A Reassessment of the Hebrew Negative Interrogative Particle hlʾ

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Matthew McAffee



The trend in recent scholarship on the Hebrew negative interrogative particle hlʾ has been to suggest two distinct, underlying etymologies. In addition to the traditional etymology of interrogative {h} + negative particle lōʾ, some scholars propose an asseverative particle *hallū, now lost in the Masoretic leveling of all forms to halōʾ. The following study reassesses this proposal, suggesting that the evidence for the new etymology is untenable.

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