October 26, 2012 3:23 pm at 3:23 pm #605516
Which is the proper pronunciation for chOlam/ choylam?
It seems to me that people saying chOLam are people with a more “out of town” /BT background
Whereas non-out-of-towners are taught to say choylam in yeshiva
Then of course all girls are taught to say chOlam no matter where they’re from.
So which is the right way?October 26, 2012 9:23 pm at 9:23 pm #901887
Right? I don’t know? The Litvish long a sound for it has a much longer Mesorah than the Yeshivish diphthong oi sound, which is saying something. The long o sound is probably technically more correct, though I don’t know whether it’s worth changing a Mesorah over.October 26, 2012 9:45 pm at 9:45 pm #901888
There are different legitimate havoros. Oberland (sometimes called Chasidish), Litvish, Sefardic, Teimani and other.
Despite what some people tell you (and you’ll likely see such comments here), that their way is “the only right way”, the different havaros are all correct for the person with that mesorah.
Eilu V’EiluOctober 26, 2012 9:59 pm at 9:59 pm #901889
Dikduk experts will tell u it’s neither. Just pronounce it like your Mesorah tells you to. Historically, most linguists believe the Teimani pronounciation of Hebrew is closest to the original. They pronounce it with a sound that doesn’t appear in the English language so it’s rather difficult to type, but it sounds like something between an ‘uh’ as in ‘nut’, and ‘oo’ as in ‘boot.’ Again, it’s neither of those, but somewhere in between, and you can’t write it in English. Just do what your family does.October 27, 2012 4:53 pm at 4:53 pm #901890
Please see Rav Binyomin Bamberger’s sefer, “Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz”, vol. 1, pages 233-264. He traces the history of the pronunciation of the cholam from the gemara through the rishonim and achronim. It is very thoroughly written, and the conclusion is very clear cut.October 27, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm #901891
Your question only applies to ashkenazim because sephardim all pronounce it cholam.
My husband says that the German pronunciation is more accurate and only pronounces an “oy” if it is a choylam maleh (with a vav) rather than for a cholam chaser (just a dot over the next letter).
I wouldn’t generalize as to where or how a person learned to determine from how they pronounce this vowel. I’ve heard lots of frum people pronounce it cholam even though they are pretty yeshivish. Why does it matter what their background is unless you plan on pegging them into a particular stereotype.October 28, 2012 1:19 am at 1:19 am #901892October 28, 2012 2:12 am at 2:12 am #901893
oldman- His name is Hamburger.
I heard his lecture on the topic and his conclusion is probably correct.October 28, 2012 2:25 am at 2:25 am #901894
In the opinion of this author/rabbi Hamburger, what does he think is the correct pronunciation and why?October 28, 2012 2:46 am at 2:46 am #901895
That sefardim and Germans both pronounce it close to “oh”, and the yud is its own letter in the aleph-beis (and Ashkenaz girls are still taught “oh” instead of “oy”), it is quite clear that the correct pronunciation is “oh” rather than “oy”.October 28, 2012 2:51 am at 2:51 am #901896
The real issue is how the Teimanim pronounce it. That is the real, true, and only correct pronounciation. All the others, including the Sefardic and German “oh”, are incorrect.October 28, 2012 4:10 am at 4:10 am #901897
I have learned a lot here in this thread and the one that Moderator-42 referenced above. Just coming into Orthodox Judaism, I had thought that the “oy” pronunciations were a New York City thing!!!October 28, 2012 6:52 am at 6:52 am #901899
Right you are, my typo, it is indeed Hamburger. I have the sefer, and found reading it very interesting and thorough.October 28, 2012 9:01 am at 9:01 am #901902
From what I’ve heard, teimanim pronounce it “oh” or very close to it. But it’s definitely not “oy”.
I don’t understand why this and other distortions of our mesorah are intentionally and continuously perpetrated in schools, etc.
For another example, take the words Yom Tov, and listen to how so many people pronounce it: something like “yumtiv” or, worse, “yuntiff”. (For a third option, ayein 8th Day’s “Yalili”, where it is purportedly pronounced “yumtev”) I’ve even seen people write it out “yuntiff”! This is absurd!
If “oy” were the correct pronunciation, which it cannot be, of course, the popular pronunciation would be “yoim toiv”, which I, personally, have never heard, though I have heard “yumtiv” many times.
These distortions also, in my humble opinion, shed light on the different nekudos being switched/distorted in certain sects of Judaism.
