Edition 1.2

15 December 2011

 

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History of the Ancient and Modern Hebrew Language

By David Steinberg

David.Steinberg@houseofdavid.ca

Home page http://www.houseofdavid.ca/

 

Excursus 2

Evolution of Pronunciation and Stress Patterns

(See also Biblical Hebrew Poetry and Word Play - Reconstructing the Original Oral, Aural and Visual Experience )

Box 23 - The Nature of Stress in Ancient and Modern Hebrew

Box 24 - The Independent Pronouns in EBHP and Colloquial Arabic Dialects

Box 25 - The Case System of Proto-Hebrew and the Pronominal Suffixes of the Noun

Box 26 Nouns - Absolute, Construct and Pronominal Forms

Table 24 - History of Stress and Pronunciation of the Independant Pronoun

Table 25 - History of Stress and Pronunciation of the Pronominal Suffixes of the Noun

Table 26 - Pronominal Object Suffixes of the SC Verb

Table 27 - Pronominal Object Suffixes of the PC Verb

Table 28 - History of the Accusative Particle 'ẹt and its Inflected Form' ōtō = "him"

Table 29 - Stressed Noun Suffixes in Biblical Hebrew

Table 30 - Locative ה

A. The Proto-Hebrew SC and its Carry-Over into BH

Table 31 - Reconstructed PC Forms in PH and EBHP

Table 32 - Disappearance of Formal Distinctions between PCimp, PCjus and PCpret (not preceded by waC-) in Strong Verb Except for Parts of Hiphil

B. The Biblical Hebrew Verbal System

1. Classes of Verbs

Table 33- Comparison of the Development (PH to TH) of Qal (a-u class) Jussive, Imperative, Infinitive Construct and Infinitive Absolute

Table 34 - Common Stative and Similar Qal Verbs

2. Background on Biblical Hebrew Prefix Conjugation

Table 35 - History of Stress and Pronunciation of the Hebrew Verb Prefix Conjugation

Time and Modal Implications of PC in Various Categories of BH Poetry

3. Background on Biblical Hebrew Suffix Conjugation (traditional "perfect")

Table 36 - History of Stress and Pronunciation of the Hebrew Verb - Suffix Conjugation

4. Participles, Imperatives and Infinitives

Table 37 - History of Stress and Pronunciation of the Hebrew Imperatives, Participles and Infinitives

 

 

Box 21 - The Nature of Stress in Ancient and Israeli Hebrew and MSA

...The term stress is applied to the phonetic elevation of the voice, although, strictly speaking, the (Biblical) Hebrew stress, unlike that in ancient Greek and Latin, refers rather to more forceful articulation than higher musical pitch, the latter being a secondary element as in Modern Greek, Vulgar Latin... English, Italian etc. That the (Biblical) Hebrew stress is essentially a prominence of intensity or force of articulation is manifest in its effects on the vocalisation. In contrast, the contemporary Israeli pronunciation of Hebrew is characterised by a musical pitch accent.

Quoted from Joϋon-Muraoka 1991 15a

 

"Stress and syllabification are closely related in Hebrew, as in many languages .... In Biblical Hebrew pitch had no phonemic function, and expiratory stress prevailed... As its results make clear, stress was strongly centralizing (i.e., it used up most of the breath in the pronunciation of the stressed syllables). Accordingly, other syllables became blurred and were shortened."

Quoted from Blau 2010 2.9.

 

Among those who have studied stress, there is no single acceptable definition of what it is and what acoustic parameters may contribute to it. This paper focuses on the dynamic, rhythmic distribution of stress on the phrase level in Arabic. It attempts to determine which of the three acoustic properties intensity, frequency, and duration contributes most to the stressed syllable in an utterance. It also tries to ascertain whether these properties function collectively or individually....

Intensity is an acoustic property that corresponds to loudness. According to Ladefoged (1993:187), "intensity is proportional to the average size, or ampli- tude, of the variations and air pressure." Different phonetic segments differ in sonority. Vowels within the syllable structure normally receive higher sonority than consonants; in particular, long and open vowels are the most sonorous and thus affect both the syllable type and structure in an utterance....

