The pronunciation of Hebrew by the modern German Jews, which partly resembles the Syriac and is generally called ‘Polish’, differs considerably from that of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, which approaches nearer to the Arabic. The pronunciation of Hebrew by Christians follows the latter (after the example of Reuchlin), in almost all cases.
[6b] The oldest tradition is presented in the transcription of Hebrew names in Assyrian cuneiform; a later, but yet in its way very important system is seen in the manner in which the LXX transcribe Hebrew names with Greek letters. As, however, corresponding signs for several sounds (ט, ע, צ, ק, שׁ) are wanting in the Greek alphabet, only an approximate representation was possible in these cases. The same applies to the Latin transcription of Hebrew words by Jerome, according to the Jewish pronunciation of his time.
On the pronunciation of the modern Jews in North Africa, see Bargès in the Journ. Asiat., Nov. 1848; on that of the South Arabian Jews, J. Dérenbourg, Manuel du lecteur, &c. (from a Yemen MS. of the year 1390), Paris, 1871 (extrait 6 du Journ. Asiat. 1870).
[6c] 2. With regard to the pronunciation of the several gutturals and sibilants, and of ט and ק, it may be remarked:—
1. Among the gutturals, the glottal stop א is the lightest, corresponding to the spiritus lenis of the Greeks. It may stand either at the beginning or end of a syllable, e.g. אָמַר ʾāmár, יֶאְשַׁם yäʾšám. Even before a vowel א is almost lost to our ear, like the h in hour and in the French habit, homme. After a vowel א generally (and at the end of a word, always) coalesces with it, e.g. קָרָא qārā for an original qārăʾ, Arab. qărăʾä; see further, §23a, 27g.
[6d] ה before a vowel corresponds exactly to our h (spiritus asper); after a vowel it is either a guttural (so always at the end of a syllable which is not final, e.g. נֶהְפַּךְ nähpakh; at the end of a word the consonantal ה has a point—Mappîq—in it, see §14), or it stands inaudible at the end of a word, generally as a mere orthographic indication of a preceding vowel, e.g. גָּלָה gālā; cf. §§7b and 75a.
[6e] ע is related to א, but is a much stronger guttural. Its strongest sound is a rattled, guttural g, cf. e.g. עַזָּה, LXX Γάζα, עֲמֹרָה Γόμοῤῥα; elsewhere, a weaker sound of the same kind, which the LXX reproduce by a spiritus (lenis or asper), e.g. עֵלִי Ἡλί, עֲמָלֵק Ἀμαλέκ. In the mouth of the Arabs one hears in the former case a sort of guttural r, in the latter a sound peculiar to themselves formed in the back of the throat.—It is as incorrect to omit the ע
- Cf. C. Meinhof, ‘Die Aussprache des Hebr.,’ in Neue Jahrb. f. Philol. u. Pädag., 1885, Bd. 132, p. 146 ff.; M. Schreiner, ‘Zur Gesch. der Ausspr. des Hebr.,’ in ZAW. 1886, p. 213 ff.
- Cf. Frankel, Vorstudien zu der Septuag., Lpz. 1841, p. 90 ff.; C. Könneke, ‘Gymn.-Progr.,’ Stargard, 1885. On the transcription of eleven Psalms in a palimpsest fragment of the Hexapla at Milan, see Mercati, Atti della R. Accad., xxxi, Turin, 1896. [Cf. Burkitt, Fragments of... Aquila, Cambr. 1897, p. 13.]
- Numerous examples occur in Hieronymi quaestiones hebraicae in libro geneseos, edited by P. de Lagarde, Lpz. 1868; cf. the exhaustive and systematic discussion by Siegfried, ‘Die Aussprache des Hebr. bei Hieronymus,’ in ZAW. 1884, pp. 34–83.
- It is, however, doubtful if the LXX always consciously aimed at reproducing the actual differences of sound.