Qames. (h.atuph)

Henry Churchyard churchh at
Thu Nov 11 20:26:16 EST 1999

> From: "Brent Lynn Emery" <BRENT.LYNN.EMERY at>
> Date: Tue, 9 Nov 1999 13:11:58 -0800

> I would appreciate anyones help with the rules for understanding the
> qamets chatuf.  Any help or bibliography of resourced would be
> appreciated.  Thanks in advance. Shalom, Brent Emery

I'm not sure exactly what you're asking.  In general, qames.
(or originates from an earlier Semitic short /u/ vowel which
has not become lengthened in Hebrew, while qames. gadhol (or rah.abh)
originates from an earlier Semitic short /a/ vowel which _has_ become
lengthened in Hebrew.  In some modern pronunciation traditions these
two sounds have merged, while in other pronunciations (including
Modern Israeli) they have remained distinct.  The two historically
separate sounds are written with the same graphic symbol in the
Tiberian masoretic orthography, and there is no one simple method that
will disambiguate the two 100% of the time based on the orthography
alone (i.e. without knowing the morphological status of each
individual word).  However, there are some simple factors that will
dismbiguate qames. and qames. gadhol part of the time (for
example, qames. generally does not occur in a main-stressed
syllable, word-finally, or in any open syllable -- except before a
guttural consonant followed by  If you want to know
more about the morphological contexts in which qames. occurs,
consult a grammar (except one of the recent grammars that maintains
that the qames. vs. qames. gadhol contrast was not relevant
for Tiberian Biblical Hebrew).  For a defense of the position that the
qames. vs. qames. gadhol contrast was in fact relevant for
Tiberian Biblical Hebrew, see section of my dissertation
(p. 135 and following pages), available for download in PDF format
from (you can download a PDF
which contains just section 1.4 and chapter 4 to avoid downloading the
huge PDF of the whole dissertation).

Henry Churchyard   churchh at

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