[b-hebrew] The vowels of אֶחָד

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Sun Apr 10 12:23:29 EDT 2011

>> ...
>> 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.
 Will katav
> So if we start
> for an underlying form that has a short (not daghesh) heth, we would
> expect the seghol to either be further reduced to a variety of shwa, or
> possibly be lengthened to sere.

As you wish. But as you mentioned, the "lengthening" to sere is an option,
like berax 'he blessed'. Well, since a lengthened sere didn't happen and
dagesh is not marked, we have an anomaly that was not marked nor
resolved. "Virtual" is for us. Comparison with yaHad and 'one' in Arabic
might put our expecation on a 'virtual vowel' rather than a virtual long
consonant. And isn't the whole thing just a little humorous?

>> 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.
> Morphologically, perhaps, but phonologically perhaps not so much.  I can't
> help but think that the vowel distinctions made in the vowel symbols
> represent a primarily Aramaic system.  Not that the MS vowel pointing
> misrepresent the Hebrew pronunciation the Massoretes were trying to
> capture, but that they were hearing that pronunciation through Aramaic ears.

The point here is that the Hebrew and Aramaic vowels within cognate
words were different. e.g., guvrin vs. gvarim. And the different
developments can be traced and compared and 'explained'. Like
Aramaic Had 'one' vs. BH eHad 'one'.

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

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