How Systematic is the Binyanim “System” in Biblical Hebrew?

General Article




Biblical Hebrew, semantics, syntax, valency, verbal system


The question of how systematic the Biblical Hebrew binyanim system is concerns both the pedagogy and the scholarly study of the language. Introductory grammars often, if inadvertently, present the binyanim to students as containing more complete and more predictable meaning relations than there actually are. Grammars and scholarly studies of the binyanim tend to operate with an assumption that the same root in a different binyan must have a different semantic-syntactic character, even if it requires some effort to tease it out with finely, if not always convincing, nuanced explanations. Following the model in Maya Arad’s examination of the binyanim in Modern Hebrew based in Distributed Morphology, I examine how complete and systematic the semantic-syntactic interrelationships among binyanim in Biblical Hebrew are and suggest implications from the study for pedagogy, studies of the binyanim, and valency analysis of Biblical Hebrew verbs.


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How to Cite

Cook, John. 2023. “How Systematic Is the Binyanim ‘System’ in Biblical Hebrew? General Article”. Journal for Semitics 32 (1):14 pages .



Received 2023-04-18
Accepted 2023-06-28
Published 2023-10-27