If one takes the time to listen and to think, it is very clear that there have been distortions and gross inaccuracies introduced into the havaros of many sects of Judaism, and it’s long overdue that, by now, everyone speak at least close to authentic as possible and to stop mis-educating the next generation. Why is anybody still saying “yumtiv” and “oy” instead of the correct “oh” for cholom (and “oo” for kamatz, just like many who say either “oh” or “oy”, depending on when you catch them for cholam, especially when they aren’t 100% consistent in their pronunciations across letters with the same vowels)?
I’m not advocating everyone should re-learn the entire aleph-bais and differentiate between a gimmel with and without a dagesh like Teimanim do. But at least get the vowels right, and that includes maintaining a separate kamatz and patach, unlike certain sects of Judaism from all parts of the world.
It makes no sense to me.October 28, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm #901903
Although ashkenazim pronounce a “vav” as an english V, I believe everyone agrees that a W sound is more authentic. That having been said, a long O is almost definitely more authentic than “oy.” The cholam is a vav, and the long O sound ends with a “w” whereas “oy” ends with a “y”
That having been said, I personally asked Rav Moshe Shternbuch what someone who grew up saying “Oh” and now lives in a community where “oy” is accepted should do, and he answered that you should pronounce it how you learned it. I presume the same would apply if you grew up saying “oy.”October 28, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm #901904
It makes no sense to me.
Ergo, everyone who does those things must be wrong.October 28, 2012 1:05 pm at 1:05 pm #901905
Everyone must start using the Teimani pronunciations for all speaking. It is the only one true authentic way. All other are inauthentic.October 28, 2012 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm #901906
HaKatan, since you say everyone should pronounce vowels correctly, are you planning to adopt Teimani pronunciation of vowels? I davened in a Teimani synagogue recently. Their segol sounded like my patach, and their shva sounded like my segol.October 28, 2012 6:20 pm at 6:20 pm #901907
Englishman, while the Teimani pronounciation is the most authentic, they retained it because they adhered to their Mesorah. Thats what everyone should do: not switch up their Mesorah. And this is coming from a Teimani.October 28, 2012 7:12 pm at 7:12 pm #901908
Curiosity: Similar to your comment, everyone should keep their oy or oh, whatever their mesorah may be.October 28, 2012 7:37 pm at 7:37 pm #901909
“OY” seems to be Yeshivish in nature. The cholam is the most authentic pronunciation from the sephardim, who are widely held to be closest to the original. If it were Choylam, then that would have been the mesorah all along, I would tend to think.October 28, 2012 7:39 pm at 7:39 pm #901910
Curiosity, Exactly.October 29, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am #901911
There’s a difference between holding on to your mesorah and holding on to a shibush. My “yumtev” illustration from earlier should indicate how absurd this is.
If you listen to Jewish music recordings of ashkenaz kids in England, you will hear their pronunciation of a sh’va as a kamatz. This seems to be a local/dialectical issue, and not that they have a different mesorah than other ashkenazim.
Teimanim, despite the length of their mesorah, have still lived that mesorah in an Arab country. So it’s not unlikely that their mesorah has been, over the years, adapted to the local dialect.
I would guess that this is also how Sefardim (Persians being notable exceptions) came to pronounce both patach and kamatz as a patach. Listen to the languages and dialects of their host countries.
This is why I agree with “Curiosity” that people should not switch to Teimani, since there’s no guarantee that Moshe Rabbeinu spoke that way at Har Sinai, and I would think, in my humble opinion, that he did not speak quite that way, though they may be closest in many, if not all, ways to the original.
Other than some Chassidim and Teimanim, everyone across the spectrum of galus (i.e. German, “Ashkenaz” and Sefard) all pronounce every vowel similarly, if not the same, except for some Ashkenazim who, for some reason, pronounce the cholam as a choylam and many sefardim who pronounce both kamatz and patach as patach.
Since both the “choylam” and Chassidic havara of swapping the vowels and mileil/milra are recent inventions (like “yumtev” or “yuntiff”), why are these not “rolled back” to *their* original and why are succeeding generations being taught questionable, if not mistaken, havaros?October 29, 2012 12:10 am at 12:10 am #901912
HaKatan: You’re way off base. The so-called “Chasidic havara” is not an exclusively Chasidic havara (i.e. Oberlanders [who are not Chasidic] share that same havara) and the so-called Chasidic havara long predates the Baal Shem Tov (who probably never spoke with the Chasidic havara.)
And the Oberland/Chasidic havara shares the choylam (as opposed to cholem) pronunciation with many of the Ashkenazic Litvaks.October 29, 2012 12:36 am at 12:36 am #901913
TLKY, I take your word for that, but, the fact remains that nearly everyone pronounces all the vowels almost the same and there are too many current variations for it to all be authentic.
