Possessive pronouns

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by Jazon, Nov 4, 2012.

  1. Jazon New Member

    English, American
    בּוֹקֶר טוֹב
    This may seem like a strange question, and you may require me to elaborate a bit before you can give me the kind of answer I'm looking for.
    In English, German, Spanish, French, the modern tongues of which I have experience, the pronouns presuppose ownership. For example: "My body" "Her hand" "His face"
    Is this the case in Hebrew? I don't want to presume too much, but I don't see pronouns in Hebrew. Is it the nouns that take different forms to express possession or ownership? Also, if anyone here has a working knowledge of any other very old languages, I would love to hear from you on this. Anything would be helpful, especially help from someone with some kind of working knowledge of Phoenician, Akkadian, Babylonian, anything Sumerian and old.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. ashmash Member

    There are possessive pronouns in Hebrew.
    שלי my/mine
    שלך your/yours
    And so on.

    True, you can also change the noun to indicate possession, כלב - dog, כלבי - my dog, כלבך - your dog etc. But at least in contemporary speaking people tend to use the former.

    As for other classical languages, I'm afraid I can't help you there.
  3. GeriReshef

    GeriReshef Senior Member

    In Hebrew we may say אשתי for my wife, בעלי for my husband, אדונִי for (my) sir etc., but generally it is not used too much in spoken language (as Ashmash has already mentioned).
    This feature is typical to Semitic languages, and in Arabic is not degenerated as in Hebrew.
  4. Jazon New Member

    English, American
    Thank you both! What I want to get at specifically is the use of the possessive pronoun in writing, particularly ancient writing. The reason for this is that I am involved in a study of natural law and natural rights. I have noticed that, in modern languages, ownership is presupposed in the language, and this is evident in common speech and writing. At this point, though, I can't say, with any confidence, how long it has been this way. This is why I am asking about the older languages. When you say that it is not used too much in spoken language, does that mean the modified noun, the possessive pronoun, either? Also, if you know how one would tend to refer to, say, his own body, say, three thousand years ago, by which I mean to ask if possession or ownership would have been indicated, information which would lead to an answer to this kind of question would be invaluable. Is it more likely that possession or ownership would have been indicated in such a reference, or that it would not have been indicated?

    Again, Thanks for your help and patience with this.
  5. GeriReshef

    GeriReshef Senior Member

    In the bible, almost only the short form is used.
    For example- in the Song of Songs. in which the two speakers refers explicitly one to the other body, they say: ראשי my head, נפשי my soul, לבי my heart etc.
    In Kings- קטני עבה ממתני אבי where קטני is my organ or my finger; or ראשי ראשי - my head my head!
    Genesis- שים ידך תחת ירכי, where ירכי is my hip.
  6. Jazon New Member

    English, American
    Ah, Perfect. This helps a great deal. GeriReshef, thank you so much!

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