[b-hebrew] Was Schewa really silent?

Dr Raoul Comninos capechurch at gmail.com
Fri Aug 31 12:43:55 EDT 2007


The most useful article I have read on the shewa is by William
Chomsky: "THE PRONUNCIATION OF THE SHEWA". I can email a copy to
anyone interested in reading it. In it, he argues principally against
the notion that shewa is vocal after a long vowel. It IS vocal,
according to the article:

* at the beginning of a word
* after another shewa
* under a consonant doubled by a dagesh
* under the first of two like consonants

However, it is not vocal in the middle of a word, not even even after
a long vowel. That a shewa IS so pronounced is, according to Chomsky,
the incorrect view of David Kimhi.

I have noted a number of theoretical posts on shewa, but have rarely
found any concrete guidance, the form of which a student can take and
actually use in pronunciation. Many seem to me to suggest that the
conventional wisdom reflected in Hebrew grammars is wrong, but then
offer no alternative.

On 8/30/07, JAMES CHRISTIAN READ <JCR128 at student.anglia.ac.uk> wrote:
> Hi all,
>
> recent discussions have reminded me of a point which I
> have never really fully resolved in my mind. The whole
> point of the Massoretic pointing system was to preserve
> the pronunciation by introducing *non ambiguous*
> representation of vowels.
>
> Why would the massoretes betray this goal by giving
> the point which represents Schewa a dual role? And so,
> I guess what I'm really asking is, is there any real
> evidence that Schewa was used by the Massoretes to
> close a syllable rather than to represent a vowel?
>
> -------------------------------------------------------
> -------------------------------------------------------
>
> James Christian Read - BSc Computer Science
> http://www.lamie.org/hebrew       -  thesis1: concept driven machine translation using the Aleppo codex
> http://www.lamie.org/lad-sim.doc  -  thesis2: language acquisition simulation
>
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-- 
Dr Raoul Comninos
93 Wagenaar Street
Monte Vista
7460
South Africa
capechurch at gmail.com
Fax: (086) 6544615



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