[b-hebrew] Hataf qames / qames

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Oct 18 17:32:54 EDT 2006

On 10/18/06, Christopher V. Kimball wrote:

> Is the hataf qames always pronounced with an "o" sound?
> Why did the Masoretes choose a single vowel, qames, to represent either
> an "ah" sound or (for a non-accented, closed syllable) an "o" sound?

The Tiberians did not have two sounds for that vowel.  The qames was
always pronounced as an aw sound.  The hataf was added to denote that
the syllable is open even though the vowel is short.  In other cases it is added
to denote that the schewa is mobile and should not be confused with a
quiescent schewa.

Yitzhak Sapir

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