Page:Compendious Syriac Grammar.djvu/44

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§§ 5. 6.
— 6 —

Greek ε and αι are in some writings expressed by ܗ, e. g. ܠܗܩܣܝܣ λέξις. The desire to render Greek vowels with accuracy gave rise to various strange forms of transcription among learned Syrians.

Greek ο on the other hand is frequently left entirely unexpressed, e. g. ܒܣܝܠܝܣ Βασίλειος, alongside of ܒܣܝܠܝܘܣ; ܐܦܝܣܩܦܐ, ܐܦܣܩܦܐ alongside of ܐܦܝܣܩܘܦܐ, ܐܦܣܩܘܦܐ ἐπίσκοπος. Thus the placing of the vowel letters in Greek words is far more fluctuating than in native ones.

Apparent use of ܐ.§ 5. A distinction is to be made between the employment of ܐ as a vowel sign and those cases in which it has its place from etymological considerations,—especially from having been formerly an audible spiritus lenis: e. g. ܡܠܐܩܐ malakhā "angel", from מַלְאֲכָא; ܒܐܪܐ bērā (bīrō) "a well" from בִּאְרָא (Hebrew בְּאֵר); ܥܐܠܝܢ ʿāllīn "enter" (pl. part.), because of the sing. ܥܐܠ ʿāʾēl "enters" (sing. part.) &c.

 
Vowel expression: (b) By other signs. Simple points.

VOWEL EXPRESSION (B) BY OTHER SIGNS.

§ 6. This insufficient representation of vowel sounds was gradually made up for by new signs. At first, in some words which might be pronounced in various ways, a point over the letter concerned was employed to signify the fuller, stronger pronunciation, and a point under it to denote the finer, weaker vocalisation, or even the absence of vowel sound. Thus there was written (and is written) ܥܒ̇ܕܐ ʿe̊vāδā "a work", set over against ܥܒ̣ܕܐ ʿavdā "a servant"; ܡ̇ܢ mān "what?" and man "who?", ܡ̣ܢ men "from"; ܩ̇ܛܠ qāṭel "he kills" (part.) and qaṭṭel "he murdered" (Paël), ܩ̣ܛܠ qe̊ṭal "he killed" (Peal); ܫ̇ܢܬܐ ša(n)tā "a year", ܫ̣ܢܬܐ šenthā "sleep"; ܡ̇ܬܟܐ malkā "king", ܡ̣ܠܟܐ melkā "counsel"; ܛ̇ܒܐ ṭāvā "good"; ܛ̣ܒܐ ṭebbā "fame"; ܗ̇ܘ hau "that" (masc.), ܗ̣ܘ "he"; ܗ̇ܝ hāi "that" (fem.), ܗ̣ܝ "she"; ܗ̇ܢܘܢ hānōn "those", ܗ̣ܢܘܢ hennōn "they" &c. Frequently it is held to be sufficient to indicate by the upper point the vowels ā, a,—e. g. in ܫܝ̇ܡܐ se̊yāmā "setting", ܐ̇ܝܕܐ aidā "what?" (fem.), ܕ̇ܚܝܠ daḥḥīl "timorous", without giving also to words written with the same consonants the under point proper to them, viz.:—ܣܝ̣ܡܐ sīmā "set", ܐ̣ܝܕܐ īδā "a hand", ܕܚ̣ܝܠ de̊ḥīl "terrible". Here too we must note the employment of ܗ̇ almost without exception to signify the suffix of the 3rd pers. fem. sing., e. g. ܒܗ̇ bāh "in her" as set over against ܒܗ bēh