[b-hebrew] About Dagesh's

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jun 17 00:16:02 EDT 2008

Dear Issac,

I know that you think that linguistics is not a science, but one could say 
the same about nature - who cares why the sun rises in the east and sets in 
the west? The less we know the better. The purpose of "pure" theoretical 
science is to satiate our human curiosity about the world around us. Humans 
are a part of that world - that's why we study history, anthropology and 
social sciences (Yes, I know there are differnce in practice and in 

The study of linguistics is meant to explain how languages develop and 
"work". But they also shape future development: once somebody, be it the 
masoretes, Medieval grammarians, Gesenius or Ben-Yehudah, codify the rules 
in order to explain existing phenomona, those rules are then taken as "fact" 
and influence (or: limit) further development. Understanding the development 
of the Dagesh's and of the BGDKPT rules is interesting to some (and who ever 
is not intersted need not particpate in this thread). However they are a 
part of the Hebrew language as it has existed since the mesoretes, and 
that's the only REAL Hebrew we have. A few year ago, the Hebrew Language 
Academy "floated" the idea of officially doing away with niqud, which is not 
really used in most Hebrew writing anyway. The outcry was tremendous. Even 
though most Israelis hated learning the rules and don't really remember 
them, they do feel that they are a part of their language.

I, BTW, certainly do "hear" (or maybe it's "feel") the Dagesh Hazaq in daily 
speach. That could be because I know that it's there.

Yigal Levin

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Isaac Fried" <if at math.bu.edu>
To: "Yakov Hadash" <yakov.hadash at gmail.com>
Cc: "b-hebrew Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 6:06 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] About Dagesh's

> Yakov,
> Allow me to write V for a soft bet, and B for a hard. Also, F for a
> soft pe and P for a hard. Recall also that $ is shin.
> So we have in Hebrew DAVAR, 'thing, word', but also DABAR, 'leader,
> speaker'. We have NAFAX, 'blew', but also NAPAX, 'blacksmith'.
> I do not know why there is a dagesh in the middle radical of the piel
> form, but does it practically matter now if we write NI$EK, 'kissed',
> without a dagesh in the $? Those who pretend to read it NI$-$EK
> delude themselves. I think that BK"P became hard thereby only
> incidentally, but now we are stuck with this phenomenon and need to
> say DIBER, not DIVER.
> Look at the word KAF, 'palm of the hand'.  'My hand' is KAPI. Why is
> the pe now dgusha? Because, say the grammar books, the word is from
> the root KPP. So what? Does this have to turn an F into a P?
> Conclusion: The less you explain the better off you are.
> Isaac Fried, Boston University
> On Jun 16, 2008, at 9:43 PM, Yakov Hadash wrote:
>> On Jun 16, 2008, at 8:11 PM, Isaac Fried wrote:
>>> We will need to keep the dot, the "dagesh qal", in the letters
>>> bet, kaf, pe to distinguish between their "hard" and "soft"
>>> manifestation. Otherwise, the dagesh is redundant in plain speech.
>> Yeah but you didn't address my issue.
>> Without the dagesh hazak, there is no way of explaining a lot of
>> confusing issues with vocalizing Hebrew, especially with פיעל
>> and התפעל, which have dagesh hazak as part of the stem.
>> Do you want people to just not be able to know why there's a noun
>> "davar" and a verb "medabber" (and not "davar" and "medaver")?
>> YH.
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew


No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 8.0.100 / Virus Database: 270.3.0/1505 - Release Date: 16/06/2008 

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list