[b-hebrew] Ayin and Ghayin

Read, James C K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk
Thu Oct 6 20:58:05 EDT 2005

Erm, I haven't personally read the massorah but from all those that 
have read it or portions of it I gather that the hebrew it contains 
is more than blatantly evidently much more modern in style and word 

On the matter of the number of phonemes, while I haven't studied the 
matter deep enough to formulate an opinion I do think the owness of 
proof is rather on us to prove Karl wrong in this matter than vice 
versa. The reason for this is clear. The unpointed text uses 22 
characters. In general, when languages invent a system of recording 
its sounds they try to use one character per sound. English is a great 
exception to this rule but to be frank, the English writing system is 
the bastardised product of countless conquests against our little 
fertile (and very wet) island. And so examples of English betrayal of 
this pattern would be completely irrelevant.
So, for this reason, unless we are to present convincing internal 
evidence to Karl that such was not the case, he is more than justified 
in believing that the consonants used in the hebrew text of the torah 
represent the whole range of the consonants that its author/s were 
capable of pronouncing.

There again we would do well to ask ourselves a few questions:

Where did moses learn to write hebrew?
In egypt he would have used hyroglyphs (please feel free to correct the spelling)
Did Abraham, Isaac & Jacob write? Did they learn to write from their 
Chaldean routes? Was the hebrew that Abraham spoke different to the 
hebrew that Moses spoke? Archaic yhwh seems to suggest that this was so.
Did moses learn to write hebrew in Egypt as part of his royal education?
Or did he learn it from his time with Jethro and the sheep?
Was the ability to write a sign of education? Or could all hebrews write?
Did the hebrews he left Egypt with help him to learn how to write as he had always 
read and written Egyptian prior?

On the matter of sin/shin I think Karl has good reason to believe these represented 
one sound. Take for example the English 'u' (I know, I am now officially a 
hypocrite).Not so long ago Peter said that English 'u' is like a russion 'a'.
Well, not for me it isn't! For me there is no difference between the 
'u' of run and the 'u' of bull. For Peter, they are two different phonemes 
and the 'u' of Peter's run is similar to my 'a' of ran. Estuary English goes 
the whole hog and I cannot distinguish the difference between my 'ran' 
and their 'run' and therefore have to rely on context to understand if they 
are referring to the past or the present. While this is an extreme example 
it does show how with time and dialectal differences, how one character can 
come to represent two phonemes when at one time in the history of the language 
it only represented one sound.

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