Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Tue Mar 13 16:18:50 EST 2001

Almost certainly ayin, not ghayin. How do I know? Because the Azerbaijani
form of this name (oddly enough, a common personal name) uses an apostrophe
not a g breve. This implies that the underlying Arabic as `eyn not gheyn.

Actually this is implicit in BDB. BDB lists K.:NA(AN under the root KFNA(
for which it gives an Arabic cognate with an `eyn. If the BDB authors had
thought that K.:NA(AN used a ghayin, they would have conjectured a separate

Peter Kirk

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin L. Barney [mailto:klbarney at]
Sent: 13 March 2001 15:27
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: ghayin

I am trying to find out whether the ayin in Canaan (Kena'an) was
originally a true ayin or ghayin.  Does anyone know?  How would one go
about finding the answer to this question?  Is there some notation in BDB
or something I should know about?

Also, I did not know until yesterday that there was such a thing as
ghayin.  I take it this was originally a separate letter with a gh
pronunciation that merged at an early date with ayin, and is not
separately represented in modern transcriptions.  If anyone would care to
offer any more background on ghayin, I would appreciate it.

Kevin L. Barney
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
klbarney at

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