Biblical Hebrew Transcription (was: Jeremiah 23:2)

T. L. Phillips tiphillips at
Thu Sep 17 11:30:10 EDT 1998

I like it except for tet, "Chet", and "Tsade".

Elsewhere, and occassionally on this list, I see X for Xet.
Considering newcomers, this would guarantee that the Hebrew
letter and the guy that used to anchor the news would not be
confused :-).

I would rather see + used for "tet". I see the look-a-like
factor but also a U vowel.

"Tsade" is a stumper, but why use diagraphs at all? Some
suggestions (including 2 digraphs):
5 (looks like S and T together)

xet or is it x"t
5 at d"y

5edek, 5addiyq

Would the consonants have to be capitalized?

Tim Phillips

Paul Zellmer wrote:

>  B-Haverim,
> (Note: I sent this out almost 24 hours ago, but it still
> hasn't shown up on the list.  I guess it's lost in
> cyber-space!  So my apologies for a repeat message.
> Paul.)
> After the short discussion this past weekend about the
> transcription
> scheme for the list, I would like to propose the
> following.  Because it
> is based on Ben's scheme, perhaps we can call what results
> after all the
> comments end and the dust settles a "Modified Crick
> Transcription
> Scheme".
> I do have some problems with Ben's scheme in an unmodified
> form, because
> it has some ambiguities built into it and because it
> assumes that the
> transcriber is familiar with pronunciation rules (e.g.,
> which shewa is
> voice and which is silent, which dagesh is lene and which
> is forte).
> Especially this last concern causes the scheme to be
> somewhat unfriendly
> to newcomers to Biblical Hebrew.  We don't want them to
> keep from asking
> a question because they are afraid that they will not
> identify a dagesh
> or shewa correctly, do we?  So here's my proposal.  I'll
> try to explain
> some of the rationale afterwards.
> Consonants          Vowels
> (Capitalized)       (lower case)
> Aleph    '          Patah        a
> Beth     B          Qamets       @
> Gimel    G          Segol        e
> Daleth   D          Tsere        " or "Y [plene]
> Heh      H          Hireq        i or iY [plene]
> Vav(waw) W          Holem        o or oW [plene]
> Zayin    Z          Qamets Hatuf @
> Cheth    Ch         Qibbuts      u
> Teth     U          Shureq       W.
> Yod      Y          Shewa        :
> Kaph     K          Hatef Patah  :a
> Lamedh   L          Hatef Segol  :e
> Mem      M          Hatef Qamets :@
> Nun      N
> Samek    S
> Peh      P          Miscellaneous
> Ayin     `
> Tsade    Ts         Ketiv        *
> Qoph     Q          Qere         **
> Resh     R          Dagesh       .
> Sin      &          Meqqeph       -
> Shin     $
> Tav      T
> I personally see no problem with the use of digraphs for
> some of the
> consonants as long as the second letter is lower case.
> Even those of us
> who want to build macros to return these texts to Hebrew
> characters
> should be able to deal with them.  I suggested U for Teth
> because it's a
> "look-alike".  Several posters in the past seem to have
> used the & and $
> comfortably, and they do allow the distinguishing of the
> sibilants.  For
> qamets, I'm suggesting @, since it sort of looks like both
> an "a" and an
> "o". The " was retained for sere, since it sort of looks
> like two dots.
> Since almost none of our postings need to have the pauses
> marked, I'm
> suggesting that we retain the colon as the mark of the
> shewa.  This
> allows even the newcomers to the language to post with
> confidence.  For
> a similar reason, I am suggesting we retain the period as
> the mark of
> the dagesh.  The closer we keep the transcription to what
> is explicitly
> found in the text, the less we will have problems with
> different
> pronunciation schemes.  Also, I realize most of us would
> not have any
> problem with soft BGDKPT being indicated by a lower-case h
> as the second
> part of a digraph, but a neophyte might not know that an
> extra letter is
> needed.  Also, "h" to me is a sign of breathiness, and, if
> my
> understanding of the soft forms is correct, they are
> actually
> fricatives, right?
> I think that Ben's basic structure is more intuitive, at
> least to the
> English speaker.  I propose this scheme with modifications
> because I
> feel it keeps the intuitiveness while allowing for better
> specification.  Please send all responses to the list so
> that all of us
> are involved in the hoped-for agreement.
> Paul
> --
> Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
> Ibanag Translation Project
> Cabagan, Philippines
> zellmer at

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