Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/20. The Strengthening (Sharpening) of Consonants

Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar  (1909) 
Wilhelm Gesenius
edited and enlarged by Emil Kautzsch
, translated by Arthur Ernest Cowley
The Strengthening (Sharpening) of Consonants

§20. The Strengthening (Sharpening) of Consonants.

a 1. The strengthening of a consonant, indicated by Dageš forte, is necessary and essential (Dageš necessarium)

(a) when the same consonant would be written twice in succession without an intermediate vowel or Šewâ mobile; thus we have נָתַ֫נּוּ for נָתַ֫נְנוּ nāthăn-nû and שַׁ֫תִּי for שַׁ֫תְתִּי.

(b) in cases of assimilation (§19b–f), e.g. יִתֵּן for yintēn.

In both these cases the Dageš is called compensativum.

(c) When it is characteristic of a grammatical form, e.g. לָמַד he has learned, לִמַּד he has taught (Dageš characteristicum). In a wider sense this includes the cases in which a consonant is sharpened by Dageš forte, to preserve a preceding short vowel (which in an open syllable would have to be lengthened by §26e), e.g. גְּמַלִּים camels for gemālîm; cf. §93ee and kk, §93pp.

b This coalescing of two consonants as indicated above does not take place when the first has a vowel or Šewâ mobile. In the latter case, according to the correct Masora, a compound Še should be used, preceded by Methĕg, e.g. הֽוֹלֲלִים, קִֽלֲלַת, &c. (cf. §§10g, 16f). This pointing is not used before the suffix ךָ, e.g. תְּבָֽרֶכְךָ֫ Gn 274, but the first כ‍ has a vocal Še, otherwise the second כ‍ would have Dageš lene. Also when the former of the two consonants has been already strengthened by Dageš forte, it can only have a vocal Še, and any further contraction is therefore impossible. This applies also to cases where Dageš forte has been omitted (see below, m, e.g. הַֽלֲלוּ properly הַלְּלוּ=hal-le. The form חַֽנְנֵ֫נִי ψ 914 (not חָנְנֵ֫נִי) might be explained as imperat. Piʿēl=חַנְּנֵ֫נִי; if it were imperat. Qal the non-contraction of the monosyllabic root would be as strange as it is in שָׁדְדוּ Jer 4928, and in the imperf. יְשָׁדְדֵם Jer 56.

c 2. A consonant is sometimes strengthened merely for the sake of euphony (Dageš euphonicum), and the strengthening is then not so essential. This occurs[1]

(a) when two words are closely united in pronunciation by Dageš forte conjunctivum: (1) in the first letter of a monosyllable or of a word having the tone (or occasionally the counter-tone) on the first syllable,[2] when closely connected with the preceding word, if that word ends in a tone-bearing Qameṣ (־ָה) with Šewâ mobile preceding, or a tone-bearing ־ֶה, —called דְּחִיק (i.e. compressed) by the Jewish grammarians.

The term monosyllable here and in f (by §28e) includes Segholates like כֶּ֫סֶף, שֹׁ֫חַד, &c., as well as forms like פְּרִי, שְׁאֹל, שְׁמוֹ, and even כְּנַ֫עַן. Some limit the use of the Deḥîq to the closest connexion of a monosyllable with a following Begadkephath. However, it also applies to cases like לְכָה־נָּא Nu 226; לֻֽקֳחָה־זֹּאֹת Gn 223; יְצַוֶּה־לָּךְ ψ 9111; and even with Rêš, מַֽעֲנֶה־רַּךְ Pr 151; וּמִֽשְׁנֶה־כֶּ֫סֶף Gn 4315. In all these examples the tone, were it not for the Maqqēph, would be on the ultima of the first word.

d Rem. 1. When זֶה this has Maqqēph after it, a Dageš forte conj. always follows, even if the next word is neither a monosyllable nor has the tone on the initial syllable; thus not only in וְזֶה־שְּׁמוֹ Jer 236, but also in וְזֶה־פִּרְיָהּ Nu 1327, 1 Ch 221. In הִנֶּה֣ נָּאֽ־ Gn 192 (where Maqqēph is represented by a conjunctive accent, §9u, 1 c, and §16b), the Seghôl coincides with the secondary tone-syllable. On the origin of Dag. f. conj. after מַה־ (for מָה) what?, see §37b, c.

