[b-hebrew] need advice on Halevi

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Mon Dec 11 15:28:54 EST 2006

No less an authority on medieval Hebrew than Judah Halevi writes in Kuzari (Grammatical forms ch.80):

- qamats is  the longest U-sound
- holam is medium U-sound
- shuruk is the shortest [u]

- segol is short [a]. (That's consistent with the Babylonian system.)

- Tzere is long [i]
- Hirek is short [i].

Shewa always vocal.

Halevi's system is both Ashkenazi (qamats is [u]= unstressed [o]) and Babylonian (seghol is [a]).
Holam and tzere seem always unaccented (thus reduced to [u] and [i], respectively.)

What is the consensus about Halevi's phonology? Are the [i] and [u] transliterations of tsere and holam simply a matter of Arabic transliteration? How's the mix of Ashkenazi and the Babylonian phonology is explained?

Vadim Cherny

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