[b-hebrew] be-ne vs. ve-ne

Paul Zellmer pzellmer at sc.rr.com
Mon Dec 27 23:47:13 EST 2010


Fred,

Your follow-on question is looking at language somewhat backwards.  Language is spoken first, and then written.  If someone is truly fluent in the language of the Hebrew Bible, that would imply that that person can not only read and pronounce the text, but generate conversation in that language with natural pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.  For such a person, the words of the written text would only be symbols to indicate what vocal sounds would be made if the message were being spoken.

Ari's rules come from analyses made of the actual text.  They were not made up first, and then applied to the text.  So all four rules would not even be consciously thought of by a truly fluent speaker, any more than you are consciously thinking of the numerous rules of grammar and pronunciation of the English language as you read this.

To put this in more technical terminology, your stated opinion of your own question looks at the Masoretic markings as being prescriptive when they were actually descriptive.  They were following the sounds of the language as they actually heard, without regard for *why* the sounds were pronounced that way.

Therefore, for the dialect that the Masoretes were reducing to writing, the marks reflect very accurately how the language would have been spoken, whether in the formal setting or outside.

The ones that I know who seem to approach true fluency in Masoretic Hebrew are not average, so I don't know how to answer that area of your question.  But they can take the consonantal text and consistently read it out loud with the same pronunciation as is reflected in the pointed text.

Hope this helps,

Paul Zellmer

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of fred burlingame
Sent: Monday, December 27, 2010 10:10 PM
To: AMK Judaica
Cc: Hebrew List
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] be-ne vs. ve-ne

Hello Ari:

Thanks for your clear explanation of the rules applying to vocalization of
this word בני.

I would appreciate if you could answer one follow up question. In your
experience, and if you know, can the average person who is fluent in the
biblical hebrew language tanakh today ... be handed a page from the
text, without any vowel or cantillation marks, and yet know exactly when to
say "be-ne" or "ve-ne."

I could see the person fluent in the language internalizing rules 1-3
without the need for punctuation or pronunciation marks. But perhaps rule
no. 4 might be a reach.

I am trying to acquire a sense of whether the pronunciation marks reflect
how the language would have been spoken in the home and outside of a
formal synagogue or temple setting.

regards,

fred burlingame

2010/12/27 AMK Judaica <amkjudaica at hotmail.com>

>
> FRED:
>
> 1) if the previous word ends in a closed syllable, then an initial beged
> kefet letter on the following word is plosive with a dagesh kal, i.e., bene
> 2) if the previous word ends in an open syllable and is accented with a
> disjunctive cantillation, then the following word retains the dagesh kal,
> i.e., bene
> 3) if the previous word ends in an open syllable and is accented with a
> conjunctive cantillation, then an initial beged kefet letter on the
> following word become fricative (lacks dagesh kal), i.e., vene
> 4) there are exceptions to no. 3 known as dehik and ati marhik, but these
> are more complicated
>
> best wishes,
> ari kinsberg
>
>
> > Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2010 17:56:41 -0600
> > From: tensorpath at gmail.com
> > To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > Subject: [b-hebrew] be-ne vs. ve-ne
> >
> > These geographically nearby excerpts (phrases) of the masoretic text seem
> to
> > alternate pronunciation back and forth of the same word as vocalized in
> the
> > subject line.
> >
> > Can anyone identify which word requires "ve-ne" vocalization; and which
> word
> > instructs "be-ne" vocalization without reference to the pointed text?
> >
> > 1. למשפחת בני גלעד
> >
> > 2. ממשפחת בני יוסף
> >
> > 3. שבטי בני ישראל
> >
> > 4. את בני ישראל
> >
> > 5. מטה בני יוסף
> >
> > Does the last letter in the word preceding בני dictate its pronunciation;
> > depending on that letter's status as consonant or vowel?
> >
> > Your comments are appreciated.
> >
> > regards,
> >
> > fred burlingame
> > _______________________________________________
> > b-hebrew mailing list
> > b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> > http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew
>
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