Frequency is an acoustic feature of sound that correlates with pitch and is measured in hertz (Hz). The pitch of a sound can be high or low, depending primarily on the vibration of the vocal cords. The vocal cords complete a cycle of closing and opening that depends on the varia- tion in air pressure that occurs in one second (Cruttenden 1986:1-8; Ladefoged 1993:186-87)....

The duration of a sound may affect the prominence of a syllable. In Arabic, all vowels may occur in either short or long forms; length is phonemic and is indicated in the transcription by a double vowel. At the same time, all of the consonants in Arabic may occur in either single or geminated forms. Accordingly, length for vowels and gemination for consonants are contrastive and phonemic. Vowels can only occur medially and finally, since no syllable or word in Arabic can have an initial vowel. Geminate consonants also occur in medial and final position. Consequently, a word or a syllable can start only with a single consonant. In addition, consonant clusters with a maximum of two members occur medially or finally....

The tentative results obtained from the analysis of the two production experiments ... prove that the placement of stress is on the long syllable, CVV, initially or medially.... The intensity, frequency, and duration measurements of each of the 1,540 syllables tested form the basis of these results. The intensity measurements contributed the most to this conclusion, since they are more directly associated with loudness, which is one feature that results in the relative prominence of a syllable in an utterance. The duration measurements support the positive results obtained from the intensity measurements....

Quoted from Al Ani 1992

 


 

Box 22 - The Independent Pronouns in *EBHP and Colloquial Arabic Dialects[1]

"In its system of pronouns, Hebrew discloses, for a number of persons, two allomorphs - one terminating in a vowel, the other with a consonant.

Person

Independent Pronouns in *EBHP

 

Allomorph Originally Ending with a Short Vowel which may have been Elided

Allomorph Ending with a Long Vowel

2 ms.

את

/ˈʾatta/ > /ˈʾat(t)/ [2]

אתה

/ˈʾattaː/[3]

2 fs.

את

/ˈʾatti/ > /ˈʾat(t)/

אתי

/ˈʾattiː/[4]

3 ms.

הוא

/ˈhuʾa/ > /ˈhuʾ/ > /ˈh/

הואה

/ˈhuʾaː/[5]

3 fs.

היא

/ˈhiʾa/ > /ˈhiʾ/ > /ˈh/

היאה

/ˈhiʾaː/[6]

2 mp.

אתם

/ʾatˈtima/ > /ʾatˈtim/

אתמה

/ʾatˈtimaː/[7]

2 fp.

אתן

/ʾatˈtinna/ > /ʾatˈtin(n)/

אתנה

/ʾatˈtinnaː/[8]

3 mp.

הם

/ˈhimma/ > /ˈhim(m)/

המה

/ˈhimmaː/

3 fp.

הן

/ˈhinna/ > /ˈhin(n)/ [9]

הנה

/ˈhinnaː/

A somewhat similar picture obtains in the pronominal systems of Arabic dialects. To exemplify the lines of resemblance, we shall here present the pronominal systems of some dialects in the Syro-Israeli area.

Person

Urban Dialects

Rural Dialects

 

Damascus

Bimizzīn

(Lebanon)

Hōrān

Bīr Zēt

1 cs.

ʾana

ʾana

ani

ana

2 ms.

ʾәnte

ʾinti, ʾint

әnte, әnt

inte, int

2 fs.

ʾәnti

ʾinti

әnti

inti

3 ms.

hūwe

huwwi, hū

hū, hūwa

3 fs.

hiye

hiyyi, hī

hī, hīye

1 cp.

na

nina

әne, әna

ina

2 mp.

ʾәntu

ʾintu

әntu

intu

2 fp.

әntenn

intin

3 mp.

hәnne

hinni, hin

huMM, huMMa

him

3 fp.

henn, henne

hin

The following points are worthwhile noting;

(a) the preservation, from a historical point of view, of the final vowel in the 2nd pers. masc. sing.: Hebrew ʾatta, Arabic dialects inte (and variants).

