Jonathan Bailey jonathan.bailey at
Sun Apr 15 10:59:12 EDT 2001

Concerning speaking modern Hebrew, I plan to use the modern Israeli
pronunciation. I am interested in knowing Masoretic pronunciation for
philological purposes. I might try reading the bible according to the
Masoretic pronunciation for fun. After learning Arabic and listening to
Hebrew SCOLA, I could not help be dismayed. Before I learned Arabic I was
always a defender of the true semitic nature of Modern Hebrew, but now I
can't help but think that it is an impure hybrid language.

What is the state of pronunciation in Israel today? If I were to adopt a
sephardic pronunciation, would I still fit in? I used to have a
Langenscheidt's Hebrew course and the guy on the cassette pronounced true
pharyngial chets. Is there any post masoretic pronunciation which
distinguishes all begadkepat letters and the gutterals as well?

So by lengthened, do you mean doubled? So when a begadkepat letter has a
dagesh forte in Modern Hebrew, it doesn't get pronounced as if it has a
dagesh lene? It has been a couple of years now since I have spoken Modern
Hebrew to anybody, but I thought any begadkepat letter with a dagesh was
pronounced as if it had a lene, no matter what type of dagesh were in it.

Was there any difference between qof and kaf in Masoretic Hebrew? Do Arabs
who learn Hebrew make this distinction, seeing as there probably wasn't one
in Masoretic Hebrew?


----- Original Message -----
From: "Randall Buth" <ButhFam at>
To: "Jonathan Bailey" <jonathan.bailey at>
Sent: Sunday, April 15, 2001 1:29 AM
Subject: re: Pronunciation

shalom yonatan,

Israelis do not distinguish gimel or dalet with dagesh.
Second-temple Hebrew and Massoretic had fricative realizations of those
letters when not lengthened and after vowels. They were like dhal and
ghayin of Arabic but were not phonemic in Hebrew like in Arabic.

my recommendation is to use Israeli pronounciation.

Randall Buth

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