October 14, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am #610886RedlegParticipant
I remember reading somewhere that the correct pronunciation of the letter Tav was closer to the “TH” sound in “This” than to the “T” or “S” sounds currently used which would explain some of the earlier transliterations like “B’nai Brith.”October 14, 2013 1:18 pm at 1:18 pm #979000
Correct meaning what was said at Sinai? Probably close to a “th” (as in “with”; the “th” as in “the” is a Dalet). Correct according to your Mesorah? Whatever your Mesorah is. There were 12 paths through the Yam Suf, all of which were the same. So too as long as you have a legitimate Mesorah you can pronounce it any way you want. (The current Yeshivish “oy” for a Cholam, which started about 100 years ago, may not constitute a legitimate Mesorah. The Litvish “A” for a Cholam, on the other hand, certainly does.)October 14, 2013 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm #979001
I heard a theory that in Eastern Europe, people can’t pronounce the “th” sound. That’s why instead of saying “thank you very much” people from Eastern Europe will say “sank you very much.” It’s possible that the “s” sound for the sav only developed because Jews from that part of the world lost the ability to pronounce the “th” sound.October 14, 2013 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm #979002Geordie613Participant
I have heard baalei keriah (who do not lisp) reading tav as ‘th’, while samech and sin are read ‘s’. One of them is HaRav Binyomin Finkel Shlit”a (of the Mir).October 14, 2013 1:58 pm at 1:58 pm #979003
What is the correct pronounciation of “come” or “light”? You do know the “e” at the end of “come” is pronounced (just ask Chaucer – it’s written for a reason). You do know that “gh” is pronounced similar to the “ch” (the ? ) in Chanukah.
Languages evolve. Even the accepted international standard for English, how the Queen speaks, evolves (as has her accent if one compares her speech in the 1930s and 1940s to how she speaks in public today). The correct prounciation of American English was largely determined at Appomattox in 1865 – Ohio rather than Boston or Richmond – though most of the English speaking world considers American English to be in error.
If you are Ashkenazi, the correct pronounciation of ? is like an English “s”. If you are Israeli sefardi, it is probably like a “t”, and while it was probably a “th” in ancient times, only a handful of Jews (e.g. Temanim) pronounce it that way.
But if you still pronounce “come” and “kom-eh” and “knights” as “k-nicht” (“ch” as a gutteral), feel free to try to speak Hebrew that way some anthropological linguisists think it might have been pronounced in the past. However living languages change over time, and Hebrew has always been a living language (no matter what the secular fanatics claim).October 14, 2013 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #979004
akuperma- why is language any different than any other area of halacha? I mean, we are trying to fulfill G-d’s will… in essence we are trying to recreate the Torah that was given to Moshe at Sinai. Yes we believe halacha evolves in the sense that it needs to address new situations, but we don’t believe G-d’s will evolves or changes over time. Shouldn’t language be the same? Shouldn’t we be trying to speak the same way that HKB”H spoke to Moshe at Sinai?October 14, 2013 2:51 pm at 2:51 pm #979005
simcha613: If Ha-Shem was fanatic about pronounciation, then Humash would have included a guide to pronounciation. From the fact that it didn’t, we can conclude that there is nothing wrong with diverse accents (and if you are fanatic about being a litvak, or a galicianer/southeast or a teimani, or whatever – you lose — HaShem approves of all Yidden no matter how they prounce ?).
Based on Shemos, the number of Jews in Egypt was about the same as the number of people in Brooklyn – and Brooklyn has at least a dozen major accents. Even among frum Jews, they don’t all speak English the same.
The people who get all snotty about accents are fools of bigots. Torah is NOT about whether you can distinguish between the absense of the dagesh is ? or ?, not to mention all the other issues.
