[b-hebrew] YHWH pronunciation

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Aug 1 19:56:31 EDT 2005

On 01/08/2005 19:23, Vadim Cherny wrote:

>>Just to clarify here, the root we are considering is conventionally
>>regarded as HWH but is in fact more correctly HWY (or perhaps HWW),
>>because the final he (which has no mappiq, so I my suggestion has no
>>problem with mappiq) is in fact not a pronounced he but a mater
>>lectionis replacing an original yod (or perhaps vav).
>Not impossible, but hardly a fact. I doubt ayn-ayn for hi or hw cell.
Well, it is a fact that in EVERY part of lamed-he verbs in which the 
final he is actually written, that he is a mater lectionis, as pointed 
by the Masoretes. For it is always word final, and never has mappiq. 
This of course excludes a small class of verbs where the third radical 
is an actual consonantal he, pointed with mappiq when word final - but 
HWH is not one of those verbs.

> ...
>Then aleph in Iao is unlikely to originate from schwa. Rather, Y- I, H- a,
>WH - o.
I never said it did arise from schwa. But I note that he (in biblical 
Hebrew), when not word final, NEVER represents an "a" sound, but always 
a pronounced consonant - as you recognise below apparently with your 
garbled "vcvv".

>>also the name of king Yehu' (Jehu), which is EIOU,
>>IHOU or IOU in Greek (H = eta) with no consonant replacing he.
>Here he survived, as you see, though mutilated. Undoubtedly, you recognize
>that similar pronunciation cannot make Iao out of ihie or ihwe.

Indeed. I never claimed that Iao is derived from anything like ihie or 
ihwe. Probably it is derived from the original form of the prefix of 
theophoric names, which was probably Yaho-, later shortened to Yeho- 
with a schwa.

>In my opinion, you unwarrantedly ignore a rare phonetic environment of YHWH,
>vcvv. ...

I don't understand this. The yod MUST be a consonant because ALL Hebrew 
words start with a consonant. The final he may be a consonant, but is 
probably silent. I accept that we cannot be sure a priori whether the 
vav was a vowel or a consonant. Also, I don't know of any cases in 
biblical Hebrew where -WH is used for a word final "o" sound - it is 
either W or H, but not both of them together. There are of course cases 
of -WH where the H is a consonant with mappiq and furtive patah e.g. the 
divine name Eloah [consonants: )LWH ]. And I accept that it is hard to 
rule out a pronunciation of the name Yehoah, 
yod-sheva-he-vav-holam-furtive patah-he-mappiq - especially as Iao might 
support this. On the other hand, there is evidence which I posted 
earlier today for a final -e vowel sound.

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

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