[b-hebrew] Plural of חֵרֵשׁ (deaf)

Pere Porta pporta7 at gmail.com
Fri Apr 8 00:50:25 EDT 2011

> (Pere Porta)
> Why do you assume that the first sere should be reduced to hatef patah in
> your view?
> Why not to hatef segol?
> Would it not be more logical that a sere becomes hatef segol (and not hatef
> patah) when reduced?
> (George Athas)
Vowel reduction turns a qamets or sere into a shewa. If that shewa is
beneath a guttural, it will usually become a hatef patah, since gutturals
generally prefer A-class vowels. In any case, though, I'd still be
comfortable with a hatef segol. My question is, why doesn't it?
(Pere Porta)

I think, George, the right answer to your question is this:

1. Only a very few nouns, consisting of three root letters, that have sere
in the first syllable of their basic form change the sere to hatef patah in
the declension.

These are:

a. חֵטְא, sin -------- look at Ec 10:4
b. עֵמֶק, vale ------- look at 1K 20:28
c. חֵלֶק, part ------- look at Js 18:5
d. חֵלֶב, fat --------- look at Lv 8:26
e. עֵנָב, grape ----  look at Gn 40:10

2. Nouns (also consisting of three root consonants)  having sere in both the
first and the second syllable are grouped or divided into:

a) normal, so to say, nouns: תֵּבֵל, world (Ps 19:5); טֵבֶת, Tebeth (the
tenth month of the Jewish calendar) (Est 2:16)...

b) nouns with "tashlum dagesh". These are nouns that really fit within the
same pattern as, for instance, אִלֵּם, dumb (Ex 4:11) or עִוֵּר, blind (Ex
4:11). But because of the guttural or the resh in the second place  --which,
as we know, take never dagesh--  the hiriq becomes sere.
This is the case for חֵרֵשׁ, deaf (Ex 4:11) or קֵרֵחַ, bald (Lv 13:40),
between others.
Now, the same as in the first kind nouns in b) keep the hiriq in the
declension, the second kind nouns in b) keep their first sere.
And so: אִלְּמִים, dumb ones (Is 56:10)

For the sake of keeping the same path between the two kinds of nouns
reported in b), the sere remains in the plural חֵרְשִׁים, deafs (Is 35:5).

Anyway, as I said, the Academy states that the first sere is to be kept in
the declension whenever it is used, in the basic form, for "tashlum dagesh"
------ look at the Hahlatot, 2006, ISSN 0024-1091, page 31, kelal gimel.

And let me now, to end the post, ask:

Why אֶחָד, one, has segol and not sere? Would the sere not be more "logical"
in an open syllable?

Quite friendly,

Pere Porta
(Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain)

> Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
> www.moore.edu.au
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Pere Porta

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