[b-hebrew] CV syllables, was music in Hebrew

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Thu Jan 26 17:01:39 EST 2006


 Herman:

For me, it was when I started reading Tanakh without 
points, that I started questioning the BGDKPT consonants, 
whether or not they have "hard" and "soft" sounds. But if 
they have only hard sounds, then there are many words 
that would be impossible to pronounce without an 
intervening vowel. Other evidences include letters like 
eyin and alep, in order to be recognizable, would have 
had to end with a vowel sound.

As for what was the original pronunciation, we are just 
guessing. But taking certain presuppositions, such that 
word stress falls on the penultimate syllable, we get 
results that suggest that, for example, the original 
pronunciation of the name "Rivka" could have been 
"Rebeqahe" with the final "e" being an unaccented shewa 
that was early swallowed, sort of like the short "u" in many 
modern Japanese words. The same happened with 
masculine words, such as "meleke" changing to "melekh" 
in modern pronunciation.

In no way do I claim that the matter is settled, and if you or 
others disagree with me, it is no skin off my teeth. I'm not 
100% convinced of it myself. But at this time it seems to 
make better sense of how to read the consonantal text 
than the complex system passed down through the 
Masoretes.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Herman Meester" <crazymulgogi at gmail.com>
> 
> I've been following this discussion, not always fully understanding it.
> When the idea is discussed that Hebrew had, originally, only CV
> syllables, what exactly does one mean by that?
> Take segolates such as שמש shemesh, usually assumed to have a
> *shamsh(u) original, or מלך melekh, usually said to "derive of" /have
> an original pronunciation *malk(u), how do words like these fit in the
> CV-only picture?
> Thanks,
> Herman
> 


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