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October 27, 2016 / 25 Tishri, 5777
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In Hebrew: ‘Airshow’

Your daily dose of Hebrew.

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מַטָּס If you were in Israel early yesterday afternoon, you probably heard and saw fighter jets flying overhead.

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).

To create the word for airshow, Hebrew plugs מטוס into another noun structure, with מַטָּס as the resulting word.

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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Ami Steinberger

About the Author: Ami Steinberger is founder and director of Ulpan La-Inyan.

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