Plural of words with pe sofit ף

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by airelibre, Aug 15, 2014.

  1. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    What's the rule for the pronunciation of ף when it turns back to פ in plurals? I would have thought it would stay as "f", but I heard someone say דפים dapim. However, he was not a native speaker so maybe he made a mistake.
  2. ystab Senior Member

    Mostly, it would stay /f/, but there are cases when the last letter of the singular form gets a strong Dagesh upon addition of suffixes.

    There are two instances when this phenomenon happens:
    1. The root of the word is from the double root group, meaning the second and last letters of the root are the same.
    a. דַּף - דַּפִּים (root ד-פ-ף)
    b. רַךְ - רַכָּה (root ר-כ-כ)
    c. חֹק - חֻקּוֹ (root ח-ק-ק)

    2. The Mishqal itself in its plural form contains a strong Dagesh
    Example: צָהֹב - צְהֻבִּים
  3. Drink

    Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Dapim is correct. It follows the usual rules of the בגדכפ"ת letters. Historically, this word had a geminate ending /dapp/ with plural /dappīm/, but at some point, word-final gemination was lost and non-geminate בגדכפ"ת letters became fricatives after a vowel. It is the same situation with דוב (dov) but דובים (dubbim), צהוב (tsahov) but צהובה (ts'huba) and צהובים (ts'hubim), etc.
  4. origumi Senior Member

    The historical development is more likely in the opposite direction: the consonants had their natural pronunciation, either with or without dagesh depending on the usual rules (and as ystab explained above). Later a new rules appeared, that a consonant at end of word cannot have dagesh.
  5. Drink

    Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    I didn't mean to imply any particular order of events.
  6. origumi Senior Member

    Oh sorry, I wrote my comment before seeing yours and referred to the initial post by arielibre.
  7. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    You need to learn it by heart. It's the same with "b" and "k". In some words, the final consonant hardens.
    Tov - tovim (good) but dov - dubim (bear).
    Raf - rafim (bar) but khaf - khapim (clean, pure).
    Rakh - rakim (soft).

    Basically, it goes back to the original root. Most of those cases are "double" roots of type C1-C2-C2.
    For instance, dubb > dov , after simplification of final geminate (-bb>-b), spirantization of post-vocalic stop (-b > -v ), and lengthening of "u" under the stress (u > ō). In dubbim (plural), the geminate "b" being not final was preserved, and the "u" being now in a closed pre-stress syllable, didn't undergo any further changes. So from a regular proto-Biblical Hebrew pair "dubb / dubbim", we get in Biblical Hebrew "dōv / dubbim", and today "dov / dubim".

    "Tov" in the other hand, comes from root t.w.b (or t.y.b), so no gemination of "b" can happen here.

    That said, some gemination of the final consonant do occur as part of the mishkal (pattern , template), and not as part of the root.
    Qatan / qtannim (small), ahavhabim (flirt), tzahov / tzehubba (yellow) and many other colors : adum / adumma (red), akrav / akrabim (scorpion), etc...

    -- sorry for duplicate answer :)
  8. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Darn, but is it possible to guess like so:
    זקיפים zkifim since it is not 1) from a double root group (ז-ק-פ) nor 2) from the same mishkal as צהוב
    but זיפים presumably zipim since it must be root ז-פ-פ?
  9. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    No, זיפים may be from z.y.p (hollow root). In that case, it would still be zifim.
    Then, you never know when the word gets a dagesh in the plural (like akrav / akrabim), even though it's not a double root.
  10. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Is Milog reliable? For instance, this page shows זקיפים with nikud, although it doesn't seem to have זיף/זיפים. (What is the correct pronunciation of זיפים?)
  11. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    Now, a consequence of the vowel lenghtening mentioned earlier, is that if זיפים was to be read "zipim", then the singular has to be "zef".
    If it is read "zifim", then the singular is "zif".
    Other example : khekh / khikim (palate), lev / libi (heart) [same phenomenon with possessive suffixes], but niv / nivim (not *nibim)...

    Same with the o/u alternance : dov / dubim, tof / tupim, khok / khuki (legal) [same phenomenon with adjectival -i ending], but suf / sufim (not *supim)
    But be careful, it exists some true long "o", that are blurring the picture: tov / tovim, sof / sofim
    (True long o are usually written with holam male, where the lengthened o of "dov" is written with holam haser).

    So, knowing the singular form may help you decide.

    Only "a" is a problem, since the lengthened "short a" and "true long a" are both the same today.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2014
  12. Drink

    Drink Senior Member

    New England
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    You can usually guess by the vowel. A degeminate (which is how I am terming a consonant that was geminate but now is not) must be preceded by either a patach, tzere, or cholam chaser (with suffixes, the gemination is preserved and the vowels are respectively patach, chiriq qatan, kubutz):

    - patach-patach: דַּף - דַּפִּים
    - tzere-chiriq qatan: נֵס - נִסִּים
    - cholam caser-kubutz: דּׂב - דֻּבִּים

    But note that the plural might sometimes take a different form:
    singular: לֵב - לִבִּי
    plural: לְבָבִים

    Also, there is a class of words that have gemination as part of the mishqal and sometimes the vowel is a segol, but I'm not sure if there are any words in this category that do not end in ל:
    - בַּרְזֶל - בַּרְזִלִּי
    - עֲרָפֶל - עַרְפִלִּים

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