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There are many times when Sefarim and commentaries reference something that is brought later on. Sometimes the word "לקמן" is used (example) and sometimes the word "להלן" is used (example).

Is there a logical reason to use one instead of the other? Is there a difference between them? Are they equally interchangeable?

Some possible distinctions that came to mind include:

  1. The distance from where we are now. i.e. one could imply it is mentioned soon, and one would imply it is mentioned much later on.

  2. Perhaps they are different languages, one hebrew and one aramaic.

  3. Perhaps the time period in which the Sefer was written determines which word is used.

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I heard that "לקמן" is used for far away and "לקמיה" for immediately, but nothing about "להלן" (though it seems that modern Hebrew books favor "להלן" more). –  b a Feb 18 '13 at 2:52

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Both words are Aramaic, and while etymologically distinct they have coalesced in this form and both possess (effectively) the same meaning. The information below comes from Jastrow's Talmudic dictionary, Alcalay's "Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary" and morfix.co.il:

להלן has as its root the word הלן, cognate to Hebrew הלא, meaning "[over] there". הלאה, for example, means "onwards" in Hebrew. לקמן has as its root the word קמי, which means "before" or "in the presence of". Technically speaking, לקמן might be distinguished from להלן in meaning "below", rather than "later", but there's no real practical difference so far as I am aware. I would suggest that choosing one over the other is a question of authorial style.

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I believe that להלן is also used as a reference to an earlier statement; "over there" can mean either earlier or later. Sorry, I can't give any examples offhand. –  Dave Feb 18 '13 at 4:18
1  
Just found this page, which says what I said and gives Berachos 9a as an example. –  Dave Feb 18 '13 at 4:21

According to the source @Dave brought here, there is a difference.

"לקמן" means "below", i.e. later on.

On the other hand, "להלן" just means "over there" and could be referring to earlier or later.

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