[b-hebrew] music in Hebrew [was Re: Long: *Some* Bib for Bryan]

Rochelle Altman willaa at netvision.net.il
Thu Jan 26 09:32:01 EST 2006

At 02:20 AM 1/26/2006, Peter Kirk wrote:
>On 25/01/2006 17:18, Rochelle Altman wrote:.

>>Now, in the cases of "l-" and "b-", the MT allots the vowel to the 
>>particle instead of the consonant. Why? Because it is the same vowel 
>>phoneme. In fact, this allotment does not mean that the vowel attached to 
>>the aleph was not enunciated; it was. Look at the pronunciation: la do 
>>nai. It was merely subsumed into one phoneme.
>OK, we now agree: the pronunciation is not le-'a-do-nai but la-do-nai, 
>three syllables. But earlier you wrote in your "Final vowels added to all 
>C" version of Psalm 96 "le Adonai", which looks like four syllables to me. 
>My point was that this would have been pronounced la-do-nai, three 
>syllables, and you now seem to agree.

Yes, and no. I was quoting the MT. Before I was adding the extra vowels. 
According to the MT pointing, the vowel was apocopated by proximity. Hence, 
it was perceived as "la" and not "le"

>>Rhythmically, ADNI remained three syllables.
>>What I find interesting is that two examples of apocopated forms, final 
>>vowels lost, "l-" and "b-" are being used here to illustrate how Hebrew 
>>remained CV and never lost or reduced weak final vowels until the 
>>post-exilic period.
>Well, it is possible that these forms were apocopated or elided only at 
>the same time as or after the final short vowels were lost, but these are 
>distinct phonetic processes which did not necessarily took place at the 
>same time.

Extremely unlikely that vowels will be lost from different words at the 
same time -- with one exception: reformers decide that they write the rules. .

>>I said I had no intention of getting into this aspect; because the 
>>evidence denies that Hebrew, unlike darn near every other Semitic or IE 
>>language, never lost weak finals. The mechanisms of vowel loss are 
>>diverse. Note that when ADNI or YHVH stands alone, apparent aphaeresis 
>>does not occur.
>No one denies that Hebrew lost weak final vowels. The issue is, when? 
>Arabic also lost its weak final vowels, but only after the Qur'an was 
>written down. Hebrew lost its weak final vowels earlier. How much earlier? 
>We don't know. It had almost certainly lost them by the end of the Second 
>Temple period. But had it lost them before the time of the Babylonian 
>Exile? That question is not so easily answered.

Religious song is extremely conservative; the melodies constrain just how 
much can be added or subtracted and still retain the rhythm. Without a 
bilingual, we have no way to cross-check if and when changes occurred. We 
have a bilingual for the Psalms.

>>Syncope is the most common cause of apocopation in Semitic languages -- 
>>with the *second* vowel lost or reduced. Another very common mechanism is 
>>apocopation by proximity, that is, loss of a vowel phoneme because two 
>>vowels are perceptually the same. The apparent lack of vowel pointing for 
>>the alef is apocopation by proximity -- and the wrong consonant was 
>>assigned the vowel. In apocopation by proximity, it is the *first* vowel 
>>that is lost; not the second.
>Understood. But this is not a mistake, because the rules of Hebrew 
>pointing are that unpronounced consonants are not pointed, and that 
>unpointed consonants (except at word end, excluding he) are not 
>pronounced. So, for la-do-nai, it must be the silent alef rather than the 
>lamed which is unpointed, and so the lamed has to carry the vowel point.

Agreed, however, that's the way the Masoretes perceived it.

>>Well, Kimchi said that the Masoretes were no grammarians; it's pretty 
>>clear that they had tin ears, too.
>>I am sorry, I arrived at 1:00 am and have had to plow through more than 
>>700 messages -- I am too tired to continue right now. Hope I'm not too 
>>confusing in this note.
>Thank you for your attention. I'm not sure that I follow the relevance of 
>the Old English, but you make sense about the Hebrew.

The relevance of the Old English is that the Psalms are a translation from 
an old consonantal Hebrew vorlage -- and our bilingual. Information on when 
vowels phonemes were lost appears in the pre-exilic Psalms.

>Peter Kirk
>peter at qaya.org (personal)
>peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

Thank yuo for your intererst,

Rochelle Altman

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