[b-hebrew] Shva merahephet

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 24 17:40:29 EDT 2004

  Why make the sh'wa  feminine?  It is a masculine  term , and the specific type discussed is a  sh'wa merahef, just as the  term for a mobile sh'wa is sh'wa na' and not sh'wa na'ah.

Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:
Vadim and all,

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 observe
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 the
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 only
during the pre-exilic period, but all through Jewish history, Jews continued
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

This thread has also reaccenuated another point - the Hebrew grammar that I,
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 the
same language.

Just food for thought.


----- Original Message -----
From: "VC" 
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
> > or not a dagesh appears in the following consonant? Your
> > 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
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

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