[b-hebrew] Was Schewa really silent?
Dr Raoul Comninos
capechurch at gmail.com
Tue Sep 4 12:12:52 EDT 2007
I think sometimes the waters are muddied in that people speak of the
Masoretes' pointing as if it were something they invented. The system
reflects their understanding of Hebrew language. They did not invent
the vowels. The simply reflected them as they understood them. If they
distinguished between shewa and hatep shewa, it must be, in my view,
because the one sound different from the other.
On 9/4/07, Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com> wrote:
> George Athas:
> .."If the shewa is silent within a word, why the need to mark some gutturals
> with a composite shewa, but not others? What is the governing factor
> The Masoretes (Naqdanim) simply were not always consistent, and no
> regularity can be discerned in their inconsistency, for if there had been
> one it would have been noted by biblical grammarians a long time ago.
> It had to do with the sharpness of hearing: they detected a slight movement
> in even a silent guttoral and marked this with a "furtive vowel", that is with
> a Ha(.)Ta(.)F.
> Whether this was ever pronounced as a full vowel as in modern Heb.
> is another question.
> Let's keep in mind that Arabic, in contrast, accepts a full silent guttoral
> ( with a 'Skun'),but established the 'Hamza' for Alephs with a glottal stop;
> the masoretes, on the other had found no need for such a marker.
> Uri Hurwitz
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