[b-hebrew] Re: PS /g/

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Nov 15 06:44:33 EST 2004

On 15/11/2004 03:44, Uri Hurwitz wrote:

>Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:
>.....Phoenician certainly had Samekh.
>Does anyone remember a case of Phoenician Sin (that is, of a Shin being used
>for an /s/)?
>   Not off hand,( can't locate my KAI at the moment). 
>   It it is interesting that there are are cases where the persumed proto-Semitic Sin becomes  a Shin in BH  -- compare  Shams in Arabic  to Shemesh .        
>   Also, one should keep in mind that the original Tha did not have a special letter in Heb., and other NW Semitic dialects, and becomes a Shin in BH --  compare Thaur in Arabic to Shor.
>  Does anyone have a definite idea about the difference in original pronounciation between the Samekh and the Sin?
Here is a summary of part of Patrick Bennett's reconstruction from 
"Comparative Semitic Linguistics", using Unicode for the phonetic 
symbols with an English-based equivalent following:

Proto-Semitic  Old Babylonian  Syriac     Hebrew        Classical Arabic

θ (th)              š (sh)      t/θ(th)    š (sh)=shin       θ (th)
ð (dh)              z           d/ð(dh)    z=zayin           ð (dh)
θ̣ (th dot)          ṣ (s dot)   ṭ (t dot)   ṣ (s dot)=tsade   ẓ (z dot)
t                   t           t/θ(th)    t/θ(th)=tav       t
d                   d           d/ð(dh)    d/ð(dh)=dalet     d
ṭ (t dot)           ṭ (t dot)    ṭ (t dot)   ṭ (t dot)=tet     ṭ (t dot)
s                   s           s          s=samekh          s
z                   z           z          z=zayin           z
ṣ (s dot)           ṣ (s dot)   ṣ (s dot)  ṣ (s dot)=tsade   ṣ (s dot)
ś (s acute)         š (sh)      s          ś (s acute)=sin   š (sh)
l                   l           l          l=lamed           l
ẓ́ (z acute dot)     ṣ (s dot)   ʿ (ayin)    ṣ (s dot)=tsade   ḍ (d dot)
š (sh)              š (sh)      š (sh)     š (sh)=shin       s

In Bennett's phonetic alphabet, ś (s acute) is a voiceless lateral 
fricative, and ẓ́ (z acute dot) is an emphatic voiced lateral fricative.

It would be an interesting exercise to fit Hebrew words with cognates 
into this chart. For example, the last consonant of Hebrew 'erets must 
derive from the ẓ́ (z acute dot), because the Aramaic cognate has ayin, 
and the Arabic has ḍ (d dot).

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

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