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Affix hey conveys a sense of direction, an object pointed to. This is clear for directional suffix hey.

Causative meaning of verbs is related to the directional of nouns. In hiphil, hey directs someone to perform an action. In hitpael (hh-paal), hey twice causes action, and makes it reflexive.[1]

ה as definite article means the object pointed at.


In Hebrew morphological concept, consonants are semantic (make roots) and vowels declensional (make word forms). Hey is a mater lectionis:

the early (directional) accusative case suffix was vowel a.

suffix ה denotes the feminine, the object to which men are directed. In Greek, feminine animate suffix is vowel a.

Aramaic has aleph instead of hey.

suffix hey was vocalized as kamatz rather than silent or with epenthesis.

definite article hey was originally kamatz, shortened to patah in closed syllable without primary accent, a.ddavar. Secondary accent (which led to post-tonic gemination, AddavAr) shows that prefix hey was a vowel, and risked dropping out without confirming consonant if unaccented, adavar – ‘davar.

prepositions assimilate hey as [a], b’hair – bair.


In constructus, tav is added to confirm unaccented vowel a with mater lectionis hey, *drisha-shalOm – drish-ashalom – drish-‘shalOm, but drishat-shalom.[2]

Hey was also associated in tav through 3ms noun suffixes, hu – o, and abstract plural suffixes o – ot.

That was mistakenly taken for hey-tav change, and applied to the weak suffix in participles, cotevה – cotevt (cotevet).[3]

ל"ה changes into י in verbs to avoid post-tonic gemination of suffix, *ratzA.tti. Gemination occurs after the vowels with [a] sound: kamatz, patah, tzere, and holam, but not hirek, ratzIti.


The concept of gender was expanded from usually conjugated verbs to adjectives to nouns. Since few nouns meaningfully relate to gender, the attribution beyond animated nouns was arbitrary, and proceeded along many lines.

Associating ה with ת led to according feminine gender to the nouns whose plural is usually the abstract plural –ot. A table is usually either a single one, or uncountable many at an occasion, shulhanot.

In ctiva nouns, directional suffix hey emphasizes process rather than object.

Similarly to Greek final alpha for plural, final ה indicates the composite objects that consist of many items or events, milhama.

Adjectives were differentiated by gender through active or passive quality, whether the quality was acquired by one’s own efforts (gadol) or by someone else’s (gdola).

Nouns that lack suffix hey but denote the objects made emphatically by people, are employed with passive-quality adjectives, and taken for feminine.

The nouns conventionally employed in Aramaic with definite article א, orthographized in Hebrew as ה, could be interpreted as feminine.

Geographical names employ suffix ה which points to destination, not gender.


Suffix –a of feminine animate objects may reflect soft intonation common when speaking to or of women. Soft pronunciation moves accent, and female names often have penultimate accent, rIvkah.



[1] Hey as prefix and suffix could be semantically different. Suffix hey points to an object, and prefix hey makes its object (action) point to another object (result). If so, definite article hey must be a suffix.

[2] Artificial stressing of the suffix vowel would lead to post-tonic gemination, *drishAshshalom.

[3] The substitution in participles could be necessary if both cotva and ctiva noun forms already existed.