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November 25, 2015 / 13 Kislev, 5776
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In Hebrew: ‘Airshow’

Your daily dose of Hebrew.

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

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