[b-hebrew] Fw: Job 38:8 ??

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Tue Dec 4 14:10:18 EST 2012


On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM, David Kolinsky <hadeesh at sbcglobal.net>wrote:

> Karl,
> I am not convinced that the Sin and the Shin were pronounced the same in
> Biblical times.

I noticed that there are examples like $M “there, that place” coming from
%YM “to place” and other words sometimes spelled with a sin, sometimes with
a shin, but because this was never a research program I didn’t work up a
list of these examples.

>     But there is reasonable evidence that the letter for Het was used for
> two different sounds (Het and Chet) and that the letter for Ayin (Ayin and
> Gayin) also (ex: Gamorra and Gaza).

I don’t see any evidence for these within Biblical Hebrew. Rather I suspect
that these speculations come from post-Biblical Hebrew and/or cognate

>   I believe that the Shin probably was for "Sh" and that when it was
> pronounced Sin that that was very similar to a voiceless alveolar lateral
> fricative.

I see no evidence that they were pronounced differently until during and
after the Babylonian Exile, which would mean that Aramaic speaking Jews
imported these distinctions from Aramaic.

> Curious, what is the evidence that the Samekh was like an "X"?

I noticed that in the name “Artaxerxes” that the second “X” is spelled with
a Samekh in Ezra and Nehemiah. The first “X” is spelled with a softer
gutteral, a Chet, followed by a Sin, which would have sounded like an “X”
to Greek ears.

Incidentally, Ezra spelled “Artaxerxes” with two Sins in Aramaic,
suggesting that perhaps that Aramaic didn’t have a “X” phoneme at that
time? And as Jews grew up speaking Aramaic without a “X” phoneme that they
changed the Samekh to a Sin pronunciation.

> David Kolinsky
> Monterey, CA

Karl W. Randolph.
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