Page:Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar (1910 Kautzsch-Cowley edition).djvu/59

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ii. Mouth-sounds:






1. Mutes and Spirants: Palatal

















2. Sibilants:



שׁ שׂ ס


3. Sonants:


ו י

ר ל

נ‍ מ‍

 [6q]  Rem. 1. The meaning of the letters at the top is, w. = weak, m. = middle hard, e. = emphatic. Consonants which are produced by the same organ of speech are called homorganic (e.g. ג and כ‍ as palatals), consonants whose sound is of the same nature homogeneous (e.g. ו and י as semi-vowels). On their homorganic character and homogeneity depends the possibility of interchange, whether within Hebrew itself or with the kindred dialects. In such cases the soft sound generally interchanges with the soft, the hard with the hard, &c. (e.g. ד = ז, ת = שׁ, ט = צ‍). Further transitions are not, however, excluded, as e.g. the interchange of ת and ק (ת = כ = ק). Here it is of importance to observe whether the change takes place in an initial, medial, or final letter; since e.g. the change in a letter when medial does not always prove the possibility of the change when initial. That in certain cases the character of the consonantal sound also influences the preceding or following vowel will be noticed in the accidence as the instances occur.

 [6r]  Rem. 2. Very probably in course of time certain nicer distinctions of pronunciation became more and more neglected and finally were lost. Thus e.g. the stronger ע rg, which was known to the LXX (see above, e), became in many cases altogether lost to the later Jews; by the Samaritans and Galileans ע and ח were pronounced merely as א, and so in Ethiopic, ע like א, ח like h, ש like s.

 [6s]  Rem. 3. The consonants which it is usual to describe especially as weak, are those which readily coalesce with a preceding vowel to form a long vowel, viz. א, ו, י (as to ה, cf. §23k), or those which are most frequently affected by the changes described in §19b–l, as again א, ו, י, and ן, and in certain cases ה and ל; finally the gutturals and ר for the reason given in §22b and q.

§7. The Vowels in General, Vowel Letters and Vowel Signs.

 [7a1. The original vowels in Hebrew, as in the other Semitic tongues, are a, i, u. E and o always arise from an obscuring or contraction of these three pure sounds, viz. ĕ by modification from ĭ or ă; short ŏ from ŭ; ê by contraction from ai (properly ay); and ô sometimes by modification (obscuring) from â, sometimes by contraction from au (properly aw).[1]

In Arabic writing there are vowel signs only for a, i, u; the combined sounds ay and aw are therefore retained uncontracted and pronounced as diphthongs (ai and au), e.g. שׁוֹט Arab. sauṭ, and עֵינַ֫יִם Arab. ‛ainain. It was

  1. In proper names the LXX often use the diphthongs αἰ and αὐ where the Hebrew form has ê or ô. It is, however, very doubtful whether the αἰ and αὐ of the LXX really represent the true pronunciation of Hebrew of that time; see the instructive statistics given by Kittel in Haupt’s SBOT., on 1 Ch 12, 20.