[b-hebrew] kiddush versus edush?

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Jul 7 03:45:33 EDT 2010

On Wed, Jul 7, 2010 at 12:14 AM, Yigal Levin wrote:
> I'm not totally sure that it's the same thing, but the early Aramaic word
> "arqa", land, (equivalent to Hebrew "erec") later becomes "ar'a", that is,
> qof becomes ayin. If you look at Jeremiah 10:11 you'll find both forms in
> the same verse!

Hello Yigal, Uzi, and everyone,

Dad was represented in Old Aramaic as a Qof due to a particular
development of this phoneme.  This Dad is not a Dalet (as Uzi
seemed to imply).  The letter appears to be the emphatic
corresponding to voiceless Sin and voiced Lamed and together they
form a triad similar to Taw - Teth - Dalet or Kaf - Qoph - Gimel.  The
Dad sound is actually a very late reflex of this sound.  Richard Steiner
suggests that the sound was originally [tɬ'].  In Arabic, this developed
into Dad.  But in Northwest Semitic, he suggests it developed along
the path - PS [tɬ'] > [qɬ'] > [qχ'] or [tɬ'] > [kɬ'] > [kχ'].  Because of
the k/q component it was written Qoph in Old Aramaic.

This sound remained distinct in Old Aramaic, even though it was written
with a Qoph, and in Official Aramaic it began to merge with Ghayin, while
Qoph did not.  Ghayin is a voiced uvular whereas q/k are voiceless.  It
therefore seems that at the basis of the sound change qχ' became
voiceless, thus giving Ghayin.

Because Hebrew maintained the letter Sin it is reasonable that it might
have also maintained the letter Dad.  We have examples of various
doublets where the same word is written with both Qoph and Sade in
the same verse -

Judges 5:26 has מחצה followed by מחקה.
1 Kings 6:34 has צלעים followed by קלעים.
Isaiah 28:10 and 28:13 have צו לצו followed by קו לקו.

These may suggest that the authors recognized the sound as a
composite of both a voiceless uvular (q) written as Qoph and an
emphatic sibilant (ɬ') written as Sade.  Another reason to think it
survived in Hebrew is that we find the Punic word חמוצים transcribed
amoutim in Dioscorides, whereas Sade is normally transcribed as
s in Greek/Latin.

In Jer 10:11, we find ארקא / ארעא as was mentioned.   This uses a
voiced consonant ע and an voiceless consonant ק to transcribe
the sound.  The fact that the author spells the word with an Ayin
shows that by this time the [q] component had become a voiceless
ghayin.  Because the voiceless-voiced distinction is strong in both
Hebrew and Aramaic, I think what is really happening is that the
author is using the Hebrew pronunciation for the reflex of Dad [qɬ']
rather than the Aramaic pronunciation which no longer had a
voiceless [q] component at that time.  However, he is dressing
the above practice of using ק - צ pairs in Aramaic orthography,
using ק - ע instead of ק - צ.

As explained above, the qoph of this sound change in Aramaic
is different from the qoph of the ק - א interchange in Arabic.  This
sound change in Arabic is interesting because it is inconsistent
and differs based on location, education and other factors.  In
some cases, the speaker may try to preserve the original qoph,
but it is his education/literacy that determines if he knows to
replace the glottal stop in his speech with a qoph in the correct
places.  As was mentioned some words of particular significance
are still pronounced with a qoph even in speakers who pronounce
the qoph as a glottal stop א.  A similar situation appears in the
Aramaic qoph-ghayin change.  Macuch (Maarav 5-6, p. 228)
notes that South Babylonian Mandaeans preserved the words
arqa "earth", aqna "sheep", and aqamra "wool", to which a
hyper-correct aqapra "dust" was added.

Yitzhak Sapir

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