November 15, 2019 1:47 pm at 1:47 pm #1801166
I’ve always wondered this but never really got a satisfactory answer.
How did the different pronunciations of Lashon HaKodesh come to be, and which one is correct / most authentic? Specially in relation to davening?
There’s the sefardi / Edot HaMizrah pronunciation, the Chassidish pronunciation, what I call the “original American” pronunciation which is probably really Litvish, and the Yeshivish pronunciation which pronounces the cholam as a choy-lam but is otherwise mostly Litvish sounding.
Does anybody know how these came to be, and which one is really the correct one?November 17, 2019 12:08 am at 12:08 am #1801278
I would assume that the answer is prone to bias
Sfardim say their pronunciation is correct (just ask yabia Omer)
Chassidim say their’s is correct (Yiddish is lashon hakodesh)
No different than moshiach’s hatNovember 17, 2019 7:51 am at 7:51 am #1801292
It is natural for language to have pronunciation differences. For example, “cancel” is pronounced “concel” in some places. Moreover, pronunciation of Hebrew was influenced by local languages. In the case of tav/sav it is apparently a hardening or softening of thav (which is the Yemenite pronunciation). We see, in fact, that this is the transliteration in Latin letters (e.h. Ruth). As for kamatz and patach, it is clear that the original difference was slight as Rabbenu Bachye warns against pronouncing them identically. It seems that some groups exaggerated the difference to avoid this whereas others gave up (although Rav Ovadia, Rav Kassin and others say that knowledgeable Sephardim differentiate).November 17, 2019 7:52 am at 7:52 am #1801285
The Teimanim have the closest to how we had it by the Beis HaMikdash.November 17, 2019 7:53 am at 7:53 am #1801284
I could write something up, but something tells me that it would offend 90% of the posters here and probably not worth the flack I would receive. BTW, there’s a whole branch of linguistics devoted to this.
That being said, in short – without offending anyone’s beliefs: For any reading of Hebrew, look at the surrounding languages and their evolution. The surrounding languages caused the emergence of the Jewish vernacular in said area. Any evolution in those languages – including that of the Jewish vernacular – changed the phonology of Hebrew in that area.
With the exception of the rednecks from Eastern Europe, it’s basically agreed that the Teimanim are considered to have the most “authentic” reading of Hebrew.
Also, I contest the statement that the Litvish reading is original American – the Yekkes and Dutch Portuguese were in the US before the Litvaks and Chassidim.November 17, 2019 7:53 am at 7:53 am #1801286
Have a look at the sefer “Sfat Emet” by R’ Bentzion Hakohen (availabe in otzar hachochmah) where he goes through every letter and vowel explaining the pronunciation of all the different communities, and explains which is authentic (based mainly on sources from the gaonim and early medakdekim).November 17, 2019 9:54 am at 9:54 am #1801343
There was a news story here last week of a chashuvah rav mocking the chassidish pronunciation and nusach for davening which no longer is displayed. There may have been some subsequent rethinking of whether the story may not have reflected well on the Rav and/or offended some on the other side but clearly, your question is timely. As noted in some of the postings above, as lashon hakodesh was melded over generations in galus with local languages and dialects, clear differences emerger. I’m not certain its important since there is a widespread belief that the Ebeshter speaks multiple languages and understands multiple dialects.November 17, 2019 11:39 am at 11:39 am #1801350
Does english as spoken by someone from the UK sound different then someone in the USA? how do you pronounce schedule? ˈske-(ˌ)jül or she-(ˌ)dyül. Does american english sound different in the northeast USA and Southeast or Midwest? Same thing in Hebrew, dialects develop.November 17, 2019 11:41 am at 11:41 am #1801355
As mentioned by the Rabbenu Bachaye this week that adonai is plural, so Rav Tzvi Pesach Frank ztz’l says that ashkenazim should be careful how they pronounce Hashem’s name as noi and not nai.November 17, 2019 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm #1801354
GHD: Was that Rabbi mocking their pronunciation specifically or was it more him taking issue with a subset of them regarding their speed of davening, slurring words, etc?November 18, 2019 7:10 am at 7:10 am #1801628
ZSK, why stop there? It is obvious that the tzaddi was originally pronounced as a hard “s” as in Arabic. The word in the Gemara for “stadium” is אצטדיון with the alef being added because our ancestors could not pronounce a sheva nach at the beginning of a word. One of the Baalei Tosafot is רבי אליעזר ממץ. In French it is pronounced “Messe”. In the neighboring German dialect, however, it is pronounced “Mets”. Apparently migration eastward caused Ashkenazim to change their pronunciation.November 18, 2019 8:06 am at 8:06 am #1801635
I call on ZSK to enlighten us with his expertise. I certainly won’t be offended.
I disagree with him on one point.
As a linguist knows, there is no such thing as an “authentic” dialect or “authentic” pronunciation. The very nature of language almost immediately produces variations.
Also, and with utter respect, adonai is not necessarily plural.November 18, 2019 11:54 am at 11:54 am #1801649
rational, might be that noi is also plural as a sign of respect of the royal we, see Har Tzvi O’CH 1,4.November 19, 2019 5:18 pm at 5:18 pm #1802183
Teimanim are close, but even their’s is not likely how Moshe Rabenu spoke.November 19, 2019 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #1802196
kollelman: How did you manage to compare the two?November 21, 2019 9:16 am at 9:16 am #1802827
☢️ 🚭 ☣️ Rand0m3x 🧠🕴️🎲Participant
(Read it again, Joseph.)
Reminder: Different dialects go back a very long way. “S/shibboles.”November 21, 2019 3:27 pm at 3:27 pm #1803054
Thanks for all the input. So I have another question.
When I was growing up (a few decades ago), the typical American yeshiva pronunciation was to pronounce the cholam as an “oh”. Over the years, I am hearing that many yeshivas now teach to pronounce a cholam as an “oy”, so they’d say toy-rah and not to-rah.
I understand that location and language influences language, so that explains the differences in chasidish, litvish, sefardi pronunciations, etc.
In modern day America, the language hasn’t’ changed (always been English), so I wouldn’t expect any evolution in the pronunciation we typically hear. But that’s not the case. I know many cases where the older generation would say to-rah but the children learned toy-rah, even in the same yeshivos the parents went to.
Where did this shift come from?November 21, 2019 6:54 pm at 6:54 pm #1803166
ftresi: After the war there was a large influx of Eastern European Yidden into America. They and their children and grandchildren today far outnumber the rest of Frum American Jews. So their Eastern European havara, as being the most populous, gradually replaced the old time modern type of American prewar havara as the Eastern Europeans and their offspring today represent most of the Klei Kodesh teaching Torah in the Yeshivos.November 21, 2019 7:37 pm at 7:37 pm #1803187
ftresi, there is another pronounciation of a cholam as ay like say by the litvvishe.
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