[b-hebrew] reading unpointed Hebrew

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Nov 25 02:21:09 EST 2006


In my case, I did not wake up one day deciding to read without points,
rather, as I became more familiar with Hebrew, I gradually started
ignoring the points, then I took to covering the points below the
letters with a card finding that by removing the clutter it made the
text easier to read. When I switched to electronic texts on a
computer, it was a small step to take a completely unpointed text.

Because of my dyslexia, I was already used to using context to
anticipate the correct meanings of words, therefore, problems
mentioned by Isaac Fried of different meanings for the same spellings
are almost always resolved by context, and that usually before I read
the word itself. Only rarely do I have to stop and consciously analyze
a sentence in order to decipher its meaning. The most common reason
for stopping is to look up a word in a dictionary because I have
forgotten its meaning.

Karl W. Randolph.

On 11/24/06, Dr. Joel M. Hoffman <joel at exc.com> wrote:
> >Even then, I was taught that if I could learn to read Biblical Hebrew
> >without points, it would be a real plus. But I was also taught that
> >only the top scholars ever got good enough to be able to read an
> >unpointed text, and that we common readers would never get that good.
> >That was one of the lessons I forgot to follow.
> I do not think that reading (that is, understanding) unpointed Hebrew
> is significantly more difficult than reading pointed Hebrew, and, in
> fact, sometimes the vowels get in the way of clarity.  For example, in
> unpointed Hebrew, the prefix VAV means "and" (among other things), but
> in pointed Hebrew, that same prefix "and" can be, V', VA, VE, U, etc.
> Similarly, the relationship between MELEKH ("king") and MALKA
> ("queen") is transparently the same as that between KAXOL ("blue [m]")
> and K'XULA ("blue [f]") only without the vowels.
> -Joel
> Joel M. Hoffman, PhD
> http://www.exc.com/JoelHoffman

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