[b-hebrew] dagesh, gemination, Hannah

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Sat Apr 30 22:24:02 EDT 2011

I am convinced that the LXX occasionally confused the look-alike  
Hebrew R and D letters, that they did not read correctly certain  
letters, or combination of letters, that they often misunderstood the  
meaning of the text, and that they used a corrupt and smudged  
original manuscript. So, it is well conceivable that they also  
confused the H and the X letters. On the sounding of the ayin, it may  
have depended on who they consulted. Occasionally they may have  
deemed to hear it as a deep choking sound, which they put down as a  
"gayin". Their atrocious treatment of Hebrew names makes  
(unfortunately!) their work nigh useless for the study of the ancient  
Hebrew speech.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Apr 29, 2011, at 8:12 PM, Will Parsons wrote:

> On Thu, 28 Apr 2011 19:27:32 -0400, Isaac Fried <if at math.bu.edu>  
> wrote:
>> I am not sure why there is a double n in Phennana, the same way I  
>> am not
>> sure why there is a double m and a double t and a double e in the  
>> English
>> word committee, yet only one m in coming.
> I can't be completely sure abount Phennana, but I don't think it's an
> accident.  I mentioned several possibilities in a previous post,  
> but what I
> think is most likely is that the form represents a quantitative  
> metathesis,
> i.e., the [n]-[n:] sequence was reversed to [n:]-[n], possibly at  
> the time
> of transcription, or perhaps afterward.
> Why the double m and double t in "committee"?  Because this word is  
> derived
> from Latin in which the doubled letters represent geminated  
> consonants.
> English doesn't have geminated consonants (with certain  
> exceptions), but
> keeps the historical spelling (as does French, but as opposed to  
> Spanish).
>> It is hard to believe, yet the LXX may have confused the look- 
>> alike Hebrew
>> letters H and X, as well as R and D (is there any work on the  
>> rendering of
>> the Hebrew names by the LXX?). For PIYNXAS of Num. 25:7 they have the
>> curious Φινεες, yet Gen. 11 they "correctly" render NAXOR as  
>> Ναχωρ, but
>> ,then, TERAX is suddenly made into Θαρα. Did they see the last  
>> X of TERAX
>> as a silent H? The name IRAD עירד of Gen. 4:18 is made into  
>> Γαιδαδ.
> There is no reason to assume the LXX translators mistook a heth for  
> a he.
> Heth apparently had two distinct sounds at the time, neither of  
> which prehaps
> corresponded exactly to a Greek sound.  The nearest equivalent to  
> the lighter
> of the two would be Greek [h], represented by the "rough breathing"  
> mark on an
> initial vowel.  But the breathing marks were not regularly used,  
> and during
> the Hellenistic era the [h] sound was in the process of being  
> dropped in
> pronunciation.  As a result, in Hebrew names beginning with either  
> a he or a
> heth, the Greek forms will show nothing, so "Anna" is expected for  
> חנה.
> The double pronunciation of both heth and ayin has been discussed  
> on this
> list before.  The results as far as LXX transcriptions are usually:
> heth #1 [ħ] => Greek [h], theoretically represented by a rough  
> breathing if
>                at the beginning of a word, but in practice likely  
> dropped.
>                Sure to be dropped if not word-initial.
> heth #2 [x] => Greek Χ (chi)
> ayin #1 [ʕ] => Usually not indicated in Greek, but sporadically  
> indicated
>                impressionistically by a vowel (e.g. Ροβοαμ/ 
> Rhoboam for
>                רחבעם)
> ayin #2 [ɣ] => Greek Γ (gamma)
>> To return to Phennana, the MT has it as PNINAH with a dagesh in  
>> the second N
>> as is customary after a xirik sans yod. I notice with interest  
>> that they
>> read the first letter of this name as a "soft" F and not as the  
>> "hard" P of
>> today.
> There are many uncertainties in tracing the phonetic changes that  
> were taking
> place both in Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek during this period.  It is  
> safe to say,
> however, that the Greek Φ/Ph was *not* pronounced [f].  At most, it  
> may have
> reached the point of becoming a bilabial fricative [ɸ], and it may  
> have still
> had its older pronunciation as an aspirated stop [ph].  The fact  
> that the
> letter Π/P was not used must indicate that the Hebrew pe was no  
> longer
> perceived as a plain stop [p], but beyond that it is hard to say  
> for sure.
>> The second N of PNINAH has a dagesh 'forte' and yet this N is not
>> "geminated". On the other hand they render the city name AKO (with  
>> a dagesh
>> in the K as customary after a patax) of Jud. 1:31 as Ακχω.  It  
>> is all,
>> unfortunately, very bewildering. I tend to think that the LXX are  
>> mostly
>> wrong, and the MT right; Αρμαϑαιμ and Σιϕα just don't  
>> sound right to me (as
>> well as the funny Phennana).
>> Yes, indeed, the Editors of the Oxford Hebrew-English dictionary have
>> removed all dgeshim, except in B K P, and also all the unnecessary  
>> schwas. I
>> love it.
> In other words, they do not remove *all* dagheshes, only those that  
> make no
> difference to the modern pronunciation.
>> On Apr 28, 2011, at 5:22 PM, Will Parsons wrote:
>>> I don't have a copy of the Oxford English-Hebrew dictionary; does  
>>> it really
>>> remove all dgeshim or just those where it doesn't make a  
>>> difference to the
>>> modern pronunciation?
> -- 
> Will Parsons

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