון: passport, from דרך, way/path
    חשבון: account, from the root ח-ש-ב, to calculate

    There are other examples where the suffix is preceded by only two root letters:

    מילון: dictionary, from מילה, word
    שעון: clock, from שעה, hour
    הריון: pregnancy, from the root ה-ר-ה, to conceive, to become pregnant
    חזון: vision, from the root ח-ז-ה, to forecast
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    In modern Hebrew the suffix -on is used for many different things (adding to what @elroy already listed above). For example:

    מסרון (הקטנה), מונחון (אוסף, קבוצה), רִבעון או רְביעון (חלק משלם), שבועון (סוג עיתון) וכן: מועדון, עלילון (קומיקס), קדימון (פרומו), הליכון ומשיבון (מכשירים), תעשיון (אזור תעשייה), מערָבון ומערכון, דובון (פריט לבוש), ולאחרונה חודש סָעון (ואן).

    That is: diminishing, a collection/group, part of a complete thing, a journal/ booklets, tools, dressing (clothes), etc.

    על רצף וחידוש במורפולוגיה ובמשמעות (a Hebrew Word document by Ronit Gadish or the Hebrew Academy, 2009)
     

    raamez

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Syria)
    I don't know if it's related or not but in Iraqi Arabic we have diminutive suffix -ūn(a), for example in words such as ẓġayyrūn or darbūna.
    Yes Arabic dialects have some remnants of this suffix (كلبون,شلفون,زغرون...) but so does Classical Arabic think of زيتون for example. However, this suffix is only found in a few words and it is not productive at all which make me think they are rather loanwords than genuine Arabic words.
    Did this recent post of mine inspire this thread? :D


    I don't know the answers to your questions, but I can confirm that the suffix doesn't always have a diminutive meaning in Modern Hebrew. In fact, my guess would be that most of the time it doesn't.

    The examples I gave are:

    רבעון: a quarterly publication or a quarter of a year, from רבע, quarter
    סרטון: short film/video, from סרט, film/video [This one is diminutive.]
    דרכון: passport, from דרך, way/path
    חשבון: account, from the root ח-ש-ב, to calculate

    There are other examples where the suffix is preceded by only two root letters:

    מילון: dictionary, from מילה, word
    שעון: clock, from שעה, hour
    הריון: pregnancy, from the root ה-ר-ה, to conceive, to become pregnant
    חזון: vision, from the root ח-ז-ה, to forecast
    In modern Hebrew the suffix -on is used for many different things (adding to what @elroy already listed above). For example:

    מסרון (הקטנה), מונחון (אוסף, קבוצה), רִבעון או רְביעון (חלק משלם), שבועון (סוג עיתון) וכן: מועדון, עלילון (קומיקס), קדימון (פרומו), הליכון ומשיבון (מכשירים), תעשיון (אזור תעשייה), מערָבון ומערכון, דובון (פריט לבוש), ולאחרונה חודש סָעון (ואן).

    That is: diminishing, a collection/group, part of a complete thing, a journal/ booklets, tools, dressing (clothes), etc.

    על רצף וחידוש במורפולוגיה ובמשמעות (a Hebrew Word document by Ronit Gadish or the Hebrew Academy, 2009)
    Thank you for the examples.
     

    Ihsiin

    Senior Member
    English
    Yes Arabic dialects have some remnants of this suffix (كلبون,شلفون,زغرون...) but so does Classical Arabic think of زيتون for example. However, this suffix is only found in a few words and it is not productive at all which make me think they are rather loanwords than genuine Arabic words.

    Do you think so? I think it's rather productive and I'm not sure from what language the words could have been loaned, many look to be derived from other Arabic words. For example صغيرون from صغيّر (which is already a typical Arabic diminutive form), دربونة from درب and بزونة from *بزّة (compare with بسّة, though I guess that's a bit speculative).
     

    raamez

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Syria)
    Do you think so? I think it's rather productive and I'm not sure from what language the words could have been loaned, many look to be derived from other Arabic words. For example صغيرون from صغيّر (which is already a typical Arabic diminutive form), دربونة from درب and بزونة from *بزّة (compare with بسّة, though I guess that's a bit speculative).
    Productive to me is when you are able to make new words with this suffix but this is untrue in Arabic unlike in Hebrew!
     

    elroy

    Moderator: EHL, Arabic, Hebrew, German(-Spanish)
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I don’t think it’s productive in Hebrew. To my knowledge, you can’t use it in an ad-hoc fashion to create new words.
     

    raamez

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Syria)
    I don’t think it’s productive in Hebrew. To my knowledge, you can’t use it in an ad-hoc fashion to create new words.
    Perhaps this suffix is not as productive it seemed to me but it still has more potential for new words to be created with in Hebrew than in arabic. This is not possible at all in Arabic. But I still am not sure if this Hebrew suffix -on really corresponds to Arabic -un or maybe -an or perhaps nothing at all.
     

    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    How productive? I've yet to see other than the two or three examples above in Iraqi Arabic.
    Actually there are others used as terms. However, the form is also used actively as a diminutive. Granted, it’s less common than فعيّل, but it is in fact used. I’ve heard it used and used it myself occasionally.

    Of the other terms I can remember from the top of my head: بيتونة وعصرونة وجولونة وطبلونة
     

    Ectab

    Senior Member
    Arabic-Iraq
    No, I don't think it's productive in Iraqi Arabic anymore. However, there is a notable number of words which use it as a diminitive suffix so probably it was once productive but not anymore.

    In modern day, the diminitive suffix -āyah is a productive one, which is also a singulative suffix.
     

    raamez

    Senior Member
    Arabic (Syria)
    No, I don't think it's productive in Iraqi Arabic anymore. However, there is a notable number of words which use it as a diminitive suffix so probably it was once productive but not anymore.

    In modern day, the diminitive suffix -āyah is a productive one, which is also a singulative suffix.
    Thank you. This was also my impression. The suffix -āye is also productive in Syrian Arabic.
     
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