[b-hebrew] About Dagesh's

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Wed Jun 18 19:56:51 EDT 2008

It is conceivable that the dagesh in middle radical of the piel and  
the pual forms are just vestiges of a hinting system preceding the  
nikud. I can imagine the public Torah reader or the local teacher  
placing a discreet central dot, pertaining to the entire word, in,  
say, the B of $BR of Exodus 9:25
ואת כל עשב השדה הכה הברד ואת כל עץ השדה  
in order to remember to read it $IBER and not $ABAR.
Similarly, a dot was placed in the B of TB(U of Exodus 15:4
ומבחר שלשיו טבּעו בים סוף
to remember to read it as TUB(U, not TAB(U.
The nakdanim incorporated this hinting system in the nikud and the  
result is what we have today.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jun 16, 2008, at 11:06 PM, Isaac Fried wrote:

> 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.
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