I am currently studying Hebrew, besides the million other things that are bouncing around in my mind. Seeing if I can memorize the paradigm for verbs in the Qal. I do not (as yet) have a good input method for typing Hebrew, so the stuff that is in Hebrew characters will be brief and to the point. The example verb I’m using for this post is פקד mainly because that’s the verb that I first looked at for this paradigm. The conjugation chart is upside-down, but from what I understand, that’s mainly because the third person masculine singular form of the Qal is what you’ll find if you look up a verb in a lexicon.
|3ms (he/it)||3fs (she/it)||3p (they, any gender)|
|2ms (you, bro)||2fs (you, sis)||2mp (you guys)||2fp (you ladies)|
|1s (I, either gender)||1p (we, either gender)|
That’s the paradigm, so now some keys to remembering what’s going on. First the vowels under the stem. The basic shape of the vowels is qamets followed by patach.
• 3fs and 3p look different because they have undergone pretonic reduction. The patach reduces to a vocal shewa, and a meteg is inserted by the qamets to make sure it stays long (otherwise it would look like it had turned into a qamets hatuf).
• 2mp and 2fp look different because they have undergone propretonic reduction. The qamets reduces to a vocal shewa.
• The shewa under the third letter of the stem in first and second person forms is a silent shewa. It’s basically keeping the second syllable closed. In the third person, it’s not there because it’s superfluous in 3ms, and the other two are getting vowel sounds that are making pretonic reduction happen.
The stem remains the same, and the vowels attached to the stem have been dealt with. Now for the stuff added to the stem.
• 3fs gets -ah (qamets he) appended, just like the typical form of feminine nouns.
• 3p gets -u (sureq) appended.
• 1p gets -nu (nun sureq) appended. Sounds like the french word for we: nous.
• Everything else starts with -t (tav) being appended:
2ms -ta (qamets).
2fs -t (shewa – this one is weird because usually back-to-back shewas are not both silent).
1s -ti (hireq yod).
2mp -tem (seghol mem) is similar to
2fp -ten (seghol nun), which can be remembered as you ladies are all tens.
There are a few places where an accent is included to indicate the syllable that has the stress. These are needed on the forms that add syllables, but do not have any (pro)pretonic reduction. That is, they appear in the 2ms, 1s, and 1p forms, and restore the stress to the same place it was in the 3ms form: on the second syllable.
Some Hebrew letters (e.g. gutterals) don’t like being doubled or taking vocal shewas, so variations on this theme occur to account for those verbs that have such letters getting in the way of this paradigm.