[b-hebrew] Past tense with gutterals

Daniel Glas dannyams at aol.com
Thu Jun 5 18:59:32 EDT 2008

Yes, in the standard Modern Hebrew pronunciation they sound the same - nata
and nata. This is because they don't pronounce the shwa na in nat'ah
(feminine form) , distinguish between the patah and kamatz, nor distinquish
between the ayin and hei (silent).


Also, the correct form in Modern Hebrew IS bahara, though many native
speakers WOULD say it without the A, as I've experienced. You're right,
technically the heth is a guttural, but it's not pronounced as such in
Modern Hebrew; rather it's pronounced like the velar fricative khaf. The
subtle A sound was there to begin with to facilitate the guttural sound with
a shwa na (hataf patah is regarded as a shwa na). But since the heth is not
pronounced as a guttural nor is the shwa na pronounced, the A effectively
has no real function anymore in modern Hebrew. That might be why many
pronounce it without since there's no practical reason why is should be any
different than akhla ("ate" - with a khaf). I've heard many say shohtim (no
A sound).


In the case of the ayin and alef, however, which both have the same sound
(or lack thereof), i.e. silent, the vowel sound cannot so easily be omitted.


Hope this helps.





Daniel Glas

Brooklyn, NY





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