wa, fa, and questions about pronunciation

Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at gmx.de
Wed Dec 20 14:43:03 EST 2000

What about the other way around? Could proto West-Semitic have had two
particles such as those preserved in Arabic, originally fa and va that ended
up becoming we and wa(y) in Hebrew? Of course I really shouldn't be asking
this question until I know if the original pronunciation of waw was w or v
so I can correctly phrase it. I might also want to ask if there was a fa and
wa that became a ve and va(y), or a fa and va that became a ve and va(y) or
a fa and va that became a we and wa(y).

This is why I am asking questions about 'original' pronunciations. I am just
trying to familiarize myself with the type of drifting that is being
theorized by semitists so I can narrow down the possibilities and thereby
narrow down the number of variant questions that I have to pose. I have just
been doing a bit of thinking on this but am so ignorant of Hebrew and
comparative semitic phonetics that I am prevented from thinking further.

I guess that I am ultimately interested in bolstering the idea that the
apocopated or relativized prefix conjugation is a different aktionsart than
the regular yiqtol, and would then return to the familiar philological
questions surrounding all those wayyiqtols that are referring to the future
time. If it isn't fa+preterite, then what is it? But I am not ready to go
there yet. I am still thinking about ve/va(y) or we/wa(y) at this point and
am just interested in getting help finding out if I should be typing v or w
all the time.

A good question to ask would be, 'how did the masoretes pronounce it?", or
'what is its sound in Aramaic in various dialects at various times?', but at
this time I am just interested in hearing what I can from those who know a
lot more than I.

I get the digest form of the list, so it might be that I have more answers
than those you posed in your mail, but if not, I thought I would clarify my
intentions with this reply.

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Stabnow" <dstabno at lifeway.com>
To: <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Cc: <jonathan.bailey at gmx.de>
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 7:18 AM
Subject: Re: wa, fa, and questions about pronunciation

> > If v is the original sound, then it  is easy to see how f would become
> but then how would w come from from f or  v?
> English "v" is labial-dental. But it is easy to see how a *bilabial* "v"
> could have lost its fricative element and become "w".
> Dave Stabnow

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