[b-hebrew] Inseparable Prepositions and that shewa

Vadim Cherny vadimcherny at gmail.com
Mon Apr 26 06:34:46 EDT 2010

Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

 >Ben Asher and Saadia did not live "three or four centuries after the  
 >introduced their notation."  The Masoretes were not a single group  
of people
 >who in one day introduced a whole new notation and then left the  

Had not dagesh marks appeared centuries before Saadia, who would thus  
be expected to explain rather than challenge them?

> The Masoretic tradition has dagesh kal even in Aramaic texts - do you
> seriously believe that every other Aramaic author was wrong in
> omitting them (as far as I know)?

 >Well, that depends.  Which Aramaic author or authors did you have
 >in mind that omitted them in vocalized texts?

No doubt, your linguistic knowledge vastly exceeds mine. Still, I  
won't recall a single Aramaic text which supports dagesh kal in, say,  
word-initial position.

 >Vocalized Aramaic texts in the Hebrew tradition (such as Onqelos) also
 >have dagesh qal.  Even Syriac has qu$$aya and rukkakha to mark the

Or, perhaps, Onkelos was dageshed well later? We don't have its early  
manuscripts. I have no information about Syriac.

 >Or did you simply make a claim about
 >"every other Aramaic author" just like you make up vocalizations of
 >non-existent words in the Bible?

Why not stop beating a dead horse? I used binchem example the way  
qtalchem is used.

 >The DSS does not have "dvarac."  The DSS has final -kh and -th leading
 >scholars to believe the pronunciation was -ka.

But DSS also have final hey in otem - at tmh, so final hey in 2ms is  
likely a similar epenthetic sound.
It is still more clear in Secunda: tovac for tovcha.
If you would argue that Greek X was ch, then you would have to explain  
LXX's Xalannia for Calneh.

 >Similarly, neither the Secunda nor the LXX (to which the Masoretes did
 >have access), allow us to distinguish fricative from plosive  
 >since the Greek writing system did not distinguish fricative and  

Why not? tav is theta rather than tau, caf is chi rather than kappa in  

 >The pronunciations in the Secunda feature the drop of the last vowel  
 >the suffixed pronouns. They show a development similar to Aramaic  
 >the last vowel that was lost displaced the original case vowel -  
 >"your king (nominative)" -> malkak.

Might it be very different? It is one thing to drop a final vowel  
after an open syllable (malkuka), and quite another - after a closed  
syllable (dvarcha). There must be a reason for vulgar epenthesis in  
dvar(e)cha but not in catavta, and the only such reason is semantic:  
verbs and nouns received different intonational accent.

 >No, we can't.  The dagesh is not "an attempt at resyllabification."   
 >dagesh is present in -tem because historically there was never any
 >vowel separating -tem and the root.  It is not present in -khem
 >because nouns had a case vowel and verbs had a vowel following most
 >nominative suffixes (-ti: in katavti:, -ta in katavta, etc.)

You really believe that the Masoretes wrote a diachronic grammar,  
reflecting the case vowel lost perhaps a thousand years before them?

Vadim Cherny

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