[b-hebrew] 'Vocal shwa' had no true/phonemic quality at the time of LXX.

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Wed Jun 30 05:33:51 EDT 2010

Hi Garth,

I won't get involved in the pronunciation of schwa. One observation I would
make is that as the Tiberian system aimed at one symbol for one sound you
would expect some kind of consistency. That is to say either they are all
vocal or all silent.

Regards your analysis of Greek transliterations I partially agree. IW likely
corresponds to YschwaHoW. IOU likely corresponds to YschwaHuW. I agree that
we are talking about long vowels in both cases for o and u quality vowels.
I'm not sure that the lack of representation of schwa is hard evidence that
it had no phonemic value in Hebrew. Any transliteration scheme must work in
the confines of the target language. Greek clearly has no way of
representing a short vocal schwa just as it has no way of representing a He.
If we are to insist that this is hard evidence that schwa had no phonemic
value in Hebrew then by the same token we must also insist that He also had
no phonemic value. I'm sure you can agree that there are problems with this
kind of logic.

James Christian

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