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1.2 Vowels 53 from the

by Zeev Ben-Hayyim
1.2 Vowels 53 from the Masoretic grammatical literature, which links it explicitly  with the patah ( and seghol), rather than with the holem ( or the sureq). 65 As for the pronunciation of the Babylonian , there exists the written  testi­mony of Qirqisani of Babylon ( 10th century) that there is no difference what­ever between the pronunciation of  the qames in the Babylonian tradition and that in the Tiberian tradition. 6 6 All  data, thus, indicate that the Masoretes, both of Palestine and of Babylonia, intended by their signs a kind of a- vowel. The various developments in TH and BH concerning the qames will be dis­cussed below in 1.5.2.3. In using the symbol d in SH and SA, the intention was merely to distinguish between this non- front vowel, which is often pronounced in the back of the oral cavity and frequently rounded, and a forward a, since there was no more appropriate and available sign, and no thought was given  to any links this vowel might have with the qames in Jewish traditions6 7 —  an a posteriori phonological analysis leads to the conclusion that the vowel denoted by a in SH and SA is a continuation of the qames. It is, thus, a heritage common to TH, BH and SH. Of course, in the passage of time, the conditions governing the use of this vowel in SH changed, as will be shown below in 1.5.1, 1.5.2.2. 1.3 Sewa and the Auxiliary Vowels 1.3.0 The term sdwa refers to an ultrashort vowel, while the absence of a vowel will be termed sewa quiescens. A comparison of SH with TH and BH reveals an unexpected yet decisive difference between them: the absence of a sdwa in SH ( and in SA as well). Corresponding to the TH sewa one finds a vowel in SH, as a rule a long vowel in an open syllable and a short one in a closed syllable; furthermore, SH some­times possesses a vowel corresponding to the sdwa quiescens. Since in TH the sewa is a secondary vowel, deriving from a full vowel — usually from an origi­nally short vowel — in accordance with rules of syllabic stress, the absence of 6 5 Cf. Baer- Strack, Dikduke Ha- Teamim , 34: nx nx n r w y T^ rb entom — i/ e/  and the triad qames patah seghol expresses the vowel 3X3. T^ rb alludes to the term for the vowel a in Arabic grammar. This was already noticed by D. Yellin, History of the Hebrew Grammar ( Jerusalem, 1947), 17 [ Hebrew]:  the qames conjoins with the patah and not with the holem, thus tending toward Sephardic pronunciation. In the manuscript another order of the vowels can be found; however, the order given above is necessitated by the theory of the medieval grammarians, as I stated in  The Vowels According to R. Saadya Gaon, Lesonenu 18 ( 1953), 91ff. [ Hebrew]. 6 6 On the evidence of Qirqisani, see B. Klar, Studies in Language, Poetry, and Literature ( Jeru­salem, 1954), 327, n. 37 [ Hebrew]. While this is indirect evidence in that it does not describe the pronunciation of qames itself, it is clear  evidence, and Yalons argument against Klars conclusion ( n. 63 above) is unconvincing. 6 7 See my  Some Problems, 247. Chapter Home | TOC  | Index t t t

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1.2 Vowels 53 from the Masoretic grammatical literature, which links it explicitly with the patah ( and seghol), rather than with the holem ( or the sureq). 65 As for the pronunciation of the Babylonian \\", there exists the written testi­mony of Qirqisani of Babylon ( 10th century) that there is no difference what­ever between the pronunciation of the qames in the Babylonian tradition and that in the Tiberian tradition. 6 6 All data, thus, indicate that the Masoretes, both of Palestine and of Babylonia, intended by their signs a kind of a- vowel. The various developments in TH and BH concerning the qames will be dis­cussed below in 1.5.2.3. In using the symbol d in SH and SA, the intention was merely to distinguish between this non- front vowel, which is often pronounced in the back of the oral cavity and frequently rounded, and a forward a, since there was no more appropriate and available sign, and no thought was given to any links this vowel might have with the qames in Jewish traditions6 7 — an a posteriori phonological analysis leads to the conclusion that the vowel denoted by a in SH and SA is a continuation of the qames. It is, thus, a heritage common to TH, BH and SH. Of course, in the passage of time, the conditions governing the use of this vowel in SH changed, as will be shown below in 1.5.1, 1.5.2.2. 1.3 Sewa and the Auxiliary Vowels 1.3.0 The term sdwa refers to an ultrashort vowel, while the absence of a vowel will be termed sewa quiescens. A comparison of SH with TH and BH reveals an unexpected yet decisive difference between them: the absence of a sdwa in SH ( and in SA as well). Corresponding to the TH sewa one finds a vowel in SH, as a rule a long vowel in an open syllable and a short one in a closed syllable; furthermore, SH some­times possesses a vowel corresponding to the sdwa quiescens. Since in TH the sewa is a secondary vowel, deriving from a full vowel — usually from an origi­nally short vowel — in accordance with rules of syllabic stress, the absence of 6 5 Cf. Baer- Strack, Dikduke Ha- Teamim , 34: nx nx n r w y T^ rb entom — i/ e/ \\" and the triad qames patah seghol expresses the vowel 3X3. T^ rb alludes to the term for the vowel a in Arabic grammar. This was already noticed by D. Yellin, History of the Hebrew Grammar ( Jerusalem, 1947), 17 [ Hebrew]: \\" the qames conjoins with the patah and not with the holem, thus tending toward Sephardic pronunciation.\\" In the manuscript another order of the vowels can be found; however, the order given above is necessitated by the theory of the medieval grammarians, as I stated in \\" The Vowels According to R. Sa'adya Ga'on,\\" Lesonenu 18 ( 1953), 91ff. [ Hebrew]. 6 6 On the evidence of Qirqisani, see B. Klar, Studies in Language, Poetry, and Literature ( Jeru­salem, 1954), 327, n. 37 [ Hebrew]. While this is indirect evidence in that it does not describe the pronunciation of qames itself, it is clear evidence, and Yalon's argument against Klar's conclusion ( n. 63 above) is unconvincing. 6 7 See my \\" Some Problems,\\" 247. << Chapter >> Home | TOC | Index t t t
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