And assuming the whole of the oral tradition was transmitted to Moshe on Sinai, that suggests something other than what we call “speech” (perhaps something like telepathy, since I doubt anyone could say and understand so much in the time allowed – remember you are talking about the total oral tradition including what we’ve forgotten over the millenia). Meaning, the download from Ha-Shem to Moshe probably didn’t involve the IPA and mispacing a dagest here and there.October 15, 2013 8:22 pm at 8:22 pm #979006ItcheSrulikMember
Sam2, Redleg: A ? ????? is universally pronounced as a “T” (except for certain people who only ever saw some words without nikkud and never heard them. Don’t laugh, it’s rude.) The variations come in with the tav refuyah. As far as we can tell, most likely it was originally pronounced as the TH in with. Many communities still preserve that version but honestly there are much worse errors to complain about especially in davening like ?? ???? ??? ?????? with a kamatz on the bet.
akuperma: Your argument doesn’t really hold water. It’s almost equivalent to saying “if Hashem was a fanatic about eruvin, then Humash would have included a guide to eruvin.”October 15, 2013 8:59 pm at 8:59 pm #979007Rosh ChamParticipant
or saying YisKa-dAIl instead of YisGadAlOctober 15, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm #979008
It is unknowable even how people such as George Washington or Robert E. Lee, sounded. The only way to guess at past speech was from mistakes people made, or parodies, or attempts at transliteration into different languages – and that’s all really guessing. No one can possibly know what Moshe Rabeinu sounded like (though he probably had an Egyptian accent since he grew up among Egyptians), or what Avraham Aveinu sounded like (though compated to his children, grandchildren and great-children, he probably sounded like someone from Mesopotamia), and Kal v-Homer no one could know what Ha-Shem sounds like (and yes I know that ever Litvak thinks he has a Vilna accent, and every Hasid is sure thinks he prounces “oo” and “e”, and “kametz” as “oh”).October 15, 2013 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm #979009
Akuperma: You’re still being silly. Why wouldn’t the proper pronunciation be part of the Mesorah just like vowels are?October 16, 2013 5:36 am at 5:36 am #979010Avi KParticipant
Akuperma, incorrect pronunciation can lead to big problems. For example, one who pronounces ???? ????????in keriat shema ???? ????????. Similarly, there are those who pronounce the “ch” sound “k” or “h” and wind up saying “mekalkel olam b’hesed”.October 16, 2013 8:10 am at 8:10 am #979011old manParticipant
Teimanim pronounce the ? as in “through” , not as in “the” or “with”. The vibrating “th” as in “the” belongs to the letter ? without a dagesh.October 16, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am #979012blockheadParticipant
How do you pronounce Chaucer?October 16, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm #979013twistedParticipant
As a baal koreh always seeking to improve and perfect my reading, I long ago started using proper throated ayins and resh, then worked on dagesh hazak, and at present I am working on the proper beged kefes rafehl. Bet and Peh, which involve only lips and not teeth should reasonably not need teeth in the rafeh case. Rafeh gimmel as a gh and not as the teimani jh, and rafeh dalet as dz or dth. The aspiration of the dalet makes the halacha of Ehad in shema more mashma than those that erroneously pronounce that dalet with a shva nah. While you are at it, there are nineteen soft daleds in kriash shema, plus the kinui we use for Hashem’s name also is with daled rafeh. It would also stand to reason, thate there should be no redundancies, so sin, shin samech and kuf are all problematic. I have seen the inverse of the litvish lack of shin in some sfardi minhag as the lack of sin, and those that have a soft and hard very gutteral kuf.October 16, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm #979014
Shibboleth or Sibboleth. ??? ???? ???? ?????? ????.October 16, 2013 2:00 pm at 2:00 pm #979015blockheadParticipant
The resh is not guttural. It’s a dental. Probably a trill or a flap, but even the American “R” is closer.
The soft Gimmel, linguistically, probably sounds like the Israeli Reish.
Kuf is probably closer to the “QU” (and if you notice, in Israel the transliteration for Kuf is Q).
There are many sources that point to the fact that Sin and Samech are the same letters, and indeed, are interchangeable.
