Dr. Joel M. Hoffman
joel at exc.com
Mon Mar 13 09:00:08 EST 2006
>I would like to ask the interested members' opinion on the origin of
>the word ???? shtayim.
>Remarkably, this word has a shwa with the shin, but a dagesh in the taw.
>A so-called shwa na` (mobile) is supposed not to be followed by a
>sharp begedkepet consonant sign: it should have a soft
>"veghedhkhefeth" variant, if the shwa we are dealing with had once
>been a vowel - i.e. if it really is a shwa na`.
>Of course, to the Masoretes there was only one shwa: representing the
>absence of a vowel.
Right (though others on this list disagree). I go through this in
detail in my NYU book, where I include a discussion of the erroneous
thought process that led people to posit two kinds of shwa.
SHTAYIM is not the only problem with the two-shwa theory. Classical
grammars assume (impossibly) that the vocal shwa is pronounced but
does not add a syllable. Then, because of words like SHTAYIM, some
grammars invent a third kind of shwa.
But once you come to the realization that a shwa represents the lack
of a vowel --- no more, no less --- everything because eaiser and more
Joel M. Hoffman
More information about the b-hebrew