[b-hebrew] silent schewa v. vocal schewa

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Wed Aug 10 16:16:34 EDT 2005

Learners of Hebrew in the Jewish tradition are taught that a sheva is vocal
if it is:
a. at the beginning of a word
b. the second sheva in a sequence
c. precceeds a long vowel
d. on a letter with a dagesh
e. on the first of two letters that are either the same or phonetically
similar (this last is not an iron-clad rule, but takes practical
pronunciation into account).

Some Jewish prayer-books, especially those printed according to the
Sephardic or Middle-Eastern traditions, have taken to printing vocal sheva's
slightly larger, in order to make the proper pronunciation clearer.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Karl Randolph" <kwrandolph at email.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 5:05 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] silent schewa v. vocal schewa

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Read, James C" <K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk>
> >
> >
> > Hi b-he-brewers,
> >
> > I have another question for you which I have never had completely
> >
> > The schewa of she'ol is vocal right?
> > But the schewa of eh:yeh isn't,right?
> >
> > How do we know this?
> We don't.
> Our present pronunciation is our interpretation of
> Masoretic pointing. Masoretic pointing was invented long
> after Hebrew ceased to be spoken on the street as the
> everyday language (how long? that is a matter of dispute).
> More than one of us are convinced, and others allow that
> we may be right, that the pointing does not reflect the
> pronunciation used when Hebrew was spoken as a native
> language, but the lack of native speakers leaves that
> pronunciation a matter of speculation.
> Karl W. Randolph.
> -- 
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