[b-hebrew] Ayin and Ghayin

Bill Rea bsr15 at cantsl.it.canterbury.ac.nz
Sun Oct 30 16:27:22 EST 2005

Dave wrote regardin the pronuciation of woman and women:-

>By your description, there would be no auditory difference between the
>singular and the plural, which is something I have never heard in all my

Languages do strange things over time. Here (New Zealand) many people
pronounce woman and women indistiquishably. This has occurred in the
last two decades. Some people persist with the wimin/woman distinction.
Another oddity is that brought and bought have exchanged meanings.
People use bought as the past tense of to bring and brought as the
past tense of to buy. This one has a longer history. I first heard it in
1971 in a single person. It is now widespread but not universal.
I call it the bought-brought disease.

It is my impression that Hebrew did not undergo these rapid changes
in pronunciation or meaning. My observation is that changes
accelerate with an in-flux of immigrants. In the time of the Hebrew
Bible the two periods where we would expect to see big changes would
be time in Egypt and the exile to Babylon. However, whatever it was
that Abraham and friends spoke, the editors have smoothed it all out
for us.

Bill Rea, IT Services, University of Canterbury \_
E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz               </   New
Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax  64-3-364-2332       /)  Zealand
Unix Systems Administrator                   (/'

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