[b-hebrew] re.: Inseparable Prepositions and that shewa

Vadim Cherny vadimcherny at gmail.com
Fri Apr 16 15:40:42 EDT 2010

The question is largely moot. Though the MT differentiates between  
shwa, patah, and segol, this not a case with Babylonian notation.  
Thus, in terms of quantity and quality vocal shwa is not drastically  
different from segol or, for that matter, any ultra-short vowel.

Syllabification really depends on the diction. You would have  
different syllabification in speech and singing, in stand-alone words  
and emphatic clauses.

Dagesh kal need not follow any closed syllable: citvei, dvarchem.

Look at it the other way around: dagesh kal is used for, and only for  
syllabification. Like their many other chanting marks, dagesh kal was  
meant by the Masoretes for chanting: it forcibly syllabifies the words.

Vadim Cherny


Your opinions please.

My grammars are divided into two schools of thought concerning the way  
an inseparable preposition attaches itself to a word that begins with  
a vocal shewa.

The first school of thought says that under these conditions, an  
inseparable preposition creates a closed syllable at the beginning of  
a word, usually invoking the "rule of shewa." However, this approach  
ignores the absence of a dagesh lene in any following begadkephat  

The second says that the initial syllable is left open with the hireq  
vowel, with vocal shewa following. The absence of a dagesh lene in a  
following begadkephat letter is often cited as proof. However, this  
approach ignores the usual rule that a short vowel likes to be closed  
in an unaccented syllable.

1. So, which do we choose? How do we account for the problems that  

2. And more importantly, how did this situation come about?

3. Is Modern Hebrew pronunciation influencing the situation here? And  
if so, should it?

Kay Christensen

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