Aramaic

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Determiner

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הָ־ (hā-)

  1. this
    הָשַׁתָּא (hāšattā, this year)
    הָכָא (hāḵā, right here)

Hebrew

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Etymology 1

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Possibly akin to Arabic هَا () and هٰذَا (hāḏā, this); Rubin posits a connection Akkadian 𒀭𒉡𒌝 (annûm, this); the final ־נ (-n) in הַנ־* (*han-) would've been assimilated to the first syllable of consonant-initial words; this form would then be generalised to vowel-initial words as well.[1]

Compare Arabic اَل (al-), the standardized Arabic definite article, which is of largely disputed etymology, and זה (definite הזה).

Pronunciation

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Article

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הַ־ (ha-)

  1. (definite article) The.
    הוא מגיע לכתה עוד מעט.hú magía lakitá ód m'át.He's arriving at the classroom shortly.
  2. This: the current or adjacent; used especially with nouns denoting periods of time, and especially יוֹם (yom, day).
    היום (hayóm, today)
    הערב (ha'érev, tonight, this evening)
    הבוקר (habóker, this morning)
    הלילה (haláila, tonight; last night)
    הפעם אין אף אחד שם.hapá'am éin áf ekád shám.This time there's no one there.
Usage notes
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  • In traditional grammar, Hebrew common nouns have three “states”: indefinite (corresponding to English “a(n)/some __”), definite (corresponding to English “the __”), and construct (corresponding to English “a(n)/some/the __ of”). Therefore, the definite article was traditionally considered to be an actual part of the definite noun. In modern colloquial use, the definite article is often taken as a clitic, attaching to a noun but not actually part of it. For example, the Hebrew term for school is בֵּית־סֵפֶר (beit séfer, house-of book); so in traditional grammar, “the school” is בֵּית־הַסֵּפֶר (beit-haséfer, house-of-the-book), but in modern colloquial speech, it is often הַבֵּית־סֵפֶר (habeit-séfer, the-house-of-book).
  • ה־ is used not only with nouns, but also with attributive adjectives; that is, attributive adjectives agree in definiteness with the nouns they modify. This agreement is strictly semantic; an attributive adjective takes ה־ if its noun is semantically definite, even if the noun does not itself have ה־, for example if it’s a proper noun.
  • When ה־ follows לְ־ (l'-, to, for), בְּ־ (b'-, in), or כְּ־ (k'-, like), the two merge, with the consonant being ל, ב, or כ and the vowel being that from the ה־.
  • In traditional grammar, the consonant after ה־ receives a dagésh khazák (gemination), unless it’s one of the letters that cannot take a dagésh (א, ה, ח, ע, ר), in which case the vowel in the ה־ changes:
    • If the consonant after the ה־ is א or ר, or if it’s ע and its syllable is stressed, then a kamáts is used instead of a patákh; so, הָ־ (ha-).
    • If the consonant after the ה־ is ע and its syllable is unstressed, then a segól is used instead of a patákh; so, הֶ־ (he-).
    • If the consonant after the ה־ is ה or ח, then a patákh is used as usual, unless the ה or ח has unstressed kamáts or khatáf kamáts, in which case a segól is used instead.

See also

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Etymology 2

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Compare Arabic أَ (ʔa) (also its purported dialectal, and now obsoleted, variant, هَ (ha)) and Arabic هَلْ (hal).

Pronunciation

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Particle

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הֲ־ (ha-)

  1. (archaic or poetic) An interrogative particle, introducing a yes-no question.
    הֲשָׁמַעְתָּ?hashamá'ta?Have you heard?
    הֲיָדַעְתָּ?hayadá'ta?Did you know?
    • Tanach, Genesis 4:09, with translation of the King James Version:
      [] הֲשֹׁמֵר אָחִי אָנֹכִי׃
      hashomér akhí anokhí
      Am I my brother's keeper?
    • Tanach, 1 Kings 21:19, with translation of the English Standard Version:
      הֲרָצַחְתָּ וְגַם־יָרָשְׁתָּ
      haratsakhtá ve'gám yarashtá
      Have you killed and also taken possession?
    • 1890 – 1931, Rachel the Poetess, זמר נגה 1:
      הֲתִשְׁמַע קוֹלִי, רְחוֹקִי שֶׁלִּי,
      hatishmá kolí, rekhokí shelí,
      Do you hear my voice, far one of mine,
Usage notes
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  • Before a sh'va this prefix has a patach.

See also

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References

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  1. ^ Aaron Rubin (2005) “Definite Articles”, in Studies in Semitic Grammaticalization, Brill, →DOI, →ISBN, page 76