Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Mon Jul 8 13:30:43 EDT 2002

Ian, bear in mind that the pronunciation of Greek may not have been
quite what we think either. Chi may well have been more an aspirated k
than a velar fricative kh sounds. So it would have matched well with
Hebrew kaph which may have been aspirated, whereas qoph probably was not
and so became unaspirated kappa. I note the following reverse
transformation: Latin Caesar > Greek KAISAR > Hebrew, Aramaic ?? >
Arabic QAYSAR.

As for heth, in most cases it was at least originally (and still is in
oriental dialects) a pharyngeal fricative, which would have sounded
quite different from any possible pronunciation of Greek chi. But in
some words Hebrew heth corresponds to the Arabic velar plosive, i.e. the
kh sound. One possible example is the initial heth of Hebron, which
becomes chi in Greek. A clearer one is Hilkiah, XIL.QIY.FH, from a root
XLQ which is certainly the kh sound in Arabic, which becomes CELKIAS or
CELCIAS in Greek i.e. with initial chi. This is good evidence that this
unwritten distinction was preserved for a long time.

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at mclink.it]
> Sent: 08 July 2002 16:03
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Re: Eve/Chavvah.
> >Whilst I understand the relation in the Hebrew name
> >for 'Eve'  (Gen 3:20) to 'life', I'm unsure where we
> >get the English 'Eve' from.
> >
> >I'm guessing that it is a transliteration of the LXX
> >for 'Chavvah/Khavvah' = 'Eve'. Can anyone confirm this
> >and give more detail, or correct me if I'm barking up
> >the wrong tree? I haven't got an LXX to look it up in,
> >so I've no idea if I'm on the right track.
> Your guess is correct, though in Gen 3:20 the Greek has
> Zoe to preserve the story about the name meaning "life".
> Gen 4:1 has Eua(n) (L. Hava(m)).
> Names that have come to us through Greek seem to have
> lost the khet, Onias, Enoch, Ananias, Anna. These have
> stuck.
> Though not regular, there has been an intermittently
> systematic phonetic "misperception" from Hebrew into
> Greek (here as found in English):
> khet  --> (lost)         xnwk  --> Enoch
> kaf   --> chi            kbr   --> Chebar
>                          kmw$  --> Chemosh
>                    (Akk. kaldu --> Chaldean)
> qof   --> kappa          qrh   --> Korah
>                          qd$   --> Kadesh
> This last is understandable, as Greek had no equivalent.
> (That's what happens in English.) The other two changes
> intrigue me. I would have thought that the Greek
> equivalent sound of khet was chi and of kaf was kappa.
> Perhaps the pronunciation of the Hebrew was different
> from what we understand it.
> It is in the change from one language (or phonetic
> system) to another that we learn things about
> pronunciation. We learn from the transliteration of
> Caesar in Hieroglyphic (and others) that the initial C
> was pronounced /k/ and not /s/ as we get from the
> French, or /t$/ as the Italians insist.
> Ian

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