There are two conjugations; the passive formation, now wanting inmost Indo-European languages, has been retained, as in Greek; thus kerko-iy, " I seek," forms kerko-n -em, " I am sought."
In order to avoid the uncertainty arising from the lack of vowels to distinguish forms consisting of the same consonants (for the vowel-points were not yet invented), the aramaising use of the reflexive conjugations (Hithpa`el, Nithpa`el) for the internal passives (Pu'al, Hoph`al) became common; particles were used to express the genitive and other relations, and in general there was an endeavour to avoid the obscurities of a purely consonantal writing.
The latter acquired the Semitic language imperfectly from their conquerors; they expressed the verbal conjugations by periphrases, mispronounced the consonants, and so changed greatly, the appearance of the vocabulary, which also would certainly contain a large proportion of native nonSemitic roots.
Much of this must have taken place, according to the theory, in the prehistoric period; but the loss of weak consonants, of y, and of one of two repeated consonants, and the development of periphrastic conjugations continued to the end.
There are three regular conjugations, distinguished (as in Latin) according to the termination of the present infinitive in a, e or i; e.g.