[b-hebrew] About Dagesh's

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Jun 14 15:27:15 EDT 2008

2008/6/13 Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu>:
> Here are two instances of a dagesh having apparently the sole purpose
> of marking the first letter of a word; specifically, to warn against
> the moving of an U from the end of a word to the beginning of the next.
> 1. קוּמוּ צְּאוּ מִתּוֹךְ עַמִּי, Exodus
> 12:31, to prevent the reading QUM UC)U.
> 2. קוּמוּ סְּעוּ וְעִבְרוּ אֶת-נַחַל
> אַרְנֹן, Deuteronomy 2:24, to prevent the reading QUM US(U.

On these, see Yeivin, I. 1980. Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah. Atlanta:
Society of Biblical Literature. #407-408, "Conjunctive Dagesh in Other
Situations."  specifically, #408 (ii) After long vowels other than qames.
This section does not directly include your examples, but it does include
Gen 19:14, which Yaakov mentioned.

As to the origin of this dagesh, I would suggest it is a reflex of the
asseverative *l found across Semitic languages and discussed in
Testen, D.D. Parallels in Semitic Linguistics. The Development of Arabic la
and Related SemiticParticles(StSLL. 26), Leiden 1998.  While Testen does
not seem to provide any particular examples of *l with an imperative, he does
make the case it was a general asseverative/emphaticness marker in
early Semitic languages.  This meant, that *qwumu: lnsu(u: in Semitic
became qu:mu: ssu(u: in Masoretic Hebrew, that is: wu > u:, and the
triple consonant cluster lns > ss.  Thus, Gen 19:14, "Stand up! Verily
Go out!"

Yitzhak Sapir

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