Semitic root

The roots of verbs and most nouns in the Semitic languages are characterized as a sequence of consonants or "radicals" (hence the term consonantal root). Such abstract consonantal roots are used in the formation of actual words by adding the vowels and non-root consonants (or "transfixes") which go with a particular morphological category around the root consonants, in an appropriate way, generally following specific patterns. It is a peculiarity of Semitic linguistics that a large majority of these consonantal roots are triliterals (although there are a number of quadriliterals, and in some languages also biliterals).

A triliteral or triconsonantal root (Hebrew: שרש תלת-עצורי‬, šoreš təlat-ʻiṣuri; Arabic: جذر ثلاثي‎, jiḏr ṯulāṯī; Syriac: ܫܪܫܐ‎, šeršā) is a root containing a sequence of three consonants.

The following are some of the forms which can be derived from the triconsonantal root k-t-b (general overall meaning "to write") in Hebrew and Arabic:

Note: The Hebrew fricatives transcribed as "ḵ" and "ḇ" can also be transcribed in a number of other ways, such as "ch" and "v" , which are pronounced and , respectively. They are transliterated "ḵ" and "ḇ" on this page to retain the connection with the pure consonantal root k-t-b. Also notice that in Modern Hebrew, there is no gemination.

In Hebrew grammatical terminology, the word binyan (Hebrew: בנין‬, plural בניניםbinyanim) is used to refer to a verb derived stem or overall verb derivation pattern, while the word mishqal (or mishkal) is used to refer to a noun derivation pattern, and these words have gained some use in English-language linguistic terminology. The Arabic terms, called وزن wazn (plural أوزان, awzān) for the pattern and جذر jiḏr (plural جذور, juḏūr) for the root have not gained the same currency as the Hebrew equivalents, and Western grammarians continue to use "stem"/"form"/"pattern" for the former and "root" for the latter—though "form" and "pattern" are accurate translations of the Arabic grammatical term wazn (originally meaning 'weight, measure'), and "root" is a literal translation of jiḏr.

Although most roots in Hebrew seem to be tri-radical, many of them were originally bi-radical, cf. the relation between:

as well as between:

The Hebrew root ש־ק־ף‬ - √sh-q-p "look out/through" deriving from ק־ף‬ - √q-p "bend, arch, lean towards" and similar verbs fit into the shaCCéC verb-pattern.

This page was last edited on 24 May 2018, at 23:11 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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