BH transcript/Tiberian phonetics, Churchyard

Vincent DeCaen decaen at
Tue Sep 22 14:55:50 EDT 1998

hi henry,

any word on defence date? go, man, go! good luck!

re transcription. Revell has always made this point, but it's only
recently I've caught the spirit: BH is written, not spoken as such:
speech is inferred. the primary evidence is graphic, and the primary
goal is to account for the *graphic* output. since graphemics and
phonetics are autonomous but interacting with phonology, there's some
liberating ideas here somewhere.....  Revell is generally pretty
insightful when it comes to generative projects. he also keeps me
humble. ;-)


line up putative underlying representations, based on historical and
phonological work on the one hand, with the simple graphic output on
the other (bracketing for the time being vowel letters: written but
not pronounced). conventions: *a historical, [a] phone, <A> graph in
MC transcription, /a/ underlying, /aa/ underlying geminate.

historical	*i		*a	*u
phonemes	/i/	/e/	/o/	/u/

underlying /VV/	<I>		<O>	<U>

underlying /V/
full stress	<">	<E>	<F>	<O>

hatef (reduced)	<E>		<A>	<F>

observations: no phones involved, but logically <X> = [X]. Canaanite
shift gives *a > /o/. phonemic split involved with /e/. <E> can also
appear as <I>, but too much detail for this schematic overview.

this has the liberating effect of getting past Qimhi vs Goerwitz/Kahn.
no question arises here about realizations. just the vowel graphs.

but if you want to get into it, yes, there is only one <F> which
realizes both /o/ and /u/. so what?

but taking Revell's approach, I see motivated length distinctions
mismatching with quality surface distinctions. simple. elegant. it
just takes a while to get used to. ;-) length in phonological
representations; quality in outputs/graphs; and if Kahn is right,
predictable length in outputs too. simple.

so reading across, systematic outputs. reading down columns, looks
like lowering systematically. very streamlined. easy for students to

if I failed to answer your question, my excuse is I'm half-asleep.
induction leading to theory. what part of the chart is still


Vincent DeCaen, Ph.D.		 	 	     <decaen at>
Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto

Hebrew Syntax Encoding Initiative
c/o Deparment of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
4 Bancroft Ave., 2d floor,  University of Toronto,  Toronto ON,  M5S 1A1


All you need is positivity.	--Spice Girls

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