Chajug, Jehuda Ben-david

Chajug, Jehuda Ben-David, commonly called CHIUG, and in Arabia Abukcaria, Jachja B. Daûd el- Fasi el-Kartubi, and Jachja, a Jewish writer who is regarded by Jewish critics as the chief of Hebrew grammarians (רֹץשׁ הִמּדִקדּקַים), was born in Fez about A.D. 1020-1040, and hence is sometimes also called Jehuda Fâsi (יהודה פאםי). He was the first who recognized that the stem words of the Hebrew consist of three consonants, as up to his time some of the chief etymologists and expositors, e.g. Suadia Gaon, Menachem Ibn-Saruk, maintained that there were biliteral and even monoliteral stems. He, too, was the first who discovered the true relation of the quiescent letters, forming the mnemonic אהוי, and their changes. It was he, too, who arranged the Hebrews verbs according to their conjugations, distributing them under two heads:

1. KAL, light, not burdened with any formative additions; and,

2. CABED, heavy, being burdened with formative additions; and fixed six conjugations, viz.

1. Kal; 2. Niphal; 3. Hiphil; 4. Hithpael;

5. Pual and Hophal; and, 6. Piel.

This arrangement has been substantially adopted by all grammarians, and is exhibited in all the regular paradigms of the verb given by Gesenius, Ewald, and all modern linguists in their Hebrew grammars. These discoveries and scientific principles Chajug propounds in three books. The first is called סֵפֶר אוֹתַיּוֹת הִנֹּחִ והִמֶּשֶׁך, and treats chiefly of the quiescent letters, in three sections. The second book is called סֵפֶר פָּעַלֵי הִכֵּפֶל, and treats of verbs whose second and third radicals are alike= Ayin doubled. The third book is called סֵפֶר הִנַּקּוּד, and treats of the vowel points and accents. Originally written in Arabic, these marvellous grammatical discoveries were at first inaccessible and unknown to the Germano-French interpreters; but they exercised so extraordinary an influence upon the Spanish school of interpreters, that in order to make them more generally useful they were translated into Hebrew by AbenEzra. They have been published by Leop. Dukes (Frankft. a. M. 1844, 8vo), who has also given a sketch of the life and linguistic discoveries of Chajug in his Literaturhistorische Mittheilungen, etc. (Stuttg. 1844). See Fürst, Bib. Jud. 1:160.

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