Apostrophes, Part One: Don’t Get Possessive with Your Plurals


In the previous post I gave you a test. Replace each (?) with the appropriate word from the following list.

 I know (?) no way that Porsche could be (?).

  1. their’s

  2. theirs

  3. there’s

  4. theres

  5. they’re’s

  6. they’res

Answer: I know there’s no way that Porsche could be theirs.

How would you know this if I didn’t provide usage notes on the contraction there’s vs. the possessive pronoun theirs?

Recall that the possessive pronoun your doesn’t use an apostrophe. That’s because the apostrophe-s is for possessive nouns, not pronouns.

If that seems a little odd to you, remember that the use of an apostrophe-s to indicate possession is a convention almost unique to English. It’s handy, for sure, and it saves words; most of our sister languages have to use a prepositional phrase to indicate possession: la cabra del Presidente (literally, “the goat of the President”) rather than the President’s…

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JSTOR Hebrew journals


Cambridge University members now have trial access until 31 January 2015 to the Hebrew journals package from JSTOR.

The journals can be accessed on and off campus via this link.

Please send us your thoughts on this collection from JSTOR by writing to ejournals@lib.cam.ac.uk.  Thank you.

With a minimum of 40 titles, the Hebrew Journals Collection draws from an interdisciplinary range of titles published primarily in Hebrew. The collection is the first on JSTOR to be released in a non-Roman alphabet, creating an essential resource for scholars in Hebrew worldwide.

Top disciplines include Jewish Studies, Language & Literature, and Archaeology, with journals drawn from leading organizations such as the Bialik Institute, the World Union of Jewish Studies, and the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The JSTOR platform has been adapted in ways that now support the requirements of the Hebrew language. These include right-to-left reading, searchability in Hebrew, and journal metadata…

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The First Commandment

Segulah's Blog

“I am יהוה your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You have no other mighty ones against My face.” Exodus 20:2-3 from The Scriptures.

This is the first commandment of the Ten Commandments. These words, both spoken first and then written by the finger of God, are the opening Words to what is the visible and audible articles of a covenant delivered from heaven to a mixed multitude called Israel… to us. This commandment tells us who this God (Power) is. This God (Power) tells us His Name. This God tells us He is for us in the phrase: “your Elohim.” He is so vast, that it takes a grandiose plural noun to even begin to describe Him. As Elohim, He represents all of all, an entire Universe and Kingdom present in One Being.

He identifies Himself by the…

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A New Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Study Tool Online


From time to time I add a new pin to my Pinterest board on tools for studying biblical Hebrew: https://www.pinterest.com/abrown5929/biblical-hebrew-teaching-and-learning/

But occasionally there comes along a new tool that’s worth noting more fully. Care of a student of Matthew Anstey (and of mine, at intervals), I’ve found out about one called Shebanq, which appears to permit searching of anything you’d like to find out about the Hebrew Bible/OT. I’m sure it can do a great range of different things, and you may want to explore the possibilities. Let me mention just one.

Some time back, I explored manual representation of distribution of important OT terms by means of a heat map. If you don’t know what a heat map is, it is a kind of chart commonly used in data visualization circles. Here is an effort done up in Prezi to show where Levites are mentioned in the OT, and…

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What Does Hallelujah Actually Mean?

Coffee Shop Rabbi

There are a number of words in Hebrew that have made their way into English. One of them is Hallelujah.

Hallel means “praise.” There is an entire service of praise we sing to praise all the many attributes of God. We sing Hallel on all major festivals, on Rosh Chodesh, and at Chanukah. It includes parts of several psalms (notably Psalms 113-118) and other prayers, and hallelujah in various forms is repeated many times.

The “oo” sound in the middle lets us know that in this case, hallel is actually a verb. Hallelu means “We praise.”

Finally Yah (often transliterated “jah”) is one of the many names of God, possibly a shortened form of the Tetragrammaton, the name of God that Jews do not pronounce. In the Bible, Yah appears in Psalm 68:5 (in a Jewish Bible) and Psalm 68:4 in other Bibles. We also see it as part…

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A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew

Biblical and Early Christian Studies

2015.04.10 | Hurvitz, Avi.A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew: Linguistic Innovations in the Writings of the Second Temple Period.Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 160. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Pp. X+270. ISBN: 9789004266117. $128.

Reviewed by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

Avi Hurvitz’s latest contribution to scholarship is a Hebrew lexicon of a very different sort than scholarship is used to seeing. He has extracted a diachronic layer of Biblical Hebrew – Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) – and collated all linguistic markers of that period, namely anything that marks LBH as distinct from what precedes it (Hurvitz’s Classical Biblical Hebrew or CBH). While it is not new to create a lexicon for a certain diachronic layer of Hebrew (see Clines Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, as distinct from corpus-based lexica such as most other lexica of Biblical Hebrew), it is rather innovative to create one that…

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An Embryonic Example of Teaching Hebrew Vocabulary Visually in Semantic Fields


This is a work in progress, lacking order and featuring only one or two hundred of the most common terms from OT biblical Hebrew, but you can see the principle I’m pursuing: representing vocabulary words that students need to learn in natural association and with visual clues. I’ve tried out more than one principle of association, and would like to cluster the circles together in related bubble masses in time, though the prezi will at some point begin to grind to a stop with its graphical content. So there is builder’s rubble and scaffolding lying around here.

Heb Vocab Fams Scrshot Smaller

The impetus for this visual aid I owe to David Gormley-O’Brien, whom I heard speak at the SCD Teaching & Learning Conference in Sydney last September, where he called for the teaching of biblical languages in semantic domains, while I was there presenting a paper on, yes, visual communication in the theological classroom…

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Hebrew Names: Jonathan/ Nathanael/ Nathan

The Glorious Gospel

Jonathan (יונתן) –gold-gift-box-660x576 This lovely Hebrew name means ‘the LORD gives’ or ‘the LORD has given’.

The root *ntn in Hebrew denotes giving and the verb in the perfect aspect natan, is either in the past tense or something eternal.

Here of course is also the meaning of the name Nathan – ‘he gives/he has given’. This root also is at the center of the name Nathanael. Nathanael is in meaning almost identical to Jonathan as it means ‘God gives/God has given’. The yo in Jonathan referencing the LORD (yhwh) and the el in Nathanael referencing God (elohim).

The grammar of Jonathan also allows for the translation ‘the LORD he has given’, the object being the LORD. This is possible since finite verbs in Hebrew inherently has a subject with person and number. So, in the name Jonathan, yo can taken to be either an explicit…

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