[b-hebrew] Re: variant pronunciation

Joel Nothman jnothman at student.usyd.edu.au
Mon Apr 19 05:46:03 EDT 2004

> As I learned the names, qamats hatuf is your qamats qatan, and qamats  
> with sheva next to it is called hataf qamats. Hataf qamats is also the  
> official Unicode name.

You may be correct... Names are not my specialty!

> If the Masoretes considered qamats to be an O vowel as you say, how come  
> furtive patah is never written after qamats, or patah, although it is  
> written after every other vowel including holam? I am not really  
> questioning what you say, merely asking for qualification. More like  
> qamats was a back open vowel, perhaps rounded, a bit like the  
> Scandinavian a with ring, or Persian long a - something between "ah" and  
> "aw" in my English.

I would still suppose that the evidence is in the orthography that teh  
qamats was seen to the masoretes to sound close to the hataf qamats, and  
to the qamats qaton, because clearly they all ended up with the same  
symbol, which would mean that they were seen in some ways the same.

But you have to remember that vowel changes occur naturally both over time  
and geography. The standard qamats was originally a long a (or a back a),  
and so is never followed by a furtive patah, and follows many  
characteristics in common with patah as the a-vowels.
Nonetheless, I would still argue that the masoretes had adopted a qamats  
that acted tradionally like a patah, but was classed orthographically with  

I should note about now that I am merely a student with much interest in  
this area, and happen to not be hugely well read, so most things I say  
should be taken for interest and not for pure fact.

- Joel

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