My example from England was, I thought, an excellent illustration. I’m not aware that they have a mesorah to say a sh’va as a kamatz; it’s obviously a dialectical issue that came via their exposure to their host country.
As well the example of yumtev and yuntiff: again, liShitasam, it should be yoimtoiv. (As pronounced, “yumtev” is actually closer to a cholam than choylam.) So where did yumtev come in? Again, it must be a local corruption.
So these other variations, like choylam, also are likely attributable to the same thing.
Is this not clear? Luhavdil, look at the different pronunciations in American English? LA, Chicago, NY, FL, TX, et al. have some pretty noticeable differences. But, for Lishon HaKodesh, we’re talking about mesorah, not culture.
So why are these variations still being perpetuated?October 29, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am #901914
HaKatan: If your theory has any merit, then what you are describing is simply different dialects or accents. Much like the differences between Yankees and Southern American (or, perhaps, American English and British English).
And neither Southern vs. Yankee (or British vs. American) can be said to be more “correct” than the other. It is simply a difference in dialect and/or accent.
Same idea with the differences in how various Yidden speak Loshon Kodesh. Simply a difference in dialect/accent. One cannot be declared more authentic than another.
Do the Southerners have it wrong or is it the Yankees that are all messed up?October 29, 2012 4:06 am at 4:06 am #901915
Litvishe K”Y, actually British IS more authentic than American English, as it came first.October 29, 2012 4:28 am at 4:28 am #901916
Which is more “authentic” between Southern and Yankee pronunciation?October 29, 2012 4:38 am at 4:38 am #901917
As an aside, linguistics as an area of study is endlessly fascinating to me…I know that is not really the subject of this thread (sorry!), but every time there is a language discussion anywhere, I am all ears 🙂October 29, 2012 5:36 am at 5:36 am #901918
Neither Yankees nor Southerners have it wrong.
The German “ow” versus the ashkenaz “oh”, for example, can be described as a different dialect and neither is any more correct than the other as they are essentially the same.
But when it gets to an “oy” instead of “oh”, and “yuntiff” instead of “yom tov”, and vowels being completely switched around (and perhaps even in the case of a kamatz being practically erased as a distinct vowel from patach), it is long past being considered a different dialect.October 29, 2012 9:42 am at 9:42 am #901919
do you say chumosh, or chumish?
do you say poroshas vayeira or parshas vayeira?
do you say haftara or haft-oh-ra?
etc etc etc
Basically, we speak in a convenient way and not necessarily technically correct. The same goes for Good Yontiff and not yoim toiv, or mazel tov, and not mazol toiv.
When we say shema, you HAVE to be medakdek, not when talking to your friend.
(So everyone get a life, and talk about something real.)October 29, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am #901920
And now to get things really going… The answer is none. Our havoros (including Teimani, hate to break it to you guys…) are so distorted from the original that I doubt Moshe Rabbeinu would have any idea what any of us were on about, whether we say oh, ow, oy, ou, or whatever. That being said, some hovoros have a mesora and some don’t. Oh, ow, ou have mesoras that go back over a thousand years, oy is just plain made up. Having said that, I was taught ow but say oy due to societal influences. I know it’s wrong but can’t change back however hard I try, I automatically slip back to oy. My wife and I have decided, however, that any kids we have will be ow-ers as is our mesora.October 29, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am #901921
I know a guy called yosef who learnt in Brisk – by haGaon R’ Dovid Soloveitchik, and every time he said his name was yosef r’ Dovid said voss? YAYsaf.
They say that R’ Ovadia Yosef once met r’ dovid, and asked him if he says “yismach yisroel be’aisov!!!”October 29, 2012 1:02 pm at 1:02 pm #901922
just my hapence, You cannot say that OY is made up! in shabbos morning shachris we say Yismach Moshe. It was written as a rhyme. That’s why we add Koroso LOY even though it isn’t grammatically correct. Now look carefully, it only works if you say the cholam as OY.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Bottom line is, say it as you were taught and dont change. If you do, you could be passeling all your krias shma’s from the previous years.
The Rosh Beis Din of Johannesburg, Rav Kurtstag, was brought up in Tel aviv, and was taught to read in the ha’avara of Tel aviv, which is most similar to sfardi. I dont remember who the godol was, but he was told to keep to it.October 29, 2012 1:37 pm at 1:37 pm #901923
Aaron Chaim, what you say makes sense in theory but is absurd in practice. How is it any more convenient to use a gross distortion than it is to pronounce the word correctly?
