Page:Compendious Syriac Grammar.djvu/49

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§ 17.
— 11 —

The feminine plural-forms of the finite verb and of the predicative adjective take ◌̈, e. g. ܟܬܱܒ̈ܝ "they (fem.) wrote", ܢܷܟܬ̈ܒܳܢ "they (fem.) write" (Impf.), ܛܳܒ̈ܳܢ "are good (f.)". Only, these points are generally wanting, when the 3rd pl. fem. in the perfect is written like the 3rd sing. masc. (§ 50 B).

With the numerals there is a good deal of fluctuation. The rule that only feminine numbers of the second decade,—because they end in the plural in ē,—are to be supplied with ◌̈, is seldom strictly followed. Numerals with ܪ generally take ◌̈; farther, all which end in ܢܢ,—in particular ܬܪ̈ܢܢ, ܬܱܪ̈ܬܷܢܢ "two". The plural sign is the rule in numerals which have a possessive suffix (§ 149).

C. Generally speaking, a tolerable uniformity is found,—and that in old manuscripts,—only in cases under A; in cases under B, these manuscripts often omit the sign ◌̈, where it should stand, and employ it instead in other cases, but without consistency, e. g. in the masc. of the finite verb, as ܐܫܟ̈ܚܘ "they (masc.) found"; ܕܢܬܩ̈ܕܫܘܢ "that they (masc.) may be sanctified".[1]

D. The position of the points ◌̈ was not thoroughly determined: most frequently they were permitted to rest upon the third or fourth letter from the end of the word. Much depends here on the fancy of the writer; the position most favoured is over those letters which do not rise high above the line. With the point of the letter ܪ the plural sign generally blends into ܪ̈, e. g. ܡܳܪ̈ܘܳܬܴܐ "lords" ; ܫܱܪܻܝܪ̈ܐ "true" ; still there are found also ܝܱ̈ܩܺܝܪܱܝ "revered", ܥܷ̈ܣܪܻܝܢ "twenty", ܩܾ̈ܘܪܝܴܐ "villages", and many others.

Upper and under line. § 17. Here and there a line over the letter is found as a sign of the want of a vowel, e. g. ܦ̄ܠܸܓܘ pe̊leγ "were divided", as contrasted with ܦܱܠܷܓܘ "distributed"; ܠܲܚ̄ܡܝ laḥm "my bread". Oftener this ◌̄ stands as a sign that a consonant is to be omitted in the pronunciation, e. g. ܡܕܝܼܢ̄ܬܵܐ me̊δītā "town", ܒܲܪ̄ܬ݂ bath "daughter", ܗ̄ܘܵܐ "was". The West-
  1. The sign ◌̈ is even set improperly over words, which are singular, but look like plural, e. g. over ܠܱܝ̈ܠܷܐ "night" (sing. abs. st.) and over Greek words in ◌ܹܐ η like ܗܘ̈ܠܐ ὕλη.