PECULIARITIES AND CHANGES OF LETTERS: THE SYLLABLE AND THE TONE
The changes which take place in the forms of the various parts of speech, depend partly on the peculiar nature of certain classes of letters and the manner in which they affect the formation of syllables, partly on certain laws of the language in regard to syllables and the tone.
[a] The changes which take place among consonants, owing to the formation of words, inflexion, euphony, or to influences connected with the progress of the language, are commutation, assimilation, rejection, addition, transposition, softening.
1. Commutation may take place between consonants which are either homorganic or homogeneous (cf. §6q), e.g. עָלַץ, עָלַס, עָלַז to exult, לָאָה, לָהָה, Aram. לְעָא to be weary, לָחַץ and נָחַץ to press, סָגַר and סָכַר to close, מָלַט and פָּלַט to escape. In process of time, and partly under the influence of Aramaic, the harder and rougher sounds especially were changed into the softer, e.g. צָחַק into שָׂחַק to laugh, גָּעַל into גָּאַל to reject, and the sibilants into the corresponding mutes: ז into ד, שׁ into ת, צ into ט. In many cases these mutes may be regarded as a return to an earlier stage of the pronunciation.
The interchange of consonants, however, belongs rather to the lexicographical treatment of stems than to grammatical inflexion. To the latter belong the interchange (a) of ת and ט in Hithpaʿēl (§54b); (b) of ו and י in verbs primae Yôd (§69), יָלַד for וָלַד, &c.
[b] 2. Assimilation usually takes place when one consonant which closes a syllable passes over into another beginning the next syllable, and forms with it a strengthened letter, as illustris for inlustris, affero for adfero, συλλαμβάνω for συνλαμβάνω. In Hebrew this occurs,
- Cf. Barth, Etymologische Forschungen, Lpz. 1893, p. 15 ff. (‘Lautverschiebungen’).
- See in the Lexicon, the preliminary remarks on the several consonants.