[b-hebrew] Re: variant pronunciation

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Sun Apr 18 16:31:53 EDT 2004

On 17/04/2004 17:46, Joel Nothman wrote:

> ...
>> This last is more likely because Greek and Latin did not have a V 
>> sound  and so used beta or B for the V sound when these names were  
>> transliterated from Hebrew.
> Yes, I realised this afterwards, and also that the b in oriental  
> communities probably comes from the Arabic lack of a bh or v 
> phoneme...  Still, there is some evidence for bh rather than v as an 
> original  undotted-bet.

Yes, you may in fact be right that undotted bet was still pronounced as 
B rather than V when the first Greek transcriptions were made. There are 
a lot of interesting questions here which can be studied by looking at 
Septuagint and other early Greek transcriptions of Hebrew names. But 
these studies need care because the pronunciation of Greek was changing; 
in the period in question phi, theta and xi were probably aspirated P, T 
and K rather than the fricatives of more modern pronunciation.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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