[b-hebrew] root pronunciation query

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Fri Nov 10 00:09:57 EST 2006

On 11/10/06, Leslie Train wrote:
> In Hosea 14.6, how is the word for 'its roots' to be pronounced? The
> singular root has a short o under the first -sh-, but it would appear
> that in the plural the vowel changes to a qamets gadol. Is it
> analogous to 'head' - o vowel in the singular, and qamets in the
> plural, or should it have a qamets qatan under the first 'sh, and be
> pronounced shorashim?

This isn't analogous to "head".  In "head", the word was originally with
an "a" vowel that was lengthened because of the aleph:
*ra?$ -> *ra:?$, and the plural *ra?a$i:m or *ra:?a$i:m
With the Canaanite Shift, a: > o:
*ro:?$, and perhaps ro:?a$i:m
This is why the plural did not get a holam but a qamats that is the
result of the two vowels besides the aleph merging together.  In
the singular too, the aleph eventually fell.

However, the word for "root" had an "u" vowel:
*$ur$, and the plural $ura$i:m
It is equivalent to the word "holy", *qud$ and *quda$i:m
Look at the word qɔdɔ:'$ɔ:w (where ɔ = qamats).  When
the first syllable of this word takes a secondary stress,
a full qamats is used as in the ,$ɔ:rɔ:'$ɔ:w example you

Qamats always had the same sound,  a sound akin to but
not exactly an o like sound ([ɔ]), the vowel in the word
"bought".  So the word should be pronounced "$oro$im" in
the plural, "$oro$ow" when suffixed the pronoun, where "o"
here is the "ou" vowel in "bought".  The only difference from
the hataf-qamats form is that the hataf-qamats form is a
short vowel, but the secondary stress form is rather a long

Yitzhak Sapir

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