[b-hebrew] Beit/Veit

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Apr 23 09:38:13 EDT 2009


On Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 10:56 PM, Yodan <yodan at yodanco.com> wrote:

> Yigal, thank you and thanks to Karl and Kevin.
> A question to you and to others:
> Does the fact that Arabic doesn't have a "v" consonant support the
> possibility that Hebrew too didn't have a "v" consonant (we know that VAV
> was pronounced like WAW, and this is still the case in some Hebrew
> "dialects")? If so, perhaps what later became VEIT was pronounced like
> (e.g. Ribka later became Rivka?).
> It is more than that.

There is some evidence, though not enough to be considered proof, that
during Biblical times Hebrew was pronounced as a consonant-vowel language,
that every consonant was followed by a vowel. As such, your name may
originally have been “Re-be-qa-he” with the stress on the penultimate

> A somewhat related question: Does anyone know if DALED is believed to have
> been pronounced as an emphatic consonant, like in Arabic, perhaps in
> addition to another pronunciation (like "d" or like "th" in "that", as do
> Yemenite Jews)?
> Again we don’t know, because the last native speaker of Biblical Hebrew
died over two millennia ago.

> Thanks!

> Rivka Sherman-Gold
> To expand on what Yigal wrote: not only does your question encompass all
the BGD KPT letters, but also the sin-shin and ayin-ghayin distinctions.
There is no proof that Biblical Hebrew had more than one sound for each of
those letters, and the evidence is too weak to be convincing.

Among transliterations, the Byzantine tradition of the New Testament
preserves that the Galilean Jews of the first century did not consistently
pronounce the softened sounds for the BGD KPT letters, e.g. Nazaret,
Kapernaum, yet the Jews of Judea were much more consistent. Indication of
dialectal differences, even that close.

Again, let me emphasize, we don’t know how Biblical Hebrew was pronounced,
we can only make educated guesses guided by our presuppositions. Though I
have to admit that my perception has changed from what I was originally

Karl W. Randolph.

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