In Modern Hebrew, the possessive pronoun "Shel-y" (של-י) is used for the English possessive pronoun "My".

In Biblical Ivri (עברי), the possessive pronoun for "My" is simply the additional yod -suffix " y " ( י ) at the end of a noun like : "My-Saying" = "Amara-y" (אֲמָרַי).

When did the Ivri (Hebrew) possessive pronoun "Shel-y" (של-י) replace the biblical -suffix "-y"?

  • 2
    I believe the first occurrences are in Mishnaic Hebrew.
    – Keelan
    Sep 8 '20 at 19:11

Richard Steiner says in "Ancient Hebrew" (in The Semitic Languages, ed Robert Hetzron, Routledge 1997):

A process which serves some of the same functions as the one which creates genitive phrases and which sometimes alternates with it is the insertion of the preposition le- 'to, belonging to' (eg 2. Kings 5:9, Ruth 2:3), usually preceded by relative 'ašer/še-.

He gives biblical examples of 'ašer le- but not of še le-, but he has mentioned the latter possibility, and he gives examples of šl- from the Dead Sea Scrolls and the tomb of Benei Hezir.

He goes on to say

In [Mishnaic Hebrew], the phrase še+le- 'that belongs to' has been reanalyzed as a single morpheme, a new preposition šel with the meaning 'of'

(I have not reproduced his precise but unfamiliar transliteration scheme).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.