Grammar Review: van der Merwe-Naude-Kroeze


In this review, my first, of a Hebrew grammar, I want to look at A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar by Christo H. J. van der Merwe, Jackie A. Naudé and Jan H. Kroeze.  I chose this particular grammar first because its methodology in analyzing Hebrew grammar is different from what you see on this site.  In particular, van der Merwe-Naudé-Kroeze (MNK) take a newer approach, using modern linguistic theories (they credit linguists such as Noam Chomsky, Simon Dik, and Deirdre Wilson) as the paradigm for Hebrew grammatical studies.  The more traditional approach – which I adopt – uses Arabic grammar as the paradigm for Hebrew grammar (see my post “Arabic and Hebrew Grammar” under the Featured Topics on Syntax link).

MNK intend for their grammar to be an intermediate grammar (9), so it is easily accessible for students taking on Hebrew after their elementary courses.  MNK’s presentation is clear and well-written.  They do provide a glossary of their terms in the back, which is helpful in allowing the reader to gain a fuller understanding as some issues are not fully developed in the body of the text (i.e. ‘copula’).  Although their grammar is linguistically informed, MNK do keep the amount of linguistic terminology and discussion to a minimum and use traditional grammars like Gesenius-Kautzsch (GK) and Joüon-Muraoka  (JM) “extensively” (11). Continue reading “Grammar Review: van der Merwe-Naude-Kroeze”

A friendly reminder – The Shewa

The shewa (סְ) – those two vertical dots under the consonants – come in 2 varieties, though they will look alike.


  1. Silent Shewa
    • Usually preceded by a short vowel: מַלְכִּי
      • The shewa under the lamed is silent because it follows a short vowel, the patah
    • Never falls on the first letter of a word!
    • Will be found on the last letter of a word: מֶלֶךְ
      • The shewa in the final kaf is silent because it is at the end of a word.
  2. Vocal Shewa
    • Usually preceded by a long vowel: קֹטְלִים
      • The shewa under the tet is vocal because it is preceded by the long holem.
    • Will fall on the first letter of a word: דְּבָרִים
    • Will not fall on the last letter of a word.

Continue reading “A friendly reminder – The Shewa”

The Accents

Below is a link to a PDF with a chart listing the disjunctive and conjunctive accents.

In the video for Isaiah 9:5e I mentioned a few disjunctive accents, and in future videos I’ll make mention of others.  This chart will be a helpful reference for you so you won’t have to dig out your books.

Accents Chart

As far as how the accents function, I’ve listed some works that go into greater detail.  In the videos I will be limited to generalities as the discussion could get detailed fast. Continue reading “The Accents”