[b-hebrew] The vowels of אֶחָד

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Sun Apr 10 03:27:59 EDT 2011

Fred katav:
> The terms "implicit/virtual doubling" are both grammarians' labels that are
> applied to various anomalous pointings in which, e.g. a long vowel implies
> that its syllable is closed, but the following radical is neither followed
> by shewa nor written with dagesh forte. Since the vowel was written as
> though the syllable were closed (i.e., as though the radical were doubled),
> they "imply" [non-graphemic] doubling. The "logic" of the term seems to
> move from the pointing of the vowel to the [non-]pointing of the consonant.

We explain this to students at some point in our ulpans and they usually see
the humor in the comfort that some people get from putting a label "virtual
dagesh" on an observation, even if the label is placed on 'nothing'.
Grammar by Seinfeld (Jerry, George, Kramer, and Elaine).
(Yes, 'virtual dagesh' is presented as an English loan word'. In Hebrew:
ke'ilu yesh dagesh [ke-ilu was available in LateBH, attested in Mishanic,
the humor is twentieth century, for those who remember ha-gashash ha-
Of course, as Fred points out, the label could just as easily have been
applied to the vowel, "segol" as a "virtual long vowel". Either way, it is
more evidence of the care with which the MT developed. They did not
impose a grammar, but truly recorded the tradition as best they could.
It also means that the language was passed on as a language and not
as a grammar system, that came later. One of the delightful things
about the MT is that the differences between BAramaic and BHebrew
morphologies can be studied. Their independent development is
recorded and makes linguistic sense as the trees are traced in reverse.

Randall Buth
Randall Buth, PhD
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list