[b-hebrew] Shva merahephet

VC vadim_lv at center-tv.net
Thu Jun 24 15:47:04 EDT 2004

Dear Yigal,

I'm working on the issue related to shva merahephet, and there seems a
reasonable grammatical explanation of this curiousity, so I naturally try to
find what others said on it - and cannot find anything beyond the
rationalization of the kown anomaly.

Yigal, this is a pure grammatical issue. All too often the things which
cannot be easily explained, are related to anomalies of the liguistic
development. BTW, though I've of course read Gesenius, the answer to your
question is no, I didn't study from him. I cannot imagine what it takes to
study from a manual like that. The simplest things are made inexplicable.
For the record, the worse discourse on Hebrew grammar I ever saw was in
Jewish Encyclopedia. There are paragraphs were I simply could not understand
what the authors meant under the heap of the obscurest linguistical terms.

Best regards,


> While I am not a grammarian, I am familiar with the term. My (uneducated)
> impression has always been that the "Shva Merahefet" is an excuse invented
> to explain away cases where there should be a Dagesh but isn't, or where a
> Shva should be moble but doesn't act like one. My guess would be that the
> Mesoretes had a tradition but no consistant way to explain it. I can
> the way things like that happen in modern Hebrew, as in any living
> language - phonetics do their thing, and grammrians then have to make up
> rules. My four year old son says "matsiti" (that's MaCiTiY) instead of
> "matsati"- "I found", probably influenced by "ratsiti" (I wanted) and the
> like. We should remember that Biblical Hebrew WAS a spoken language, to
> during the pre-exilic period, but all through Jewish history, Jews
> to use the language, not only in reading the Bible, but in composing the
> Mishnah, midrashim, liturgy and thousands of other texts. They also
> developed traditions about pronounciation. The Mesoretes inherited these
> traditions.
> This thread has also reaccenuated another point - the Hebrew grammar that
> and most other people educated within the Jewish tradition, learned is
> different from that learned by most people on this list. The grammar I
> learned is based on classical Jewish authorities such as Ibn Ezra and
> Kimhi - "yours" is based on Gesenius. Even some of the terminology is
> different - what y'all call a Hireq I call a Hiriq. What you call first
> person sing. masc. I call "meddaber". But we're still trying to describe
> same language.
> Just food for thought.
> Yigal
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "VC" <vadim_lv at center-tv.net>
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Thursday, June 24, 2004 5:17 PM
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Shva merahephet
> > > > Did any of you ever study the device of shva merahephet, the
> > > > differenc between calBi (my dog), and calVei(dogs)? Any information
> > > > on this?
> >
> > > You use a term for the sewa which I may perhaps have heard but cannot
> > > recall.  Then there is the matter of your example.  I find no case of
> > > used in the Tanak with a pronominal suffix.  Are you referring to
> whether
> > > or not a dagesh appears in the following consonant?  Your
> transliteration
> > > is somewhat idiosycratic.  I would suggest that you take the time to
> > > review the convention used on the list out of courtesy to the other
> > > members who must attempt to discipher your meaning.
> >
> > In segolate words, celeb, sepher, regel:
> > dagesh in the last root letter with pronoun suffix (calbi)
> > no dagesh in the last letter in smihut plural form (siphrei, calvei)
> > Is here any grammarian to discuss this issue?
> >
> > Sincerely,
> >
> > Vadim Cherny
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> >
> >
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