[b-hebrew] T-SADE

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Sat Jul 24 10:42:29 EDT 2010

On Sat, 24 Jul 2010 11:27:12 +0200, "Arnaud Fournet" <fournet.arnaud at wanadoo.fr> wrote:
> ----- 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".

Short of sending a phonetician back in time, there is unlikely to be
anything that can be called "proof", there's only the matter of lesser
or greater probability.  Evidence of other Semitic languages is a lot
more convincing to me than a single Greek transcription where both the
reading itself and the evidentiary value is questionable.  This is not
an "aesthetical" argument.

> 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)

I would disagree about samekh being "nearly doubtless" [ts], certainly
not on the basis of Egyptian transcriptions, seeing that Egyptian
phonology is quite uncertain.  (That Egyptian /t_/ indicated an affricate
seems quite unlikely considering its development in Coptic.)  Even if
at some point samekh *were* an affricate, that would not be an argument
that sadhe was also.

> 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/.

This makes no sense.  Are you referring to Egyptian transcriptions of
Greek and Ethiopic or something else?

> The reference given by Barry about Latino-Punic would also support this idea
> for Phoenician.  http://tinyurl.com/2ajft7x

Irrelevant for the issue of Greek transcriptions of Hebrew.

> It can also be noted that glottalization is easier and more efficient with
> stops or affricates than with plain fricatives.
I don't know why it would be so.  It seems common enough in Korean.

> > 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?

It's a matter of certainly that Greek *did* develop affricates.  They are
quite common in Modern Greek.  *When* they developed is of course more
doubtful, but they are certainly seen in Byzantine Greek.  Sources are
influence other languages, and internal phonetic developments (typically
as a result of palatalization).

> > 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.

Right - I'm not arguing for pharyngeal/velar interpretation of emphatics
in Hebrew.

William Parsons

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