[b-hebrew] Why Semitic languages had no written vowels?

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Tue May 3 14:54:04 EDT 2005

> And that is a major problem with Vadim's theory - the evidence points
> strongly to a 3 vowel system - i, a, u - which is not easily derived from
> simply 'a', as the intermediate steps of 'e' and 'o' simply didn't exist.

Do not exist? Did not gadOl exist before gdula? Did not dibEr exist before
dibarti? Did not Masoretic epenthetic hirek appear from segol-like schwa
movable, which is short ae? Or do you doubt that second hirek in hifil is a
remnant of tzere, the original second vowel in all verb stems?

> That in itself is not a major problem, as one vowel [probably schwa] is
theoretically possible, but
> why reproduce it centuries later when there were obviously more vowels?

Why Jews cling to Orthodox Judaism when Reconstructionism is more practical?
Tradition. Language was considered no less sacred than religion.

> IF no vowel symbols in a writing system indicates the presence of only one
> vowel, then surely when there are more vowels the system would change?

Did English change to accommodate French vowels or ch, ph?

> While NW Semitic had far fewer vowels - perhaps only 6 at the time the
alphabet was
> developed

That seems out of question to me. Short vowels appeared because of the stops
(dageshes) introduced by Masoretes. No speech could possibly distinguish
short and long vowels consistently over millennia. Short/ long difference is
more characteristic of chanting.

Vadim Cherny

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