(b) in the Hebrew forms for the 3rd pers. mast. and fem. sing. and plur. which have a vowel termination - huʾa, hiʾa, hemma, henna - the final vowel ā possibly goes back to ancient -at. Cf, hmt in ancient Phoenician (Byblian) and hwt, hyt, hmt in Ugaritic (in the genitive-accusative case) as well as the genetive-accusative pronominal morphemes uātu/i, āti/u (third pers. masc. sing.), uiāti, āti (fem. sing.), unūti (mast. plur.) and ināti (fem. plur.) in Akkadian.

As to the longer forms in Arabic dialects (hūwe, huwwi, etc, for the masc. and hīyeʾ, hiyyi for the fem.), there seems to be no evidence to indicate such a historical development. What would seem plausible is either the assumption that the longer forms have preserved the final vowel of Classical Arabic (huwa, hiya), or, that they developed a new final vowel. But here we touch upon a rather intricate question, the existence of a final vowel in a number pronominal forms (cf. above table) in many Arabic dialects.

 

 

 


Box 23 - The Case System[10] of Proto-Hebrew and the Pronominal Suffixes of the Noun

As illustrated elsewhere, PH originally had a system of case endings similar to that of Classical Arabic[11]. As in Classical Arabic, attached pronominal suffixes, if any, followed the case endings. For the noun forms in the singular, feminine singular this consisted of a system of three cases[12] (nominative - suffix u (constr. u > during PH period); accusative - suffix a (constr. a > during PH period); genitive - suffix i (constr. i > during PH period)). Nouns in the dual, masculine plural and feminine plural all had two cases[13] -

dual - nominative - suffix ːmi (constr. and before pronominal suffix aː); oblique (= accusative plus genitive) - suffix ymi (constr. and before pronominal suffix ay);

masculine plural - nominative - suffix ːma (constr. and before pronominal suffix uː ); oblique - suffix ːma (constr. and before pronominal suffix iː ); and,

feminine plural - nominative - suffix ːtu (constr. and before pronominal suffix oːt ); oblique - suffix ːti (constr. and before pronominal suffix oːt ).[14]

Thus -

(1) your (ms.) male horse would have been -

Nominative (nom.) - /sūˈsuk/

Accusative (acc) - /sūˈsak/

Genitive (gen.) - /sūˈsik/

(2) your (ms.) female horse would have been -

Nominative - /sūsaˈtuk/

Accusative - /sūsaˈtak/

Genitive - /sūsaˈtik/

(3) your (ms.) two male horses would have been (suffixes added to construct form) -

Nominative - /sūˈsāk/

Oblique (obl.) - /sūˈsayk/

(4) your (ms.) male horses would have been (suffixes added to construct form) -

Nominative - /sūˈsūk/

Oblique - /sūˈsk/

(5) your (ms.) female horses would have been (suffixes added to construct form) -

Nominative - /sūsōˈtuk/

Oblique - /sūsōˈtik/

At some time, presumably related to the drastic reduction in the use of the dual[15] and the decline of the case system in late BHA phase 2, the oblique ending (ːma > ːm ) became the single suffix for mp. absolute nouns and the dual oblique construct (ay ) became the single suffix for mp. construct nouns and preceded pronominal suffixes attached to plural nouns.

For this reason, in the following table, I will use the general approach in PH reconstructions of showing, where possible, the PH vocalization that developed into the BH form.

 

 

 


Box 24

Nouns - Absolute, Construct and Pronominal Forms

From Blau 2010 4.4.3

4.4.3.1. The normal position of nouns, when they do not stand in a special relationship to a following noun, is the status absolutus. If, however, a noun is proclitic, forming a stress unit with the following noun (which stands in the same relation to it as the genitive stands to its governing noun in languages with case inflection), it stands in the construct (status constructus). Since in the construct no pretonic lengthening occurs and the noun behaves as if stress were on the following (governed) noun, it is often quite different from the absolute: דְּבַר־ the speech of as opposed to the absolute דָּבָר; צִדְקַת (with the construct feminine ending) righteousness of as opposed to the absolute צְדָקָה.... The construct noun is ... proclitic in Biblical Hebrew when the construct is hyphenated. On the other hand, the fact that Philippis Law (see 3.5.8.6, p. 133) operates in construct nouns attests that they are in fact stressed. One should not be surprised by the operation of Philippis Law in hyphenated construct nouns, as is the case, e.g., in בַּת־צִיּוֺן the daughter of Zion. The vowel of the stressed construct noun was changed by Philippis Law and afterward the noun became hyphenated.