e 2. Such cases as גָאֹ֣ה גָּאָ֫ה Ex 151, 21, the 2nd כָּמֹ֖כָה in ver. 11, גָּאָ֑לְתָּ ver. 13, כָּאָ֑בֶן ver. 16, do not belong here. In these the Dageš can only be intended for Dag. lene, see §21d.

f (2) In the first letter of a monosyllable, or of a word with the tone on the first syllable after a closely connected Milʿêl ending in ־ָה or ־ֶה. Such a milʿêl is called by the Jewish grammarians אָתֵי מֵרַֽחִיק (Aram.=Heb. אֹתֶה מֵֽרָחוֹק) veniens e longinquo (in respect of the tone). The attraction of the following tone-syllable by Dageš forte conj. is here also due to the exigencies of rhythm, e.g. שָׁבִ֫יתָ שֶּׁ֫בִי ψ 6819; הוֹשִׁ֫יעָה נָּא ψ 11825 (so ed. Mant., but Ginsburg and Kittel הֽוֹשִׁיעָ֫ה נָּא); הִרְחִ֫יבָה שְּׁאוֹל Is 514; אַ֫רְצָה כְּנַ֫עַן Gn 1131. The Milʿêl may, however, also be due to a subsequent retraction of the tone (nāsôg ʾaḥôr, §29e), as in ע֫שֶֹׁה פְּרִי Gn 111.—The prefixes בְ, ךְ, לְ and וְ alone do not take a Dageš in this case, except in לְךָ, always, and לְּלַיְלָה ψ 193. Such forms as הִשָּׁ֫בְעָה לִּי Gn 2123, מָ֣לְאָה שֹּֽׁחַד ψ 2610, רָ֣חֲקָה מֶּֽנִּי Jb 2116, and even נַ֣עַמְדָה יָּ֑חַד Is 508 (i.e. the cases where the tone is thrown back from the ultima on to the syllable which otherwise would have Metheg), are likewise regarded as Milʿêl. On the other hand, e.g. חָ֣רָה לָךְ Gn 46, not לָּךְ since the first ā of חָרָה could not have Metheg. When words are closely united by Maqqēph the same rules apply as above, except that in the first word Metheg, in the secondary tone, takes the place of the accent, cf. עֽשֶֹׁה־פְּרִי Gn 112; הַנִּֽידָה־נָּא Gn 3230, &c. Finally, the Dageš is used when the attracted word does not begin with the principal tone, but with a syllable having Metheg, הֵ֣מָּה יִּֽירְשׁ֫וּ ψ 379; אֵ֣לֶּה יַּֽעֲקֹ֫ב Is 4421; עָשִׂ֫יתָ קְּעָֽרֹתָיו Ex 2529, provided that the second word does not begin with a Begadkephath letter (hence e.g. אֵ֣לֶּה תֽוֹלְדוֹת Gn 24).

g Rem. Such cases as קָּנֶ֨ךָ Dt 326, and כָּשִׂ֫יתָ 32:15, and נָּעוֹת (so Baer, but not ed. Mant., &c.) 1 S 113 are therefore anomalous; also, because beginning with a Begadkephath, בָּֽאֵלִם Ex 1511 (cf. however above, e); תֵּֽל־ Jos 828; בִּֽזְרוֹעַ ψ 7716; כֶּן־הִיא Jb 527.—It is doubtful whether we should include here those cases in which Dageš forte occurs after a word ending in a toneless û, such as ק֫וּמוּ צְּאוּ Gn 1914, Ex 1231; Ex 1215 (שְּׂאֹר), Dt 224; also לֹּא Gn 192, 1 S 819; לּוֹ Ju 1819, Est 613 (where P. Haupt regards the Dageš as due to the enclitic character of the לו); מְּעָט Ho 810; נֻּ֫דוּ Jer 4930; רְּדוּ 1 S 156. When we explained the Dageš in these examples not as conjunctive, but orthophonic (see above, §13c, and Delitzsch, Psalmen, 4th ed. on ψ 9412 a), we especially had in view those cases in which the consonant with Dageš has a Še. The extension of the use of Dageš to consonants with a strong vowel, seems, however, to indicate that these are cases of the אָתֵי מֵֽרַחִיק, which was required by some Masoretes but not consistently inserted. On the other hand, the Dageš forte in י after a preceding î (ψ 1185, 18), and even after û (ψ 9412), is due to an attempt to preserve its consonantal power; see König, Lehrgeb., p. 54 b.