Think “Va’eshoch in the Akeida or “Gal Sa’adutha”. Both in the chumash with Sins, but we spell with a samech.October 16, 2013 2:30 pm at 2:30 pm #979016
In response to: “Akuperma: You’re still being silly. Why wouldn’t the proper pronunciation be part of the Mesorah just like vowels are? “
The proof is that diverse groups of frum Jews pronounce Hebrew differently. If the pronounication of the letters and nekudos were part of the mesorah, we would not have distinct accents among frum Jews, i.e. a Sefardi would sound like a Hasid (southeastern dialect), and a Teimani would sound like a Litvak (northeastern Europe dialect). This proves that the diversity of pronounciations is either a tolerable thing or a good thing, but definitely not a bad thing. It also shows that those that want to establish their pronounciation (according to their family’s or community’s traditions) as the “official” or “correct” one, are seriously misguided. Ha-Shem made it clear there is one Torah – but did not make it clear there is one way pronounce the last letter of our alphabet.
And I’m not discussing the Israeli/Zionist dialect, which is merely a combination of the obvious “mistakes” of all the dialects (not distinguishing Aleph and Ayin, or Daled and Thaled, or Saf and Taf, or Patach and Kametz, etc.), and actually demonstrates a well known rule that living languages tend to simplify over time.October 16, 2013 2:32 pm at 2:32 pm #979017
twisted- while I agree that in general there should be no redundancies in letters, I find it interesting how in many piyutim that go in alphabetical order, many authors sometime use a word that begins with sin instead of a samech. For example, Keil Adon in Shabbos morning davening. That seems to imply that somehow samech and sin are interchangeable… at least the authors of those piyutim thought so.October 16, 2013 3:05 pm at 3:05 pm #979018
Akuperma: Machlokes is an indication that something wasn’t part of the Mesorah? Well then.October 16, 2013 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm #979019R.T.Participant
Everyone agrees that Tav with a dagesh is pronounced as the letter “T” as in “tea” or “too”.
Many Sefardim really do not distinguish between Tav with a dagesh and Tav without a dagesh. Some simply “stress” or “emphasize” (almost like a double tt) when it comes to Tav with a dagesh.
Theoretically, it would appear then that the original Tav sound (without dagesh) is the “th” as in “think” or “Thursday”, which I believe some Yemenites possess as their tradition.
The other “th” sound as in “this” or “that” would therefore be the Dalet sound without dagesh. That being true, then the last word of Shema (Echad) would sound more like “Echa<th>”, the “th” being elongated a bit.
The Tav (without dagesh) being pronounced as a “s” is indigenous to the many Ashkenazi Yeshivish and Chassidic (or Hassidic) Kehillot. While poskim maintain that everyone has to keep to their traditional pronunciations, it appears to me that “s” sound for Tav (without dagesh) is a violation of linguistic rules since “t” comes from one area of the mouth (D.T.L.N.T.) and “s” from another (Z.S.SH.R.TZ).
Another interesting anomaly which is widespread among all Ashkenazim and the vast majority of Sephardim is the pronunciation of “v” as is in “value” for Vav, when it might have originally sounded like “w” as in water. The theory behind this change is that all Ashkenazim and the original Sephardim were influenced by European dialects, almost eliminating the “w” sound, whereas again in Yemen and isolated areas in Arabia, the “w” sound was maintained. Note that the Arabic language has a “w” sound for its 6th letter.October 16, 2013 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #979020ujewParticipant
Sam2: The current Yeshivish “oy” for a Cholam, which started about 100 years ago
Could you then identify for us who was the first one to start it and where it caught on?October 16, 2013 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #979021CuriosityParticipant
According to the Teimanim’s Mesorah, correct pronunciation is very much a part of the Mesorah. They are very strict on pronouncing things correctly because changing your pronunciation changes the meaning of your words and tfilla.October 16, 2013 5:55 pm at 5:55 pm #979022MCPMember
I’m pretty sure “knights” is supposed to be pronounced “ki-niggits”
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