4.4.3.2. The status pronominalis, i.e., the status of nouns governing pronominal suffixes (which perform a function similar to that of English possessive pronouns), resembles the construct, not only in function but also in form. It exhibits a shift of stress (which rests on the pronominal suffix or the vowel connecting it with the noun) and the feminine ending -at. Pretonic lengthening is excluded only before the so-called heavy suffixes כֶם-, כֶן- (and הֶם, הֶן; e.g., יֶדְכֶם), whereas it may occur before the others (the light suffixes), because the noun forms one word with its pronominal suffixes (i.e., they stand in internal close juncture). Therefore, pretonic lengthening acts as it does in simple words, whereas the construct and the nomen rectum stand in internal open juncture and, therefore, in the construct no pretonic lengthening occurs. For the connecting vowels....

 


 

Table 2 - History of Stress and Pronunciation of the Independent Pronoun

 

*PH

(c. 1200 BCE)

JEH[16]

*/JEH/

(mainly c. 750-586 BCE)

PMT

(c. 400-300 BCE)

EBHP

*/EBHP/+[17] *[EBHP][18]

(c. 850-550 BCE)

PTH

*/PTH/+

(c. 400 CE)

TH

/TH/+ *[TH]

(c. 850 CE)

BHIH
[BHIH] = [IH]

(present)

1 cs.

/ˈʾan/ >
( suffix /ῑ/ and verbal object suffix /nī/)
/
ˈʾanī/[19]

אני

אני

/ˈʾanī/[20]

[ˈʔɐniˑ]

/ˈʾanī/ >
/ʾăˈnī/[21]

contextual
/
ˈʾaːnī/

pausal[22]

/ʾăˈni/ [ʔɐ̆ˈniː]

contextual
/
ʾni/ [ʔɔːniː]

pausal

ˈni]

/ʾaˈnaːkũ/ >
(≈suffixs /ῑ/ and object suffix /nī/)
/
ʾaˈnoːkī/

[י] אנכ?[23]

אנכי

/ʾaˈnkī/[24]

ɐˈnkiˑ]

/ʾaˈnkī/
/ʾa
ːnoːˈkī/

contextual
/ʾ
aːˈnkī/

pausal

/ʾnoˈki/
[ʔɔ
ːnoːˈx]

contextual
/ʾ
ˈnoki/
[ʔɔ
ːˈnoːxiː]

pausal

[ɐnoˈxi]

(pausal

ˈnoxi])

2 ms.

/ˈʾanta/ >
/ˈatt/

[ת] א

אתה

/ˈʾatta(ː)/
[ˈʔɐttɐˑ]

 

/ˈʾattaː/
/
ʾatˈtaː/

contextual
/ˈʾaːttaː/

pausal

/ʾatˈt/
[
ʔɐtˈtɔː]

contextual
/
ˈʾtt/

[ˈʔɔːttɔː]

pausal

ˈ]

2 fs.

/ˈʾantĩ/ >
/
ˈʾattĩ/[25]

 

את

/ˈʾat(t)/ [ˈʾɐtt]

standard

/ˈʾatti(ː)/
[
ˈʔɐttiˑ]

occasion possibly northern

/ˈʾat/[26]

/ˈʾat/

[ˈʔɐːt]

[ɐt]

3 ms.

/ˈhuwat/ >
/ˈhu/

הא

 

הוא

 

/ˈh/? [ˈhuː]

/ˈhuʾ/? [ˈhʊʔ]

/ˈhuʾa(ː)/?

[ˈhʊʔɐˑ][27]

/ˈh/

/ˈhu/

[ˈhuː]

[ˈhu] ~ [ˈʔu]

3 fs.

/ˈhiyat/ >
/
ˈhi/

 

 

היא הוא

 

/ˈh/? [ˈhiː]

*/ˈhiʾ/? [ˈhɪʔ] */ˈhiʾa(ː)/?

