[b-hebrew] Translating - some elementary questions

Vadim Cherny VadimCherny at mail.ru
Wed Oct 4 13:41:05 EDT 2006

> > The difference with the MT could be explained: we just read the MT
> > incorrectly. Vocalization in suffixes is trailing (like under het), not
> > lagging.
> No, it's not.
> > The Masoretes meant to read dvarac, we just erroneously read
> > dvarcha.
> We know this is not erroneous from the DSS which spell these words
> with a final he.

But plenty transliterations spell just the opposite, -ac/-ec.
Transliterations, significantly, come from several places, and so we know
that -ac/-ec is not an isolated dialect. Colloquial
transformation -ac -> -ca is likely, the opposite transformation is
I don't recall, do you? are there instances of mater lectionis hey for
leading vowel (like in liphtoah) in the DSS?

> > That explains absence of dagesh kal in the suffix consonant in MT:
> > dvarcha rather than the expected dvar.ca with interconsonantal stop,
> > kal.
> Then why does the masculine ending on verbs, -ta have a dagesh?

Dagesh kal is interconsonantal stop
(http://vadimcherny.org/hebrew/dagesh_stop.htm). Such stop is indispensable
in chanting, and the Masoretes wrote a chanting guide. So dagesh kal breaks
consonantal cluster in catav.ta, and we expect it in d'varcha (dvar.ca).
Absence of dagesh kal suggests reading dvarac rather than dvarcha.

> The real reason is that the fricativization of these letters occurred
> very early.  We have evidence it occurred already in the 5th century BCE.
By the time of the
> Massoretes, the rule that a bgdkpt letter is fricative after a vowel no
> applied, but in various words where this fricative rule applied and
> the vowel before the bgdkpt letter dropped later, the fricative sound

"Fricative-after-a-vowel" is incorrect with dagesh hazak (hitlAbbesh). The
underlying rule is different: syllable-initial consonants, and only they,
lose aspiration (to the upcoming vowel). Thus, the LXX Zi-lphAh. After the
Masoretes re-syllabified the words with dagesh kal, appeared Zil-pAh.
Similarly, ni-zchar gave way to the Masoretic niz-car.

> Take the word *malk- "king".  Originally, the plural had a long a: in the
> syllable.  Thus, the plural of "melekh" is "melakhim".  This used to be
the case in the construct
> form: "mala:khe".  However, when the second a: dropped, the word remained
> "malkhe".

Absolutely not. Segholates appeared in the initial stress shift, calAv -
cAlav - cal'v -cal.b
Thus, m'lachim, c'lavim and other segholates shorten just like any other
davar noun: d'varim.
The form malchei is not just plural, but specifically plural constructus.
Thus, there are two accent shifts and two reductions: m'lachIm -
m'l'chei-israEl. In line with the Masoretic notion of expanding word-initial
double schwa: m'l'chei - mal'chei. Normally the Masoretes introduced hirek
(d'v'rei - div'rei), but in malchei they preferred patah perhaps based on
the segholate form malc.

> The verbal suffixes had no vowel before them ever.


> However, the noun suffixes had a vowel before them.  This was the case
ending.  While
> the case ending was eventually lost, the "-ka" suffix remained fricative.

Case endings were lost centuries before the attested  -ac/-ec suffixes.
Centuries-old etymology couldn't determine the current (for the Secunda)

Vadim Cherny

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