[b-hebrew] Meteg and Shva Na/Nah

Yodan yodan at yodanco.com
Wed Dec 3 01:05:06 EST 2008

Thanks, Yitzhak. 


Do you know if what you wrote was also the view of medieval Sephardi
grammarians like Radak and others?  


The reason I'm asking is that Tanakh editions that use different symbols for
Shva Na and NaH (like Tanakh Simanim) specifically use a Shva Na (mobile)
symbol for the Shva in the example you quoted (e.g. Genesis 11:3), whereas
you say (if I understand correctly) that this Shva is NaH (quiescent). 










-----Original Message-----

From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Yitzhak Sapir

Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 9:13 PM

To: b-hebrew

Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Meteg and Shva Na/Nah


On Tue, Dec 2, 2008 at 10:55 PM, Rivka Sherman-Gold wrote:

> There seems to be a controversy over the use of a meteg in Masoretic

> manuscripts. I know this is a complicated topic and not all about it is

> clear and agreed by all. My specific question is related to a meteg under

> letter that is followed by a letter that has a Shva. What is the

> view - that the Masoretes intended to use this meteg to indicate that the

> following Shva is a Shva Na OR that that Masoretes did not intend to

> indicate anything about the following Shva (even though in most cases this

> happens to be a Shva Na)? Or are there other views?


The meteg, better known as a ga(ya, has nothing directly to do with the

following schwa.  It generally marks secondary stress on syllables that

are not otherwise marked by a conjunctive accent.  Secondary stress

may be marked either by a conjunctive accent, a ga(ya, or not marked

at all.  In any case, secondary stress is part of the word's pronunciation

and should always be pronounced whether or not it is marked.  A long

vowel separated from the main vowel by a schewa takes secondary

stress and hence may be marked by a ga(ya.  However, the schewa in

such cases is quiescent.  For example: [vay-,yo:m-'ru:] -- more accurately

pronounced [vay-,yo-om-'ru-u].  It is the breaking up of the syllables

into [yo-om]) -- part of the cantillation process -- which allows [yo] to

the secondary stress.  Ga(yot come of two types -- those on open syllables,

"major ga(yot", and those on closed syllables, "minor ga(yot."  There was

more consistency and agreement between the Masoretes about the

marking of minor ga(yot.


Yitzhak Sapir


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