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

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Fri Jan 27 13:57:35 EST 2006


In modern Hebrew, as I understand it, there is little 
difference between the pronunciation of a final alep, he 
and ayin. Even a final chet is often lost.

But as I postulate, these letters are all consonants that are 
followed by vowels. Alep I believe is mainly a place holder 
for a vowel, as part of a diphthong. Ayin a full glottal stop. 
A final he is a consonant followed by a voiced vowel. As 
such, $M) [Aramaic for "the name"], $MH [her name] and 
$M( [rumor] have different pronunciations, whereas from 
the way I was taught in class, they all had the same.

(Rochelle Altman mentioned that the Masoretes had tin 
ears, could that be a reason that they and their followers 
did not distinguish these sounds? Would that also account 
for their losing other sounds such as the unaccented 
shewa after the L in MLKY ?)

As for what was the original final vowel, I don't know. I 
somewhat doubt that it was a -u sound, but I may be 
wrong (as I have been on other matters).

In closing, as I said in my last message, I am not 100% 
convinced of this theory myself, just that the evidence, 
as I see it, seems to point in this way.

Karl W. Randolph.

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Yitzhak Sapir" <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com>
> On 1/26/06, Karl Randolph wrote:
> >  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.
> Ayin does not need to "end with a vowel sound" to be
> recognizable.  What words of the reconstructed forms of
> segholate words (as accepted by comparative linguistics
> of Semitic) -- malku, sipru, qud$u -- are hard to pronounce
> if bgdkpt only had "hard" sounds?  In which position is an
> Ayin (either ayin or ghayin) or He not pronouncable?  In
> which position would an Aleph not be recognizable?
> Yitzhak Sapir

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