h (b) When a consonant with Še is strengthened by Dageš forte dirĭmens to make the Še more audible. In almost all cases the strengthening or sharpening can be easily explained from the character of the particular consonant, which is almost always a sonant, sibilant, or the emphatic Qôph; cf. עִנְּבֵי Lv 255, Dt 3232 (for עִנְבֵי); כַּנְּלֽתְךָ Is 331 (where, however, כְּכַלּֽוֹתְךָ is to be read); cf. Na 317, Jb 918, 172, Jo 117 (with מ‍); Is 576 (with ל); Ju 2043,[3] 1 S 16 (with ר); Gn 4910, 17 (and so always in עִקְּבֵי Ju 522, Ct 18 and עִקְּבוֹת ψ 7720, 8952); Ex 1517, Dt 2311, Ju 2032, 1 S 2810 (ק)[4]; Ex 23, Is 583, Am 521, ψ 1413, Pr 413 (צ‍); Pr 2725 (שׂ); Is 528, ψ 3715, Jer 5156, Neh 47 (שׁ). Also, with כ‍ Ho 32; with ב Is 93, Jer 47; with ת 1 S 1011. In many instances of this kind the influence of the following consonant is also observable.

i (c) When a vowel is to be made specially emphatic, generally in the principal pause, by a Dageš forte affectuosum in the following consonant. Thus in a following sonant, Ju 57 (חָדִ֑לּוּ), Jb 2921 (וְיִחֵ֑לּוּ), 22:12 (רָֽמּוּ); Ez 2719 (in נ‍); in ת Is 3312, 4117, Jer 5158, perhaps also Jb 2113 (יֵחַֽתּוּ).

k (d) When the sonants ל, מ‍, נ‍ are strengthened by Dageš fortz firmativum in the pronouns הֵ֫מָּה, הֵ֫נָּה, אֵ֫לֶּה, and in לָ֫מָּה why? cf. also בַּמֶּה, בַּמָּה whereby? כַּמָּה how much? (§102k, l), to give greater firmness to the preceding tone-vowel.

l 3. Omission of the strengthening, or at least the loss of the Dageš forte occurs,

(a) almost always at the end of a word, since here a strengthened consonant cannot easily be sounded.[5] In such cases the preceding vowel is frequently lengthened (§27d), e.g. רֹב multitude, from רבב; עַם people, with a distinctive accent or after the article, עָם, from עמם; but e.g. גַּן garden, בַּת daughter, with the final consonant virtually sharpened. On the exceptions אַתְּ thou (fem.) and נָתַ֫תְּ thou (fem.) hast given Ez 1633, see §10k.

m (b) Very frequently in certain consonants with Šewâ mobile, since the absence of a strong vowel causes the strengthening to be less noticeable. This occurs principally in the case of ו and י (on יְ and יֵּ after the article, see §35b; on יְּ after מַה־, §37b); and in the sonants מ‍,[6] נ‍ and ל; also in the sibilants, especially when a guttural follows (but note Is 629, מְאַסְפָיו, as ed. Mant. and Ginsb. correctly read, while Baer has מְאָֽסְ׳ with compensatory lengthening, and others even מְאָסְ׳; מִשְׁמַנֵּי Gn 2728, 39; מִשְׁלשׁ 38:24 for מִשְּׁ׳, הַֽשְׁלַבִּים 1 K 728; אֶֽשְֽׁקָה־ 1 K 1920 from נָשַׁק, הַֽשְׁפַתַּ֫יִם Ez 4043 and לַֽשְׁפַנִּים ψ 10418; מִשְׁתֵּים Jon 411, הַֽצְפַרְדְּעִים Ex 81 &c.);—and finally in the emphatic ק.[7]

