[b-hebrew] Initial "Beged Kefet" consonants always have a...

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman joel at exc.com
Thu Oct 6 12:16:20 EDT 2005

>"Beged Kefet" letters (bet, gimmel, dalet, kaf, pe, tav) are letters 
>that change their pronunciation when they have a dagesh.
>According to a spelling rule: "Every time a Beged Kefet letter begins a 
>word, it has a dagesh."

The rule is better stated the other way around.  "Beged Kefet letters
lose their dagesh after a vowel unless they are doubled." 

"After a vowel" usually means "after a vowel in the same word."  In
Tanach, it also means "after a vowel in the previous word if the
previous word has a conjunctive trope mark."  In some religious
contexts, it also means "sometimes after a vowel in the previous

>The "word" in the above rule probably means a prosodic word so that in A 
>maqaf B the first letter in B wouldn't have a dagesh.

It's not a prosodic rule.  It's not hard to find examples in Tanach of
the same prosody with different trope types, and, hence, different
BEGED KEFET behavior.  The Masoretes invented this arbitrary
inter-word rule (and, actually, for all we know, invented the entire

None of these rules apply to most dialects of spoken Israeli Hebrew.

-Joel M. Hoffman

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