[b-hebrew] Initial Consonant Clusters in Biblical Hebrew

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Fri Jun 11 00:24:58 EDT 2010

I think that by ‘initial consonant cluster’ Jim is referring to two consonants (not separated by a vowel) occupying the first place within the same syllable. In other words, the syllable would be of CCvC type.

To answer your question, Jim, yes the number two, שְׁתַּיִם, does preserve an initial consonant cluster. The dagesh lene in the taw demonstrates that this is the case. It is an unusual occurrence in Masoretic Hebrew for this to happen, but there it is. Usually, Masoretic Hebrew seeks to separate such consonant clusters with a vowel or vocal shewa. This is one instance where it does not happen.

A little more common, but still not prevalent, is ultimate consonant clustering of the CvCC type. Witness the final syllable in Qal Qatal 2fs forms of regular verbs: קָטַלְתְּ.

Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list