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Hebrew Language/Meaning of roots

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Question
Where can meanings of roots be found. And why do roots have meanings since i thought that only when vowels are added do roots take on meanings.

Answer
Hello Moshe,

You're correct in saying that the roots for themselves have no meaning, they are usually three-four letters that have to be put into "molds" to create words. However, the letters of verb-roots (this is not the case with noun-roots) form words which are verbs in the male + third-person + past form and usually do have a meaning.

As for finding the meaning of roots, a standard Hebrew dictionary is not based on roots (in contrary to Arabic dictionaries), but if you search for most roots in a "regular" Hebrew dictionary (such as http://www.morfix.co.il/ or Google Translate) you will most likely find the male third-person past word.

Some examples:
ש.מ.ע is the root forming many words, both verbs and nouns, such as שמיעה, לשמוע, שמועה, שמעתי etc., and the word שמע by itself means "[he] heard".

ק.ר.א is the root forming many words, both verbs and nouns, such as קריאה, קראנו, קוראים, מקראה etc., and the word קרא by itself means "[he] read".

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