[b-hebrew] Re: PS /g/

MarianneLuban at aol.com MarianneLuban at aol.com
Fri Nov 19 15:45:19 EST 2004

In a message dated 11/19/2004 4:39:20 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
yitzhaksapir at gmail.com writes:

> I am responding again because I think you might have misunderstood
> what I wrote above:
> 1) /c/ above is a phoneme, not a grapheme.  It represents the IPA symbol
> c, which is different than English c.  (In fact, in my attempt to find what 
> this
> sounds like, I found English has no phoneme that is transcribed by /c/ in
> IPA).  Its phonetic reconstruction, according to Loprieno, is [c(h)], ie, c
> which is sometimes aspirated.  As part of his discussion on this phoneme,
> he says that it was originally an Afroasiatic /k/ which palatalized, as in 
> the
> 2nd person pronoun suffixes for masc vs. fem, originally both /k/ like in
> Hebrew.

I didn't misunderstand you at all.  If you look on page 57 of Loprieno's 
"Ancient Egyptian, you will see just a little past the middle of the first 
paragraph, that he writes "Hm-nTr" [a kind of priest] as "ham,nacar" [which is the 
best I can reproduce what he has with my keyboard].  If /T/ being some kind of 
"ch" were true, then the second part of "Hm-nTr" would be "natcher" or 
something--but we know from several sources, ancient and less so, that "nTr" was 
vocalized as "nate" or "noute" [final r being dropped as very usual]--and "noute" 
is still the term for G-d in Coptic to this very day!  When Loprieno speaks of 
"k", he is referring to Coptic dialects where G47 is variously said as "dj" or 
"k"!  Beats me as to why, but I still don't think it has anything to do with 
the other sign, /T/--because I don't know of any instances where that became 
"k" in any Coptic dialect.  But, if /T/ was ever "th", it lost that value long 
ago because, in the Coptic alphabet it is always written with tau--and there 
is no theta in the Coptic alphabet, which is dehrived from the Greek one.  In 
fact, all the old Egyptian words that used to contain /d/  [as in "dung"] have 
become tau, as well.

> 2) Tsade is not [ts] in Biblical Hebrew, and I think only acquired this 
> phoneme
> in Medieval times, I think.  My understanding is that in biblical times, it 
> apparently had at least the phoneme represented usually by s. (underdotted 
> s) if it was not a sign for  multiple phonemes, including z. (underdotted z) 
> d. 
> (underdotted d).  Words with tsade have counterparts in Arabic words that
> have these three phonemes.  In Aramaic, the three phonemes divided 
> differently, d. merging with ayin (ar`a for eres., earth) and z.
> merging with tet

But the fact still remains that Semitic words which we would have expected to 
be written with a samekh, were transcribed with /T/ in the Egyptian 
orthography--however samekh was vocalized --and those containing tsade--however that 
was vocalized in Biblical times--were NOT.  

> (`es.a vs `et.a, advice).  Also, note the similarity between
> sin-het-quf to tsade-
> het-quf (laugh/joy).  These point to tsade being realized as an emphatic s. 
> sound.
> 3) Loprieno claims that the phoneme for /c/ (IPA) is used to represent the
> Semitic/Hebrew phoneme /ts/ which was represented in Semitic/Hebrew
> by Samekh.  t_ is the usual representation of this /c/ (IPA) phoneme,
> which is an italicized underlined lowercase t.  This has nothing to do with
> tsade.

That is because Loprieno evidenty still believes that /T/  and G47 represent 
the same sound.  What he means by underlined t is what we usually write as 
/T/.  Well--maybe he is right--if there was no appreciable difference between 
samekh and tsade in ancient times!

> You wrote:
> > But I don't see /T/ being used for
> > "ts" in the orthography, the transliteration of Semitic terms. 
> and
> > Anyway, in the writing of Semitic words, /T/
> > represents samekh, NOT tzade--so that certainly must be taken into 
> > consideration.
> I think I have to read these two together.  [ts] is meant to be the phonemic
> value for samekh, not tsade.  When writing the Semitic loanword sopher,
> Egyptians would use the signs that had the phoneme /c/.  And apparently,
> that makes perfect sense with your /T/ (second statement).

If you belief that "sofer" was vocalized "tsofer" in ancient times--then the 
glove fits.
Otherwise not.  

> > But G47 (also not easy to
> > draw) and T13 always co-existed, and it is now clear that G47 was a bi-
> > literal sign, that is representing both a consonant and a vowel--which is 
> not 
> > true of /T/.  G47 was either "zi" or "tzi".  
> Perhaps G47 was used at least for /z./ (underdotted z), if not also for
> /s./ and /d./?  Anyhow, I tried to look up modern grammars of Egyptian.  At
> the most they allowed that perhaps Egyptian had syllabic structures although
> these were used mostly for foreign words.

They were always used--because that is the only system the Egyptians had.  
They didn't have a separate way of writing foreign words.  You see, when I write 
the term "sofer" with Latin characters [or let it be the lower case English 
alphabet], I have only one way of doing it--within the English graphic system.  
The Egyptians didn't put dots or dashes under or above their glyphs--needless 
to say.  If they knew what a Semitic term sounded like, they just used 
whatever glyph they had that was comparable--that is, using its value at that time.  
You will recall my having written that the value of certain signs changed 
over time.  Could they always render the Semitic sounds exactly?  Perhaps not.  
When I write the French term "mur", I can't give its proper vocalization, 
either, or do anything to indicate how it is supposed to be pronounced.  Not on 
this keyboard!

  It pointed out there is a debate > on this issue.  I wasn't able to 
> understand where I could find T13 and G47, 
> since all of what I looked at used different ways to represent the various
> hieroglyphs.  If G47 is used for /z./ it would make sense with the above, in
> your attempt to transcribe it as "zi" or "tzi".  (Again /z./ is
> neither.  It's an
> emphatic z).  And T13 would be /c/, which is used to transcribe the Semitic 
> phoneme [ts], written with a samekh.  Again, I can't follow your signs
> further because I have no idea what G47 and T13 are.
> 5) Scholars of biblical hebrew don't have it much easier.  While they have
> a fully vocalized text, the text during first temple period times was
> written differently and sounded differently.  Sometimes, words were
> misinterpreted.  Trying to work back from the text as it was vocalized today
> to the text as it was written, understanding when it was misinterpreted and
> how it was originally supposed to be read is harder than you think.
> I am not (yet) a scholar of biblical hebrew or studies.  That is why I try 
> to
> base myself on strong foundations when I write something.  And when I
> guess, even an educated guess, to note that.

You know, I can't understand why current philologists in Egyptian language 
find it so hard to believe there may have been something like "th" in AE.  
Certainly, some Arabic dialects have it, so it's not as though it were something 
totally unheard of in the east.  So, in looking at /T/, they search for another 
explanation--"ts", ch [as in church], whatever.  I have seen all the "educated 
guesses" since the day of Champollion and, trust me, they certainly do vary.  

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