[b-hebrew] Masoretes Ears ( was - verb forms etc.)

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 19 14:31:32 EDT 2007


  Isaac, 
    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!
   
   Uri
   
  

Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu> wrote:
  Uri,

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
>
> speculation.
>
> Uri
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
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