Page:Compendious Syriac Grammar.djvu/47

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§§ 11—14.
— 9 —

Marking length of vowels.§ 11. Rem. No one of these systems carries out a distinction between long and short vowels. The designation of vowels by the Syrian Grammarians as "long" or "short" rests upon a misunderstanding of Greek terms and has nothing to do with the natural quantity. Thus the first and certainly short e in neγlē is directly designated as "long Re̊vōṣō", and the second and long e as "short". The original o is for the Jacobites a "short ʿE̊ṣōṣō"; for the Nestorians on the other hand it is "broad", while u is for the former "long", for the latter "compressed"; and in neither case is the quantity of the vowel considered, but merely the quality.

Marking absence of vowel.§ 12. No established sign has been formed to denote the want of any vowel (Sheva quiescens), nor yet the absence of a full vowel (Sheva mobile). Here and there the sign ◌ܼ (§ 6) or ◌̄ (§ 17) serves this purpose.

Examples: use of vowel signs.§ 13. A. Examples: Nestorian: ܨܘܼܬ ܠܡܸ̈ܠܹܐ ܕܡܲܠܟܵܐ ܕܝܼܠܗܘܿܢ ṣūth le̊millē δe̊malkā δīlhōn. Greek: ܨܽܘܬ ܠܡܷ̈ܠܷܐ ܕܡܱܠܟܳܐ ܕܺܝܠܗܘܽܢ ṣūth le̊melē δe̊malkō δīlhūn. Mixed: ܨܘܼܬ ܠܡܹ̈ܠܷܐ ܕܡܱܠܟܳܐ ܕܝܼܠܗܽܘܢ. The blending might be contrived in many other ways besides, for instance, ܨܽܘܬ ܠܡܷ̈ܠܸܐ &c.

B. From practical considerations, we employ in this work the Greek vowel-signs almost always, using however,—in conformity with the practice of the East-Syrians, and in general of the West-Syrians also,—the sign ◌ܹ for that vowel which is pronounced ē by the East-Syrians, and ī by the West-Syrians, and in most cases discriminating ܘܿ (original o, West-Syrian u) from ◌ܽܘ = ܘܼ (original u).

C. Syriac manuscripts are commonly content with the indication of the vowels given in § 6: only occasionally do they give exact vowel signs. But Nestorian manuscripts, in particular, are often fully vocalised. Many Nestorian manuscripts of the Scriptures produce quite a bewildering impression by the large number of points of various kinds employed in them (cf. § 14 sqq.).

 

OTHER READING-SIGNS.

Diacritic point in ܪ and ܕ.§ 14. Very ancient is the point which never fails in genuine Syriac manuscripts,—that which distinguishes ܪ and ܕ.