Page:Compendious Syriac Grammar.djvu/41

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§ 2.
— 3 —

At the end of a word we can only have a form from the 2nd column or the 1st, and from the one or the other according as the preceding letter has a form connecting to the left (Col. 3) or not. Forms from Col. 4 can only appear in the interior of a word; while initial forms must be taken from Col. 1 or 3.

Rem. The most judicious course for the beginner will be to impress upon his memory only Cols. 1 and 3.

C. ܠ‍ with ܐ‍ is generally written ܠܐ (‍ܠܐ‍), but initial ܐ with ܠ‍ thus, ܐܠ‍. For ‍ܠ ܐ one sometimes puts Syriac final-aleph initial-lamedh.png, and thus draws in this case two words together. In Nestorian script SyriacTawAlaph.png is given for final ܬܐ (ܬܐ).

For ܟ‍, ܢ‍ as single letters or as ciphers, one generally writes ܟܟ, ܢܢ.

In manuscripts ܟ‍ and ܒ‍ are often mistaken for each other from their resemblance; so is it with ܢ‍ and ܝ‍, and also with ܚ‍ on the one hand and ܢܝ‍, ܢܢ‍, ܝܢ‍, and ܝܝ‍ on the other. Farther it is frequently difficult to distinguish ܝܫ‍ from a simple ܫ‍, and occasionally even ܝܥ‍ from a simple ܥ‍. Even in many printed copies ܟ‍ and ܒ‍ are far too like one another:[1] farther, ܠ‍ and ܥ‍, and ܫ‍ and ܝ‍ are not sufficiently discriminated.

Pronunciation. § 2. The pronunciation of the letters can of course be determined only approximately. Notice the following: ܬ ܦ ܟ‍ ܕ ܓ ܒ have a twofold pronunciation, one hard, answering to our b g d k p t, one soft, aspirated or rather sibilated. Soft ܒ is nearly the German w, or the English and French v; soft ܓ = γ (gh) is nearly the Dutch g (like the Arabic غ); soft ܕ = δ (dh) is the English th in there, other; soft ܟ‍ = kh, or the German ch in ach (not that in ich); soft ܦ the German, English, and French f; soft ܬ = θ (th) is the English th in think, both.[2] On the changes of the hard and soft pronunciations v. §§ 15, 23 sqq.

ܘ is always the vowel-sounding English w, never the German w, and accordingly it quiesces easily and completely into a u. ܝ has also more of a vowel character than the German j, being nearly the English y.


  1. Translator's Note: The same may be said for ܟ‍ and ܩ‍.
  2. Translator's Note: In the transcription followed in this Edition, soft ܒ will be represented by v, soft ܩ by kh, soft ܦ by f or ph, and soft ܬ by th; while soft ܓ and ܕ will be rendered by γ and δ respectively.

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