[b-hebrew] re Modern Hebrew

Will Parsons wbparsons at alum.mit.edu
Mon Aug 12 18:13:54 EDT 2013

Hi Uri,

On Mon, 12 Aug 2013 11:10:31 -0700 (PDT), Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Dear Will,
> ...
> A few people are dragged into this irrelevant subject on this
> list. I obviously do not degrade this fascinating topic which I
> follow all the time. However , since you commented on it, let me
> correct you in an important sense. You described the debate
> surrounding the pronunciation of the modern spoken language. Yet one
> must keep in mind that since then followed three generations whose
> first language was Hebrew.  Such speakers were and are subjects to
> the same forces which affect other living languages.

I am puzzled as to why you think you are "correcting" me - as far as I
know, I didn't write anything to the contrary.  If I have been
unclear, I apologise.  My point was that the transition from
ancient/Biblical Hebrew to Modern Hebrew does not represent a smooth
natural transition such as that seen in (for example) Greek.  You are
quite right that since Hebrew has now been used as a natively spoken
language for several generations now, it behaves as any other natural
language does, and I wouldn't want to imply otherwise.

>> Even more to the point, the
>> pronunciation of Modern Hebrew does not represent a natural
>> continuation of the Mishnaic/Mediaeval tradition, but a conscious
>> choice to prefer, for example, BH forms over MH, and the conscious
>> choice of preferring the Sephardic pronunciations of taw (without
>> daghesh) and qamets over the Ashkenazic values.

Will Parsons

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