[b-hebrew] Segol etc.

Dr. Joel M. Hoffman joel at exc.com
Fri Oct 6 09:10:37 EDT 2006

>Segol is not a short tzere. Segol occurs in one and only one instance: in
>epenthesis (cotevt - cotevet, calb - celev, etc).

I do not think this is right.

For example, many words, such as Aleph-taf (accusative marker), are
pointed with tzere in isolation, and with segol when part of the
following word.

Similarly, final Heh is verbal forms is often preceded by segol
(ro'eh, yiv'neh, etc.), even though certainly there can be no
epenthesis at the end of a word.

>Segol, therefore, is a short indeterminate sound, sort of Russian ?
>or French apostrophe.

Even if segol were only epenthetic, the reasoning here would be
faulty.  The sound of an epenthetic vowel cannot be deduced from its
role in epenthesis.  Spanish has an epenthetic vowel /e/, while the
real epenthetic vowel in Hebrew is /i/.  (This is why we find
lishmu'el "to Samuel," for lshmu'el.)

>Short tzere and holam are patah, hirek, or shuruk. Consider hitlabEsh -
>hitlabAsh.ti, gadOl - gdUl.lA.

But again, hitlab[tzere]sh becomes hitlab[segol]sh before a maqaf.


Joel M. Hoffman, PhD

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