The makers of Modern Hebrew took the root ט.ו.ס – t.w.s – meaning flying and plugged it into a noun structure beginning with a מ (m), yielding the common word for airplane, מָטוֹס. It’s the same noun structure as that of מָקוֹם – place, which also comes from a root whose middle letter is ו (w) – ק.ו.מ (k.w.m).
Note that the same word-change (morphological) process takes place to create the word for flotilla: Hebrew takes the word for oar or paddle – מָשׁוֹט, plugs it into that other noun structure, and מַשָּׁטis born.
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About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.
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