[b-hebrew] Jerusalem

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Wed Jul 7 21:12:13 EDT 2010

Hello Yitzhak,

I don't have enough time right now to consider properly every point that
you have below, but I have a few comments...

On Wed, 7 Jul 2010 19:36:53 +0300
Yitzhak Sapir <yitzhaksapir at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello Will, Garth, and Uzi,
> Uzi -- the dual interpretation is unlikely.  That is, the final Mem is
> part of the
> root word (as pointed out by others) which makes a dual reading problematic.
> Probably the fact that a dual ending appears on many other place names
> influenced the development of this pronunciation, though.  However, the
> comparison to Jerubaal is appropriate.  Both Jerubaal and Jerusalem
> are theophoric names, of the same prefix.  In the case of Jericho, we
> have the root ירח -- the moon.   ,
> As for the diphthong -- yes, a reading with a simple long [e:]/[ɛ:]/[æ:]
> would be consistent with the evidence.  However, I think the use of a yodh
> is telling.  In other examples where a long [i:] develops to a long [e:] such
> as in the case of a participle [qo:te:l] (from [qa:ti:l]) we don't see a yodh.
> Perhaps though there are similarly rare instances that have a yodh in
> such participles.  Can anyone here check that up?

Are you sure that [qo:te:l] *is* from [qa:ti:l]?  I would have thought it
more likely to be from [qa:til], like the Arabic form.

> Furthermore, in words such as צבים the plural of original th'aby, giving
> in Hebrew [-ajim] we find the spelling צבאים in 1 Chr 12:9.  This suggests
> to me that for the Hebrew speaker -aji:- -a?i:- and perhaps -ai:- had merged
> or become hard to distinguish.  So I think the use of a yodh in late 1st Mill
> BCE spellings of Jerusalem indicates some kind of split vowel and possibly
> a diphthong.  This might be something that would be recognized as a split
> by the Hebrew speaker but not in Greek.  For example, [æɛ] [æ?ɛ] or even
> [ææ] or [ɛɛ] (the last two indicating a split vowel but with a zero divider).

I think this unlikely, but conceivable.  My feeling is that a Greek speaker
confronted with [æɛ], (or even more so [æ?ɛ]) would have used a combination
of vowel letters to represent it, e.g., ηε or εη (though admittedly, I can't
back this up with hard evidence.)

> As for Vox Graeca, what does Allen mean when he uses the symbols
> æ and ę to mean different vowels (seeing how he does not use IPA)?

Allen's æ is the same as IPA [æ], ę is the equivalent of IPA [ɛ].

> Regarding long i: in the name Shali:m, see here:
> http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ANE-2/message/374
> The sentence "the yodh could be nothing more than a long i:" is not
> meant to exclude any possibility including that it could represent a
> long e:.  However, I think a long i: is unlikely because by the time
> yodh appears we already have the Greek eta transcriptions.  I also
> think e: is not the best explanation because as mentioned above
> i: that became e: is not spelled with a yodh.

I'm not sure I can accept this.  If the spelling  with yodh is
comparatively late, then it seems it could indicate a [e:] whether or
not this sound resulted from an earlier [i:] or diphthong with [j],
and at that point, the sound would naturally be represented in Greek by

William Parsons

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