How is “chumish” any more convenient than “chumash”, and “yontiff” for “yom tov”? It’s not, unless you’re simply used to using a distorted nonsensical pronunciation (“yuntiff”, minei ubeih, anyways makes no sense as you’re using two different pronunciations for the same “oh” vowel) and weren’t taught to say it right and are too lazy to change to the correct way. It is no more convenient than to say it right.
Incidentally, Mazel Tov is actually a “convenient” way of saying “mazal tov” (patach then kamatz).
So, while you are correct that you can, if you want to, for whatever reason, speak informally however it is convenient, the reality is that people are taught to, and still do, daven with these havaros.
Speaking of davening, there are people who say one or more of Hashem’s names with a cholam but other words with a Choylam. This is while davening, not while talking out of “convenience” informally.
Once again, why are people still being taught (to daven with) these questionable havaros?
“just my hapence”, I cannot imagine ever using “oy” instead of “oh”, in davening, no matter where I live. Why would you corrupt your davening with a made-up havara just because society does it? I understand the influence and being used to it, etc. but why don’t you speak to your Rav and convince others to join you in davening properly?October 29, 2012 2:20 pm at 2:20 pm #901924
Considering the numerous Gedolei Yisroel on the record as using the Choylem pronunciation, it is clear that this is the correct mesorah for those who are talmidim and followers of these many Gedolim.
I’ll take the Gedolei Yisroel over internet posters’ theories any day of the year.October 29, 2012 3:15 pm at 3:15 pm #901925
HaKatan, yontiff is clearly easier to say than yom tov. With both n and t, you touch the tip of the tongue to the alveolar ridge. morewords.com lists only 30 words that have an mt combination, while there are “more than 2000” words with nt (2000 is the point at which the website throws up its hands).
Another advantage of yontiff is that when you see the pope on Yom Tov, you can say “Gut yontiff, pontiff.”October 29, 2012 3:37 pm at 3:37 pm #901926
Aaron Chaim – I hate to break it to you, but if two words end in the same vowel then they will rhyme regardless of how you pronounce that vowel: “yismach mowshe bematnas chelkow ki eved ne’mon koroso low” rhymes just as much as “yismach moyshe bematnas chelkoy ki eved ne’mon koroso loy” or “yismach mohshe bematnas chelkoh ki eved ne’emon koroso loh”… And I don’t smoke, peace pipes or otherwise.
HaKatan – I didn’t ‘corrupt’ my davening, just that the ‘oy’ kind of crept into my havoro by some kind of societal osmosis. It wasn’t an intentional thing, just my peer group all were ‘oy-ers’ and I picked it up. I was very, very young at the time. I’ve been trying to change back since my teens, it just doesn’t seem to be working…
Englishman – mesorah does not go after which Godol you choose to ‘follow’. It is something that is handed down mi’dor dor within families and kehilos, not taken on willy-nilly based on what your favourite Godol’s family did.October 29, 2012 3:59 pm at 3:59 pm #901927
And ‘Sinai’ is not a pircha because there is also ‘Shabbos’ and ‘Sorosecho’ that do not fit in with the rhyme-scheme. Furthermore, not all girsas have the ‘loy/low/loh’ and simply have ‘nostato’, meaning that out of 8 lines that supposedly rhyme half don’t. Which I think rather puts paid to your thesis.
History is also not your friend here as Yismach Moshe was written in Bovel where they certainly did not say ‘oy’.October 29, 2012 4:00 pm at 4:00 pm #901928
*’nosato’*October 29, 2012 5:09 pm at 5:09 pm #901929
JMH: You missed the point. The point is that considering that so many Gedolei Yisroel did — and do — pronounce it as a Choilem, it is clear and obvious that Choilem is a correct Mesorah.
I’m not advocating anyone switch from cholem to choilem. I’m saying that everyone is correct to stick with whatever their custom is. Whether it is cholem or whether it is choilem.October 29, 2012 5:43 pm at 5:43 pm #901930
just my hapence
What about har Sinoy, which no one argues is pronounced OY?October 29, 2012 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #901931
Concerning the Cholam, my pronunciation (family Masorah) is “oh”. “Oy” would be a vav maleh followed by a yud as in the word Mavoy (Mishna Eruvin 1). On that topic, it seems that the soft Bet would be pronunced closer to a “v” sound than a soft “b” sound. If that is true, then it might imply that the Vav really ought to be pronunced as a Waw sound. And this is the conclusion of Sefer Yetzirah. The Vav being pronunced as a “v” sound is most likely due to European influences (French, German and Spanish) whereas Jews from Arab lands retained the “w” sound. Arabic has a similar construct in its alphabet.October 29, 2012 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #901932
Englishman – I was merely pointing out that you cannot say that because Gedolim do it, it is correct for their “talmidim and folllowers”.
