[b-hebrew] About Dagesh's

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Jun 19 19:42:56 EDT 2008


Yaakov,

I don't know what caused B to turn to V, and P to turn to F, maybe  
the Hebrews fell in love with the dainty Greek way of speech. I  
notice that what is called 'grave' in English is said 'Grab' in  
German, which they also call 'Gruft', which we in turn call 'crypt'.
Notice the curious rendering in Exodus 2:21 of Σεπϕωραν  
[Sepforan] by the LXX for ZIPORAH the wife of Moses. It has a P and  
an F! See it for yourself at
http://titus.fkidg1.uni-frankfurt.de/texte/etcs/grie/sept/sept.htm
Unfortunately, I know nothing about the Horite language.
My point is that the dgeshim plus nikud is an amalgamation of  
differently purposed marking systems. To try and figure out the  
intention of the dgeshim we should, methinks, look at a text striped  
of all nkudot, with only the inner dots left, in order to restore it  
to the way it possibly appeared to the Torah readers before Ben- 
Asher's invention. Such dots are not needed [and would certainly not  
be permitted] today as every congregant has a well punctuated book  
placed in front of him, and is ready and eager to pounce on the  
public reader at the smallest provocation. It is testimony to the  
intricacy of biblical Hebrew that even experienced readers keep  
erring in the vocalization of the text, but I know one reader who  
will never make a mistake.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jun 19, 2008, at 4:27 AM, Yaakov Stein wrote:

>
>> 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.
>
> Isaac,
>
> I quite agree that in spoken language we can forget about the idea  
> that
> dagesh doubles the letter
> (although I try to emphasize this when reading tora).
> Similarly, we can forget about the shva na and nax distinction  
> (with the
> same remark).
>
> What was never clear to me was WHY the dagesh changes some of the
> BGDKPT letters in the way is does.
>
> What is the connection between the B and V sound ?
> Between the P and F ?
>
> It would be much easier to understand if the P became B
> or the F became V by adding voicing (as a strenghtening).
>
> Do you have any ideas why these particular couples are related ?
>
> I heard several years ago in a lecture on Semitic languages that
> these dagesh letter changes were probably brought in from the
> Horite language, which has many more such combinations.
> Do you know anything about that ?
>
> Yaakov (J) Stein
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