[b-hebrew] Massoretic Vowels according to the Kitab al-Khazari
yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Mon Dec 11 16:32:58 EST 2006
On 12/11/06, Vadim Cherny wrote:
> No less an authority on medieval Hebrew than Judah Halevi writes in
> Kuzari (Grammatical forms ch.80):
> - qamats is the longest U-sound
> - holam is medium U-sound
> - shuruk is the shortest [u]
> - segol is short [a]. (That's consistent with the Babylonian system.)
> - Tzere is long [i]
> - Hirek is short [i].
> Shewa always vocal.
> Halevi's system is both Ashkenazi (qamats is [u]= unstressed [o]) and Babylonian
That is not what Halevi writes. Chapter 80 in Part II is quite long.
A translation from
1905 is available at: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Kitab_al_Khazari/Part_Two
(Search for "I should like to ask whether thou knowest the reason why Jews move
to and fro when reading the Bible?"). Very simply, the seven kings of the
Tiberian Massoretes (the seven vowel qualities iin Tiberian Massorah)
according to their similarity to the three principal qualities in
Arabic. My Hebrew
translation labels these as three as Narrowing (qibbuc), Opening (ptixa), and
Break ($eber). According to this method, there is a wide narrowing (qamats),
a medium narrowing (holam), and a narrow narrowing (shuruq). There is a
wide opening (patax), and a narrow opening (seghol). There is a big break
(xiriq), and a short break (cere). It is clear that none of this has
anything to do
with the length of the vowel itself, but rather with the way the lips are
situated when the vowel is sounded.
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