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

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Fri Jan 27 12:21:11 EST 2006

On 27/01/2006 14:15, Herman Meester wrote:

> ...
>And the fact that our European languages are not reported to have an
>`ayin doesn't mean certain Semitic languages don't. The `ayin was not
>pronounced anymore by the Masoretes by the way, it was "replaced" with
>an /a/ sound, hence רוח is written with a "patach furtivum",
>pronounced [rua], not *ruach.

Possibly, but it is more probable that the furtive patah was inserted at 
a time when `ayin and het were pronounced as proper pharyngeals. For it 
is well known that pronunciation of a pharyngeal consonant, by 
withdrawing the tongue root, lowers the centre of the tongue and so 
changes a close vowel (i,e,u) into an open one, more of an a sound. At a 
later stage some speakers dropped the `ayin and started to pronounce the 
het differently. But the furtuve patah is evidence of the original 

>Even Dutch offers a parallel to Hebrew. In Hebrew, *malk(u) ~> *malk
>~> melekh. In Dutch, the word /melk/ (=Engl. milk) has led to the
>pronounciation [mèluk] (not written this way, only pronounced).
>Exactly the same thing. In several Arabic dialects, the "segolates"
>develop the same thing: a word like /dars/ is often pronounced
In some regional varieties of British English (not the glottal loving 
ones you described so well) "film" is pronounced like "fill 'em".

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

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