[b-hebrew] silent schewa v. vocal schewa

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Wed Aug 10 19:48:23 EDT 2005

On 10/08/2005 23:12, Yigal Levin wrote:

>  ----- Original Message ----- 
>  From: Bearpecs at aol.com 
>  To: leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il 
>  Sent: Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:33 PM
>  Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] silent schewa v. vocal schewa
>  In a message dated 8/10/2005 4:03:22 PM Eastern Daylight Time, leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il writes:
>    c. precceeds a long vowel
>  Don't you mean "follows" a long vowel?
>  Oops. Yes, you're right.
But I understand that this rule is controversial, that some consider 
that a sheva following a long vowel may be silent. Thus for example the 
sheva in K.FT:BFH "she wrote" may be silent, even though the first 
qamats is a long "a" sound. But can anyone explain which is correct?

It seems strange to me that the Masoretes apparently used the same sign 
for two different sounds. So I wonder if for them all shevas were more 
or less silent, so there was no real distinction. I know this would lead 
to some apparently difficult to pronounce word initial consonant 
clusters, but then some languages e.g. Russian, Georgian allow a very 
wide range of initial consonant clusters - and this may explain why 
sheva is not placed under "gutturals", especially word initially, but is 
replaced by a hataf vowel.

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

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