[b-hebrew] Masoretic transmission of pronuncation

Barry H. nebarry at verizon.net
Mon Jul 15 07:47:48 EDT 2013

On 7/14/2013 8:08 PM, Jerry Shepherd wrote:
 > Hi Barry,
 > Thanks for this.  But allow me to press a distinction I'm thinking of in
 > asking the question.  In your last sentence you said, "I have no doubt
 > that an 11th century French speaker would  have pronounced Latin
 > filtered through medieval French."
 > I agree with this to a large extent, and understand that, for
 > example, Latin words would have been "Frenchized" in normal
 > conversation, sermons, and even liturgy.  But it also seems to me that
 > this would have been less true for the professional academics who were
 > working with the Latin texts, copying them, and doing hermeneutical and
 > commentary work on them.  So, going back to Will's example, a scholar
 > may have well "Frenchized an original Iulius to Julius in normal
 > conversation, but would still have recognized that the actual
 > pronunciation was I rather than J, and would have used the more accurate
 > pronunciation in a more scholarly context.  But maybe I'm out to lunch.
 > Thanks and blessings,

Jerry, with regard to Latin, I just don't think this is true. Now, I'm 
not anywhere near an expert in Latin manuscript copying and 
transmission, but one way to check this would be through copyist errors. 
I seem vaguely to remember reading or hearing in a lecture that there 
was some actual evidence of this sort, but have no idea of the details 
anymore. If you have any actual evidence that "professional academics" 
during the medieval period actually pronounced Latin differently than 
their local languages and dialects, I'd very much like to see it.

And, of course, the The Masoretic context could be quite different. 
Wasn't a deliberate effort made to preserve proper pronunciation? When 
did that start? But even today, Sephardic and Ashkenazi often sound 
quite different.

Enjoy your lunch...

N.E. Barry Hofstetter

My opinions in this message are my
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