text. The complete transformation and amplification of the system (in three different forms, see §8g, note), which soon caused the Jews to forget its real origin, is clearly connected with the gradual change from the speaking voice in public reading to chanting or singing. The accents then served as a kind of musical notes. Their value as such has, however, with the exception of a few traces, become lost in transmission. On the other hand, according to their original design they have also a twofold use which is still of the greatest importance for grammar (and syntax), viz. their value (a) as marking the tone, (b) as marks of punctuation to indicate the logical (syntactical) relation of single words to their immediate surroundings, and thus to the whole sentence.
[15c] 2. As a mark of the tone the accent stands almost invariably (but see below, e) with the syllable which has the principal tone in the word. This is usually the ultima, less frequently the penultima. Amongst the Jewish grammarians a word which has the tone on the ultima is called Milraʿ (Aram. מִלְרַע i.e. accented below), e.g. קָטַ֫ל qāṭál; a word which has the tone on the penultima is Milʿêl (Aram. מִלְעֵיל, accented above), e.g. מֶ֫לֶךְ mèlĕkh. Besides this, in many cases a secondary tone is indicated in the word by Mèthĕg (cf. §16). Examples such as נַ֣עַמְדָה יָ֑חַד Is 508 (cf. 40:18, Ex 158, Jb 1215, La 216) are regarded by the Jewish grammarians as even proparoxytone.
[15d] 3. As marks of interpunctuation the accents are subdivided into those which separate (Distinctivi or Domini) and those which connect (Conjunctivi or Servi). Further a twofold system of accentuation is to be noted: (a) the common system found in twenty-one of the Books (the כ״א i.e. twenty-one), and (b) that used in the first three Books of the Hagiographa, viz. Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, for which the vox memor, is אֱמֶת, from the initial consonants of the names, תְּהִלִּים Psalms, מִשְׁלֵי Proverbs, אִיּוֹב Job, or more correctly, according to their original sequence, תא״ם (תְּאֹם twin), so that טַֽעֲמֵי תא״ם means the accents (sing. טַעַם) of these three Books. The latter system is not only richer and more complicated in itself, but also musically more significant than the ordinary accentuation.
- On the attempts of Christian scholars of the sixteenth century to express the Hebrew accents by musical notes, cf. Ortenberg, ZDMG.. 1889, p. 534.
- At the same time it must not be forgotten that the value of the accent as a mark of punctuation is always relative; thus, e.g. ʾAthnâḥ as regards the logical structure of the sentence may at one time indicate a very important break (as in Gn 14); at another, one which is almost imperceptible (as in Gn 11).
- ‘Above’ in this sense means what comes before, ‘below’ is what comes after; cf. Bacher, ZAW.. 1907, p. 285 f.
- Cf. Delitzsch on Is 4018.