Pronunciation of WAW

Trevor & Julie Peterson 06peterson at
Tue Jan 22 20:11:53 EST 2002

Okay, I'm still curious. On what basis do you make this distinction? We use
the Israeli pronunciation, which doesn't make a distinction; but one of my
profs thinks it was originally a lateral fricative and explained it as
positioning the tongue for /l/ and blowing air around it.

Trevor Peterson

> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Athas [mailto:gathas at]
> Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2002 6:43 PM
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Pronunciation of WAW
> The samekh is a rounder "s" sound. If I can describe it this way:
> Put your mouth in position to
> make an "r" sound but make an "s" sound instead. It's similar to
> our English "s", but with a bit of
> a whistle quality to it.
> With sin, it is a much more sibilant sound, similar to modern
> Arabac sad (ie, tsadhe). Put your
> mouth in position for "th" (as in "think"), but say "s". It
> should come out as a hissing sound,
> almost like a "th", but distinct from "th". You should feel very
> snake-like as you pronounce it.
> :)
> Best regards,
> (Sydney, Australia)
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