Adjective Gentilic


The name(s) of spoken language(s) are considered gentilic adjectives.


The names of spoken languages are the only terms that are considered by this grammar as proper “gentilic adjectives”. However, scholars disagree concerning which terms should be called gentilic nouns or gentilic adjectives. This is because most gentilics in both Biblical Hebrew and Biblical Aramaic can legitimately be classified as either nouns or adjectives.


Some gentilic nouns that follow nouns in the absolute state function like attributive adjectives. Some scholars call these gentilic adjectives as well (for example, “Ruth the Moabitess”).


ISA 36:11

דַּבֶּר־נָ֤א אֶל־עֲבָדֶ֙יךָ֙ אֲרָמִ֔ית

dabber_na ‘el_’avadeykha ‘aramith

Speak_[exh.prtc] to_your-servants Aramaic

Please speak to your servants in the Aramean language, Aramaic

ISA 36:11

וְאַל־תְּדַבֵּ֤ר אֵלֵ֙ינוּ֙ יְהוּדִ֔ית

we’al_tedabber ‘eleynu yehudith

But-not_speak to-us in Judean

Do not speak with us in the language of Judah [i.e. Hebrew]

DAN 2:4

וַֽיְדַבְּר֧וּ הַכַּשְׂדִּ֛ים לַמֶּ֖לֶךְ אֲרָמִ֑ית

wayedabberu hakkasdim lammelekh ‘aramith

And-they-spoke the-Chaldeans to-the-king Aramaic

Then the wise men spoke to the king in Aramaic

EZR 4:7

וּכְתָב֙ הַֽנִּשְׁתְּוָ֔ן כָּת֥וּב אֲרָמִ֖ית

ukhethav hannishthewan kathuv ‘aramith

And-writing-of the-letter was-written Aramaic

The letter was written in Aramaic