[b-hebrew] Basic question on Qal, Piel, and Pual

Peter Kirk peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Tue Jul 22 14:40:54 EDT 2003

On 22/07/2003 09:25, Trevor Peterson wrote:

>Enough ranting. What is my point? There are at least two: 1) I would think 
>twice about trying to learn any language without pronouncing it. Aside from 
>classical scholars and people with physical handicaps, almost no one reads a 
>language without knowing how to speak it. Certainly, living writing systems 
>are not designed for people to do so--they are developed by and for native 
>speakers and work because they presume a certain level of oral competence with 
>the language. This is especially true of West Semitic writing systems, which 
>brings me to my second point. 2) Hebrew, like every other language, has always 
>been pronounced with vowels. The meaningful forms of the words from a 
>linguistic standpoint include vowels, even if they are not always written. So 
>from a linguistic standpoint, the form and function do correspond. That much 
>should be allowed, even if we conclude that the relevant formal features are 
>not always accessible.
>Trevor Peterson
Of course there are ways to learn to pronounce Hebrew without learning 
the Masoretic vowel points, which (to those of us brought up on western 
languages) are illogical, hard to learn and hard on the eyes. You learn 
the language in transliteration. But I don't expect Trevor to approve of 
that one! And I don't know of any books that teach only in transliteration.

Peter Kirk
peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list