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

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sun Jan 29 08:00:48 EST 2006

On 1/27/06, Karl Randolph wrote:
> Yitzhak:
> 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.

The "final chet" is not often lost in modern Hebrew.  It is never
lost.  In Modern Hebrew, there is technically "officially" a
difference between aleph and ayin.  But in practice, many
speakers do not pronounce it and view its pronounciation
negatively.  Speakers of Spanish or Oriental descent do
pronounce the Ayin.  In any case, Modern Hebrew has no
genetic relation to any earlier form of Hebrew but is a
resurrected language.

It is agreed by everyone, speakers of Modern Hebrew,
Orientals, Spanish European, Rabbis, Torah Readers, that
the Ayin was originally pronounced differently.  Because
those "who make Ayins into Alephs" are criticized in the
Talmud we can learn that the Talmud Rabbis viewed the
authentic form as different, but had to cope with Readers
who already had lost the different pronounciation.

> 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.

Well, "$M)" is not Modern Hebrew.  "$M(" is not "Modern
Hebrew" for rumor.  However, in Modern Hebrew, (in practice)
"her name" and "hear!" (m. sg.) are pronounced the same.

It might also be the same in authentic Torah readings
depending on the pronounciation of the schewa, heh, and
ayin, but in any case is a development and is agreed by
all those who read the Torah to have lost what was originally
a different pronounciation.

> (Rochelle Altman mentioned that the Masoretes had tin
> ears, could that be a reason that they and their followers
> did not distinguish these sounds?

I don't know.  What are tin ears and how does Rochelle
Altman intend to support her claims of such?

> 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).

The -u is used for reproducing the reconstructed case ending
for nominative.  Other case endings include -a and -i.  By
saying "*malku" was the original, no one intends to say that
the last vowel was definitely -u in all cases.

> 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.

Well, as far as I saw you haven't quoted any evidence yet.
For example, in sentences such as "Other evidences include
letters like eyin and alep, in order to be recognizable, would
have had to end with a vowel sound.", you are calling personal
opinions and incorrect data "evidence."

Yitzhak Sapir

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