[83a] 1. In Hebrew, as in Greek and Latin, the verbal nouns are connected in form and meaning primarily with certain forms of the verb, especially the participles and infinitives, which are themselves, even in their ordinary form, frequently used precisely like nouns, e.g. אֹיֵב enemy, דַּ֫עַת to know, knowledge. Still oftener, however, certain forms of the infinitive and participle, which are seldom or never found as such in the strong verb, though in use in the weak verb and in the kindred dialects, came to be commonly used for the verbal noun; e.g. the participial form קָטֵל, the infinitives of the (Aramaic) form מִקְטַל (as a noun also מִקְטָל), further קְטֹ֫לֶת, קִטְלָה, קָטְלָה, קֻטְלָה (§45d), &c. Others (as the Arabic shows) are properly intensive forms of the participle.
[83b] 2. As regards their meaning, it follows from the nature of the case that nouns which have the form of the infinitive regularly denote the action or state, with other closely related ideas, and are therefore mostly abstract; while the participial nouns, on the contrary, denote for the most part the subject of the action or state, and are therefore concrete. Moreover, it is to be noticed, that a particular meaning is attached to many of the special forms of derivative nouns, although it does not appear equally in them all.
[83c] Rem. It need not appear strange, when we consider the analogy of other languages, that a noun which in form is properly abstract afterwards acquired a concrete sense, and vice versa. So in English, we say his acquaintance, for the persons with whom he is acquainted; the Godhead for God himself; in Hebrew מוֹדַע acquaintance and an acquaintance.
[83d] The inner connexion in thought between Semitic noun-forms and the corresponding verbal forms is investigated in the works of De Lagarde and Barth (see the titles at the head of §79) on very different lines, but with many points of agreement. De Lagarde starts from the fact that language consists of sentences. A sentence which consists of only one word is called a verb, and anything which serves as a complement to it is a noun. The oldest form of the sentence is the imperative. Closely related to it are three kinds of sentences of the nature of verbal forms, differing according as the property of the particular object of sense is to be represented as invariable (form qatula), or as liable to change (form qatila), or, finally, as a circumstance which takes place before our eyes (form qatala). Like the imperative, these three forms of sentences have also been transformed into nouns, by means of certain phonetic changes,—especially by the omission of the final vowels and the addition of different terminations to the last consonant of the stem. But just as the forms of the verbal sentence undergo numerous modifications (in the tenses, moods, and conjugations), so also do the nouns, sometimes by assimilation of the unessential to the characteristic vowel (qutul, qitil), sometimes by the lengthening of the characteristic vowel (qatûl, qatîl, qatâl), or else through the displacement of the accent and the consequent reduction of the noun to a monosyllabic form (qatl, qutl, qitl), or, finally, by their being formed from the derived stems (or conjugations), e.g. qattal, qattâl; qutil, qittâl, &c. Further modifications arise from the use of the various imperfect