alef, ayin, (hearing)

Randall Buth ButhFam at
Wed Jan 23 03:30:25 EST 2002

shalom Jason, 

Your question represents a common perspective that needs a better 
answer than you've been taught.

>I was taught that Alef and ayin should be thaught of as silent until I get
>fluent. Where can I hear them pronounced on the WEB?<

First of all, `ayin is very much vocal in the speech of someone who 
fluently uses it in their dialect. It is the voiced counterpart to a 
true Het (voiceless pharyngeal fricative with retracted tongue root). 
But if you were taught that `ayin is silent you were probably taught a khaf
a substitute for Het. 

Secondly, if you became fluent in your system, then you would be fluent in
a dialect without `ayin or Het. 

If you want to hear Het distinguished from khaf, there is now a Demo 
available on our website: 

 You will need RealPlayer/RealMedia on your computer, though you  can
download it from the site above. The demo lesson does not have `ayin by
accident of the examples chosen and maybe we'll remedy that, too, in the
near futures. (The course it is describing has both `ayin and Het from the
beginning, correctly, on CD, with very clear `ayin.)

Randall Buth

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