[b-hebrew] PS /g/

Trevor Peterson abuian at access4less.net
Thu Nov 11 09:06:55 EST 2004


I know that proto-Semitic /g/ (Hebrew gimel) shows up in some languages 
and dialects as /j/, but does anyone know the explanation for how it 
gets to these two pronunciations? I mean, at first glance it seems like 
an intuitive association from an English-speaker perspective. Our letter 
"g" performs double-duty. But when you stop and think about it, the two 
sounds are quite different and don't seem to be easily connected. The 
only thing I can think of is that Greek gamma creeps forward to the 
point where it becomes /y/ before /i/. But it still seems like a long 
way for one sound to march. I wonder if there's a simpler explanation.

I know this isn't exactly B-Hebrew, but hopefully the moderators will 
excuse the diversion :-)

thanks,

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics



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