[b-hebrew] dagesh, gemination, Hannah

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 28 22:21:12 EDT 2011

  Dear William Parson,

  The only reason for for my intrusion here is the
 Pursuit of Truth. I am motivated by a sense
 of Duty to spread it to those who are not
  familiar with It.

   Your interlocutor in this exchange has often 
repeated statements that have nothing to do with

   The situation has become somewhat amusing.

   For instance, he repeats here again that "spoken
 Hebrew has has ...no shwa "NA" and no shwa "NAX",..."
   How about "Tarnegol?" (rooster); two shwaim follow
 each other. The first Nax, quiescent, the second Na,

   How about "Lekha" (to you S/M}, "Reevim" (Hungry Pl/M)?
 - the spoken language is full with such examples.

   Of course there is the simple colloquial expression which
 I mentioned before on the list:
    "Shtuyot Bemitz" (nonsense), another example of these
 two types of Shwa in one short phrase.

  This is the Truth. I repeat it for the benefit
  of those who don't know contemporary Hebrew. 

  But, says your interlocutor, "...if all this is redunant
 now it stands to reason that it never existed in the past."

   Alas, language development, diachronic or otherwise,
 does not necessarily follow reason. The fact that Degeshim
are rare in modern pronounciation does not mean that this
 was the case in biblical times. But this requires minimal
 knolwedge of Arabic, or Semitics. Randall Buth  elaborated
 on this matter. 

   At this point I retreat back to my lichen on the wall,
 as the biblical expression goes.

    )ezov haqqyr,
     Uri Hurwitz                             Great Neck, NY


> Spoken Hebrew did not "lose" anything. Spoken Hebrew has no "long" and
> "short" vowels, no schwa "NA" and no schwa "NAX", and no "gemination" (in
> spite of all the baloney "traditional grammar" taught in Hebrew schools)
> precisely because it is all unnecessary. Hebrew functions perfectly well
> without these theoretical fantasies. And if all this is redundant now, it
> stands to reason that it never existed in the past.

Necessity has nothing to do with it.  Both English and Hebrew find it
necessary to distinguish number (singular vs. plural) in nouns, while
numerous other languages do without it just fine.  Or, to cite a closer
example, if Spanish can do without the geminated consonants of Latin and
therefore has dropped them, why hasn't Italian done so as well?

William Parsons

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