Pronunciation of WAW

Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Wed Jan 23 07:55:40 EST 2002


Especially, once again - the Yemenite Jews.  They sometimes do 
distinguish W from V in their speaking.

Shoshanna




Actually, non-Ashkenazi speakers have vav today, along with their Het and
`ayin (the minority Israeli mizraHi dialect). It is their reading tradition
in
synagogue that retains 'w'.
...

>BTW -- I always encourage my students to pronounce waw as "w"
This is interesting advice from a Greek speaker, [were 'w' dropped out of
the language in pre-Attic times and both veta (before 1st century) and 'eu'

  became consonantal fricatives close to spanish 'v' (by Evsevius' time).]
I would only recommend 'w' if one wanted it for Sefardic synagogue
readings.

>because it is more authentic and
>easier for learning vocab and avoiding confusion with veth (ie, beth
without >dagesh).

Vocabulary is best learned in an real communication context. It sticks much

better and allows a student to reach fluency where vocab and morphology
are automatic and non-conscious.

>I also
>encourage them to pronounce `ayin, and to try to distinguish between kaph
>& qoph, samekh & sin, tet
>& taw.

I can only recommend that someone serious in Hebrew learns it fluently,
from someone who speaks it fluently. I don't know any for the above
suggestion. On the other hand, a very nice compromise is the mizraHi
Israeli.
It is also used in the courses through www.biblicalulpan.org.  It is a real

dialect, and mixes seamlessly with majority Israeli Hebrew for those who
would become fluent and work in the whole language.

blessings,

Randall Buth, PhD
Director, Biblical Language Center
www.biblicalulpan.org
and Lecturer, Biblical Hebrew
Rothberg International School
Hebrew University

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