Introduction:

The second בִּנְיָן we are going to study in this series about Hebrew verbs is the פִּיעֶל. This category usually include verbs whose meaning is somehow more intense than the “simple” פָּעַל verb.

For example:

לִכְתֹּב – to write 

לְכַתֵּב – to address 

This way, we can see that לִכְתֹּב refers to writing in a broader sense, whereas לְכַתֵּב refers to writing a specific thing, “an address”, thus being more intense.

Now, let’s see the structures:

“Basic” פִּיעֵל forms and conjugations:

Infinitive 

The “basic” infinitive form is formed by the ל prefix that indicates the infinitive in Hebrew + the 3-letter root, such as in:

לְדַבֵּר – to speak

* the vowel sound after the first letter of the root will always be “A” and the vowel sound after the second letter of the root will be “E”.

Present 

  singular  plural 
masculine מְדַבֵּר  מִדְּבָרִים
feminine מְדַבֶּרֶת  מְדַבְּרוֹת
  • As we can see, the פיעל conjugations in the present take a prefix מ before the 3 letter root
  • In the present, there is a vowel sound of “A” after the first letter of the root , and a vowel sound of “E” after the second letter of the root 

Past 

אני דִּיבַּרְתִּי
אתה דִּבַּרְתָּ
את דִּבַּרְתְּ
הוא דִּיבֵּר
היא דִּיבְּרָה
אנחנו דִּיבַּרְנוּ
אתם דִּיבַּרְתֶּם
אתן דִּיבַּרְתֶּן
הם \ הן דִּיבְּרוּ
  • The suffixes are the same of the פָּעַל verbs.
  • So, what’s difference? The difference between פִּיעֶל and פָּעַל verbs in the past is the י between the first and the second letter of the root.

Future 

אני אֲדַבֵּר
אתה תְּדַבֵּר
את תְּדַבְּרִי
הוא יְדַבֵּר
היא תְּדַבֵּר
אנחנו נְדַבֵּר
אתם תְּדַבְּרוּ
אתן תַּדְבֵּרְנָה *
הם יְדַבְּרוּ
הן תַּדְבֵּרְנָה *
  • The prefixes and suffixes of the future are the same of the פָּעַל verbs.
  • A remarkable difference between the פִּיעֵל and פָּעַל forms in the future is that there is an “A” sound together with the first letter of the root, and an “E” sound after the second letter of the root in all conjugations. For instance: ידבר = yedAbEr.
  • * Just like the conjugation of the feminine plural forms הן and אתן for the פָּעַל verbs, also these forms in the פִּיעֶל pattern are rarely used (only in writing), what is used instead is the masculine plural forms 

Imperative 

  singular plural
masculine דַּבֵּר דַּבְּרוּ
feminine  דַּבְּרִי דַּבֵּרְנָה *
  • the imperative is rarely used in speaking 
  • * the feminine plural form is rarely used. When the imperative is used, the preferred form is the masculine plural 

 

4 letter root verbs 

In the בִּנְיָן פִּיעֵל there is a special category of verbs that instead of having a traditional 3-letter-root, it has a 4-letter root instead. We are going to study those now. Most of the characteristics that were studied above are also valid for verbs whose root consists of 4 letters. 

Infinitive

The infinitive of a 4-letter-root verb consists of the ל + the 4-letter root of the verb, such as in 

לְטַלְפֵּן – to call on the phone 

* The vowel sound after the first letter of the root will always be “A” and the vowel sound after the third letter of the root will be “E” (unlike the 3-letter-root verbs). There is no  vowel sound after the second letter of the root. 

Present 

  singular plural
masculine מְטַלְפֵּן מְטַלְפְּנִים
feminine מְטַלְפֶּנֶת מְטַלְפְּנוֹת
  • in the present tense , there is a vowel sound of “A” after the first letter of the root, and a vowel sound of “E” after the third letter of the root 

Past 

אני טִילְפַּנְתִּי
אתה טִילְפַּנְתָּ
את טִילְפַּנַתְּ
הוא טִילְפֵּן
היא טִילְפְּנָה
אנחנו טִילְפַּנּוּ
אתם טִילְפַּנְתֶּם
אתן טִילְפַּנְתֶּן
הם \ הן טִילְפְּנוּ
  • In all the 3rd persons (singular and plural – feminine and masculine), the vowel sound after the third letter of the root will be an “E” , instead of “A” used for the other conjugations 

Future 

אני אֲטַלְפֵּן
אתה תְּטַלְפֵּן
את תְּטַלְפְּנִי
הוא יְטַלְפֵּן
היא  תְּטַלְפֵּן 
אנחנו  נְטַלְפֵּן 
אתם  תְּטַלְפְּנוּ 
אתן  תְּטַלְפֵּנָּה *
הם  יְטַלְפְּנוּ 
הן  תְּטַלְפֵּנָּה
  • * Just like the conjugation of the feminine plural forms הן and אתן for the פָּעַל verbs, also these forms in the פִיעֵל pattern are rarely used (only in writing), what is used instead is the masculine plural forms 
  • The “E” vowel sound will be after the 3rd letter root in 4-letter root verbs of the פִיעֵל

Imperative 

  singular plural
masculine טַלְפֵּן  טַלְפְּנוּ 
feminine טַלְפְּנֵי  טַלְפֵּנָה *
  • The “E” vowel sound will be after the 3rd letter root in 4-letter root verbs of the פִיעֵל
  • * The feminine plural form is rarely used. When the imperative is used, the preferred form is the masculine plural 

 

Source 

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