Trevor & Julie Peterson speederson at
Sun Apr 15 06:53:32 EDT 2001

While it seems that there was a distinction at some point between the two,
many follow the Modern Hebrew pronunciation system and don't make a
distinction between G. and G, D. and D, T. and T, but do distinguish B. from
B (/v/), K. from K (similar to Heth), and P. from P (/f/).  If you've been
using the Classical, academic pronunciation system, you would also need to
change W from /w/ to /v/, lengthen almost all instances of Hireq, pronounce
all a-vowels the same, and (without going into a lot of detail) treat a lot
more Shewas as silent.  A number of Hebrew grammars would present this
system in more detail, including Bryan Rocine's new introductory grammar and
the intermediate grammar by van der Merwe, et al.  Also, because it's based
on Modern Hebrew, I presume you could find some help from Modern Hebrew
references (or speakers, if any happen to be available to you).

In the Classical system, which is outlined in Seow's introductory grammar,
the simple answer to your question is that one generally does not make a
distinction between the two.  An alternative, found in Jouon, is an attempt
at reconstructing Masoretic pronunciation.  Its advantage is that it tries
to distinguish the sounds of all the letters from one another to some degree
and would probably be a bit more helpful for learning vocabulary and
paradigms with correct spelling.  It is also, at least in theory, a
pronunciation of the language that was living at one point (which is not
generally thought to be true of the Classical approach).  One disadvantage
is that it's not living now, so you can't really interact with native
speakers, as you can with Modern Hebrew.  It is also probably the most
complicated system to learn, because it draws upon a number of Semitic
(chiefly Arabic) sounds that have no close parallel in Western languages.
In that system, G would have a velarized pronunciation, somewhat analogously
to K vs. K.  Spirantized D vs. hard D would be analogous to /th/ vs. /t/
(something like the /th/ in English "then").

Trevor Peterson
  -----Original Message-----
  From: Jonathan Bailey [mailto:jonathan.bailey at]
  Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2001 6:38 PM
  To: Biblical Hebrew
  Subject: Pronunciation

  Can someone clarify for me the pronunciation of Gimmel and Dalet with and
without dagesh lene?

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