[b-hebrew] Masoretes Ears ( was - verb forms etc.)
uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 19 14:31:32 EDT 2007
The problem which you mention with the masoretes voweling
need not be. Precisely because they were dealing with sacred
texts, in a language which they no longer spoke, they wanted to
ascertain a secure transmission of such texts the way they heard
them read. Since they heard ATTAH, with an emphasis on the
Tav, they marked it accordingly. They did not consider it their
mission to analayze the reason for that. It so happens that in
many cases the reading tradition preserved and reflected
ancient linguistic developments. The relevance or lack of it,
as you put it, played no role in their work. And this example
applies to other cases you mentioned.
BTW they did have good ears - note the Hat(.)afim for what they
heard as semi-vowels in guttorals!
Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu> wrote:
You are right. Since school days I am being constantly reminded that
the Dagesh forte in the TAV of ATAH is to account for a "missing" or
"assimilated" NUN. But I have hard time accepting this. Is it
conceivable that the NAKDANIM would mar the sacred text for a reason
that is practically utterly irrelevant? Do we care as we read the
Torah that at some point AT was possibly ANT, and BAT was possibly
BANT? If I remember correctly this is also the reason given for the
Dagesh following MI- and HA-. Do you believe it? The speculation that
the discarded NUN did not go away quietly but rather left a faint
remainder in the form of a "slight emphatic pronounciation as still
heard in Masoretes time" is not easy for me to accept either.
Isaac Fried, Boston University
On Apr 18, 2007, at 9:53 AM, Uri Hurwitz wrote:
> Isaac Fried wrote, inter alia:
> "Uri, The relationship between Hebrew and Arabic is enigmatic
> and I am not prepared to be sucked now into this murky
> vortex. "...
> Arabic preserves many Proto-Semitic features which are
> common to all Semitic languages. Just one small example:
> Heb. ATTAH compared with Arab. ANTA. Notice the Dagesh
> forte in the Heb. Tav which compensates for the original Nun
> that had been there and is preserved in the Arabic. In Hebrew
> it was assimilated to the next letter, but marked its former
> presence by the slight emphatic pronounciation as still
> heard in Masoretes time and marked by them as a dagesh.
> To cite just one more example :the exact same process
> occurred in verbs. Notice the imperfect of NPL in Qal, where
> the Nun drops and is commpensated with a dagesh.
> As for the pre-historical devlopment of Semitic languages
> or human languages in general, this is the realm of sheer
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