Of the Begadkephath letters, ב occurs without Dageš in מִבְצִיר Ju 82; ג in מִגְבֽוּרָתָם Ez 3230; ד in נִדְחֵי Is 1112 56:8, ψ 1472 (not in Jer 4936), supposing that it is the Participle Niphʿal of נָדַח; lastly, ת in תִּתְצוּ Is 2210. Examples, עִוְרִים, וַיְהִי (so always the preformative יְ in the imperf. of verbs), מִלְמַ֫עְלָה, לַֽמְנַצֵּחַ, הִנְנִי, הַֽלֲלוּ, מִלְאוּ, כִּסְאִי, יִשְׂאוּ, יִקְחוּ, מַקְלוֹת, מִקְצֵה, &c. In correct MSS. the omission of the Dageš is indicated by the Rāphè stroke (§ 14) over the consonant. However, in these cases, we must assume at least a virtual strengthening of the consonant (Dageš forte implicitum, see §22c, end).

(c) In the Gutturals, see §22b.

n Rem. 1. Contrary to rule the strengthening is omitted (especially in the later Books), owing to the lengthening of the preceding short vowel, generally Ḥireq (cf. mīle for mille), e.g. יְחִיתַ֑ן he makes them afraid, for יְחִתֵּן Hb 217 (where, however, it is perhaps more correct to suppose, with König, a formation on the analogy of verbs ע״וּ, and moreover to read יְחִיתֶ֫ךָ with the LXX), זִיקוֹת Is 5011 for זִקּוֹת.

o 2. Very doubtful are the instances in which compensation for the strengthening is supposed to be made by the insertion of a following נ‍. Thus for מָֽעֻזְנֶ֫יהָ Is 2311, read מָֽעֻזֶּ֫יהָ (or מְעוֹנֶ֫יהָ); and for תָ֫מְנוּ La 322, read תַּ֫מּוּ. In Nu 2313 קָבְנוֹ is not an instance of compensation (see §67o, end).

  1. Cf. Baer, ‘De primarum vocabulorum literarum dagessatione,’ in his Liber Proverbiorum, Lpz. 1880. pp. vii–xv; F. Prätorius, ‘Über den Ursprung des Dag. f. conjunctivum,’ in ZAW. 1883, p. 17 ff. (ascribed to an original assimilation of ת or נ‍).
  2. לֵאמֹר alone, although having the tone on the ultima, invariably takes the Dageš forte conj. when משֶׁה with a conjunctive accent precedes, Ex 610,29, Ex 1524, &c.
  3. The ordinary reading הִרְדִיפֻ֫הוּ, where ד is without Dageš, is only intelligible if the ר has Dageš.
  4. Also in ψ 4510 read בְּיִקְּרוֹתֶ֫יךָ with Baer and Ginsburg, following Ben Asher, and in Pr 3017 לְיִקְּהַת (Ben Naphthali בִּיקְּ׳ and לִיקְּ׳).
  5. So in Latin fel (for fell), gen. fellis; mel, mellis; os, ossis. In Middle High German the doubling of consonants never takes place at the end of a word, but only in the middle (as in Old High German), e g. val (Fall), gen. valles; swam (Schwamm, &c., Grimm, Deutsche Gramm., 2nd ed., i. 383.
  6. Dageš forte is almost always omitted in מְ‍ when it is the prefix of the participle Piʿel or Puʿal, hence ψ 1043 הַֽמְקָרֶה who layeth the beams, but הַמְּקָרֶה the roof Ec 1018 (cf. הַמְּלָאכָה the work, &c.).
  7. According to some also in ט in תִּטְעִי Is 1710; but see Baer on the passage.