[b-hebrew] Translating - some elementary questions

Bob MacDonald bobmacdonald at shaw.ca
Sun Oct 1 14:24:29 EDT 2006


Thank you for this very helpful lift over a few barriers.

1) Lambdin (p 200) did not list the construct plural as eyney but as eynot;
though he shows eyn (ayin- .. - yod - nun) as a construct singular (is that
.. a reduced segol? .. instead of ...); the .. yod that follows the nun
perhaps is just missing from Lambdin's list, a misprint or oversight, or is
it helping to join to the following word like an elision in English?

I suspect also that the vowel pointing is much later than the original
poetry. To what extent is 'such pointing' an overlay of tradition? And
perhaps an overlay inviting a controlled response to the poetry... (Not that
there should not be some controls - even the poet would allow that.)

2) Your transcriptions here will take me some more time to fathom. 

I have written a very simple function in my database (Oracle PL/SQL) to
transliterate the letters in sequence as the program sees them in the Hebrew
(I am using an old form of HTML with codes in the 1400 series). [see below
my signature if anyone is interested or has a better algorithm].

Again here the construct eluded my defocussed eye. Will I find a construct
wherever there are two adjacent nouns? This form of concatenation seems very
powerful and semantically suggestive. The question occurs to me that, the
pointing being late, the original poet must have been expressing a
relationship between nouns that is known from their sequence and the
concatenation + suffix changes would tip the reader/hearer to the construct
even without the pointing.

3) 'To them' How simple! And here I was looking up a root LHM! :)

4) Lambdin calls the distinction qamats and qamats hatup 'a' vs 'o' and he
says something in the pre-lesson (p XXVI) about using 'o' for a closed,
unaccented syllable. [tricky to tell the computer where the accent is!]
I can't find qamatz qatan in Lambdin at the moment. 

This morning an American reader in a Canadian church pronouncing the word
'duty' - is it diuty or dooty or even doody? Save me from vowel points! 

Re )eth )owkhlowm, - I missed the obvious again!

Yitzhak: Read it through, looking up the examples. Study the grammar as a
whole first, and then go on to reading.

Bob: I got stuck at lesson 10 three years ago much as a reader of the Bible
will get stuck in Leviticus the first time through. I find I must both read
to learn and learn to read - it is a terrible catch-22; but I need both
hands to crawl through the water - and I need to come up for air too or I
will drown.

- thanks again for all the advice - very helpful indeed.


Bob MacDonald
Victoria BC

The interpretation of the sequence of pointing is too subtle for a computer
but it is a start to consistency and I can refine the algorithm as I go. I
am at a 60% solution and might move closer to 80% as I understand better. I
could implement the one on the list page (http://www.ibiblio.org/bhebrew/)
directly - perhaps I would run less risk of destroying information if I did 

My current algorithm (reduced from many lines in sequence)
-Upper case for unambiguous 1-1 letter mappings for consonants; except 't'
for Tet, 'th' for Taw without the dagesh, lower case bgdkp for equivalent
without dagesh. ç for samek, ts for tsadeh; SH for shin;  
-Upper case vowels for what I thought were unambiguous vowels - but there is
more ambiguity than I thought 
-lower case for other vowels and non-doubled consonants

I am not happy with () or ' for the gutturals in case they might make
searching difficult. My first intent is to do a multi-point scatter diagram
by Psalm and vocabulary - even with only 8 psalms in the database, there is
some pattern emerging and I think I will see many patterns that will help
understand if there are any macro structures in the Psalter that would give
evidence of the editorial hand(s).

I would like to be able to derive root usage also - but the variations in
prefix and suffix and spellings make this difficult to imagine... 

I think I would welcome collaboration in this project - and I am very
grateful for the helps over the first hurdles and the encouragement of many.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list