[b-hebrew] T-SADE

Arnaud Fournet fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr
Sat Jul 24 05:27:12 EDT 2010

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Will Parsons" <wbparsons at alum.mit.edu>
To: <fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr>
Cc: <jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com>; <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, July 23, 2010 10:19 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] T-SADE

> From: "Arnaud Fournet" <fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr>
> Subject: [b-hebrew] T-SADE
> Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2010 11:46:39 +0200
>> Maybe this has already been discussed before, but I have some questions
>> about the affricate or non affricate pronunciation of (T)SADE.
>> Cantineau 1954 discusses a Greek manuscrit called Vaticanus of the
>> Lamentations supposedly dating back to the IVth century AD, which 
>> mentions
>> in Greek letters Tau-Sigma-Alpha-D-Eta as name of that letter. He infers
>> from that document that the affricate pronunciation must be old and 
>> possibly
>> the original one.  So I have a handful of questions about the presumed
>> authenticity of that manuscrit, its dating and its relevance for TSADE or
>> SADE, possible alterations or any reason to conclude in this or that
>> direction, or not to conclude at all, or to prefer some other better
>> reference for that issue. What should exactly be thought about that 
>> issue?
> I don't have Cantineau's work to examine, or a facsimile of the Codex
> Vaticanus, but the sigla in my copy of the Septuagint indicate that 
> reading
> in the Codex Vaticanus is τιαδη/tiade rather than τσαδη/tsade.  Even if 
> the
> reading *is* τιαδη/tiade, it probably doesn't support an ancient value of
> [ts] for sadhe.  I don't know what Cantineau means by "old" (Biblical 
> times,
> or IVth century AD?), but it's very unlikely that sadhe had the affricate
> value [ts] when it was spoken as a mother tongue.  The emphatics in
> Hebrew as in other Semitic languages form a series contrasting on one
> hand to unvoiced series and the other a voice series of obstruents.  As
> far as I know, there are two attested phonetic realizations of 
> "emphatics",
> velarized/laryngealized type of Arabic, and the glottalized type of the
> African Semitic languages (more likely for Hebrew).  In either case, we 
> have
> parallel series /s - S - z/ like /t -T - d/ like /k - K - g/.  An 
> affricate
> like [ts] doesn't fit this model.
I would call that kind of argument an "aesthetical" one.
That you can nicely put phonemes in rows and columns is not a convincing 
proof of what they might really be.
I'm not a structuralist to the point of believing that "structure rules".

In addition, it's well known from Egyptian hieroglyphic that tsamekh was 
nearly doubtless an affricate [ts] (S p r scribe => t_ p r and not **s p r 
as is expected) and as a matter of that nearly all sibilants have been used 
to write /s/ in Greek or Ethiopian but this precise one. So in fact if one 
believes in "aesthetical" argumentation, the conclusion would rather be that 
there is "systemic" support for an affricate /ts./ade because tsamekh was 
itself /ts/.

The reference given by Barry about Latino-Punic would also support this idea 
for Phoenician.

It can also be noted that glottalization is easier and more efficient with 
stops or affricates than with plain fricatives.


> Even if what Cantineau means by "old" is the IVth century AD, the
> transcription with ΤΣ/TS (if in fact that *is* in the Codex Vaticanus)
> would give negligible evidence in favour of a [ts] in the comtemporary
> Hebrew pronunciation.  Consider the problem of the transcriber: he is
> faced with a funny S-sound that doesn't really correspond with anything in
> Greek.  Of course, in the text of the LXX itself, sadhe (as well as shin)
> is regularly transcribed as sigma, since that is the nearest Greek
> approximation to both Hebrew sounds (and indeed, most manuscripts of
> LXX use σαδη/sade instead of τσαδη/tsade here).  If the transcriber
> wanted to indicate the "funny" sound, he had to improvise.  If the
> reading *is* TS, that might be taken as evidence that *Greek*, not Hebrew,
> had developed a [ts] affricate in the IVth century (which is far more
> likely).
I don't really understand the idea.
if the original were /s./ what is a t- doing there?
Why is it likely that Greek should develop an affricate? out of which sound?


> I mentioned above shin also as being transcribed by sigma.  Apparently,
> according to my sigla, there is also an attempt to indicate shin more
> accurately in the Vaticanus, ρηχς/rekhs (resh) χσεν/khsen (shin).
> This isn't evidence that shin was pronounced something like [ks], only
> that the transcriber was trying desperately hard to find something that
> would suggest the Hebrew pronunciation.
> William Parsons
To some extent this is also an argument against emphasis being pharyngeal or 
velar, or too much upward in the throat, as we would expect this kind of 
graphic devices for tsade if it were the case.


Arnaud Fournet

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list