Aaron Chaim – I believe I’ve answered that point…October 29, 2012 8:18 pm at 8:18 pm #901933
Anyone pronouncing the Choulom as an “oy” sound unless the Choulom is followed by a “Yud” is ignorant of the rules of correct Hebrew pronunciation. There are only 2 authentic & hence correct pronunciations:- 1) “Oh” as in Go. 2) “Ow” as in How or House.
Anyone who is ignorant of this rule of reading Hebrew should urgently read Rav Hamburger’s learned & intricate details & explanation of this fact; Urgently:- so by next Kerias Shema, you will at least fulfill a Toroh obligation correctly.October 30, 2012 3:14 am at 3:14 am #901934
Incidentally, I have heard a number of very prominent people use “oh” for cholam during davening, though they use “oy” for cholam in learning/colloquially.
It is very clear and obvious that despite what you may hear, “choylam” is a shibush and not correct (for davening, etc.), as posted above.
“147” put it better and succinctly.October 30, 2012 3:40 am at 3:40 am #901935
In fact, it is far from clear and obvious as such. Indeed, what is clear and obvious is that choylam is very much correct. This is despite what some internet pundits might want you to believe.
In addition to whatever other points where previously made, the mere fact that so very many Gedolei Yisroel pronounce it as choylem — for davening, no less — is in itself one of the best proofs of this.October 30, 2012 9:51 am at 9:51 am #901936
Englishman – What Gedolim say is in absolutely no way any kind of proof whatsoever. For example, many Chasidishe Gedolim do not differentiate between mil’ra and mil’eil which is crucial in Loshon Hakodesh (the classic example being booh and booh…). As much as you may like to think differently, not all Gedolim are masters of dikduk, and, like other people, simply speak how they were brought up speaking, even during davening. The fact that these Gedolim were brought up saying ‘oy’ does not preclude the fact that it is, historically speaking, a recent invention. Their upbringing is no more of a raya than anybody else’s. The fact is that somehow this pronunciation became quite widespread and some people who then learned this havoro had children who became Gedolim. And davening is not a raya anyway as one can daven b’chol loshon…October 30, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm #901937
just my hapence: That they use this pronounciation in davening proves it is a 100% valid and kosher pronounciation in tefila. Regrdless of all the theories of its origins.October 30, 2012 1:07 pm at 1:07 pm #901938
And neither Southern vs. Yankee (or British vs. American) can be said to be more “correct” than the other. It is simply a difference in dialect and/or accent.
Just a linguistic note:
An accent refers to the influence of another language on the speaker’s pronunciation. Example: the speaker for whom Yiddish is the mamaloshen who speaks English with a Yiddish accent. This is not a technical explanation, but it seems to be more of a pronunciation issue, that the person cannot replicate the sounds of the second language as a native speaker would. While I have a good ear for languages, and am told my accent is “mitsuyan,” I cannot pronounce the Sephardic “ayin” as a native Hebrew speaker. And hubby left England 25 years ago but to our ears sounds like he just stepped off the plane. Some people just cannot replicate the precise way the language is spoken elsewhere. Many children raised in bilingual homes (example: my Dominican neighbors) can switch pronunciations easily, speaking English with no Spanish accent.
A dialect is a regional variation of a language, hence Southern American vs. British vs. Aussie, etc. This includes variations in vocabulary (truck/lorry), phrasing (Hi how are you/G’day mate), and specific regionalisms. Example: for “You” plural there’s “y’all” in the South, and “you lot” in England [PLUS: in Pittsburgh, people will say “yinz” or “yunz”]. Dialects can vary within a relatively small geographical area. Examples: how the “a” is pronounced in “wAter.” Pittsburgh- “a” as in “fAther” or “o” as in “cot,” New York- “a” as in “sAw” or “o” as in “office,” Philly- “oo” as in “foot.” I think this is the basis of the “chOlam” vs. “chOYlam” controversy.
Also: I don’t know whether Black American speech is a different accent or dialect! Remember “Ebonics”?
More to the point:
- sad and shameful
that Jews ridicule or trivialize other Jews based on accent or dialect. Don’t think it doesn’t happen. I think G-d hears us however we speak to Him. We need to speak together to Him, am echad v’lev echad.
End of lecture and end of sermon.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.