[ˈhɪʔɐˑ]

/ˈh/

/ˈhi/

[ˈhiː]

[ˈhi] ~ [ˈʔi]

1 cp.

/ˈniḥn/ > /ˈnaḥnũ/ (≈ object suffix /nū/)
/(
a)ˈnaḥnū/

נחנו

אנחנו

נחנו (rare)

/ʾaˈnaḥnū/

[ʔɐˈnɐħnuˑ]

/ʾăˈnaːḥnū/

/ʾăˈnaḥnu/

[ʔɐ̆ˈnɐ:ħnu:]

ˈxnu]

2 mp.

/ˈʾantum/[28] >
/
ʾatˈtim/

 

אתם

/ʾatˈtim/

[ʔɐtˈtɪm]?
[
ʔɐtˈtɛm]?

/ʾatˈtem/

/ʾatˈtɛm/

[ʔɐtˈtɛːm]

ˈtɛm]

2 fp.

/ˈʾantinn/ >
/
ʾatˈtinn/[29]

 

אתנה

Form 1.

/ʾatˈtin(n)/

[ʔɐtˈtɪnn]?
[
ʔɐtˈtɛn]?

Form 2.

/ʾatˈtinnaː/
[ʔɐtˈtɪnnɐˑ]

/ʾatˈten/

/ʾatˈtɛn/

[ʔɐtˈtɛːn]

ˈtɛn]

3 mp.

/ˈhum(ũ)/ > /ˈhimm/

 

Form 1.

הם

/ˈhim(m)/

[ˈhɪmm]? [ˈhɛm]?

/ˈheːm/

/ˈhẹm/

[ˈhẹːm]

[ˈhɛm],

[ˈʔɛm] ~ [ˈɛm]

 

Form 2.

המה

/ˈhimmaː/ [ˈhɪmmɐˑ]? [ˈhɛmmɐˑ]?

/ˈheːmmaː/

/ˈhẹmmɔ/

[ˈhẹːmmɔː]

[ˈɛmɐ]

3 fp.

/ˈhinn()/

 

 

Form 1.

הן

/ˈhin(n)/

[ˈhɪnn]? [ˈhɛn]?

/ˈheːn/

/ˈhẹn/

[ˈhẹːn]

[ˈhɛn] ~ [ˈʔɛn] ~
[
ˈɛn]

 

 

Form 2.

הנה

/ˈhinna(ː)/ [ˈhɪnnɐˑ]? [ˈhɛnnɐˑ]?

/ˈheːaː/

/ˈhẹnn/

[ˈhẹːnnɔː]

 

[ˈ] ~
[ˈʔɛ] ~
[ˈɛ]

 


Table 25 - History of Stress and Pronunciation of the Pronominal Suffixes of the Noun

 

*PH

(c. 1200 BCE)

JEH[30]

*/JEH/

(mainly c. 750-586 BCE)

PMT

(c. 400-300 BCE)

EBHP

*/EBHP/+ *[EBHP]

(c. 850-550 BCE)

PTH

*/PTH/+

(c. 400 CE)

TH

/TH/+ *[TH]

(c. 850 CE)

BHIH
[BHIH] = [IH]

(present)

1 cs.

s. noun

/ya/ > /ya/ (obl.)

// [ː] (nom.)

י

י

//
[
ː]

//
[
ː]

//
[
ː]

 

[]

1 cs.

pl. noun

/yiya/[31] > /yya/ > /yy/

י

י

/y(y)/[32]

[ɐ́y][33]

/y/

/y/

[ɐ́y]

[y]

1 cs.

SC

/n/

ני, י

ני, י

/nῑ/ [niˑ]

/nῑ/

/ni/ [niː]

[ni]

2 ms.

s. noun

/k/[34]

 

כ[35]

ך or rarely כה e.g. Ps 139.5; Pr 24.10

Your (ms.)

/ka(ː)/[36]
[ɐ́ˑ]

/ka(ː)/ /ka(ː)/ >
/ə
ˈkaː/

contextual

/kaː/

pausal

/əˈk/
[ə
ˈxɔː]

contextual
/ɛ́k/
[
ɛ́ːxɔː]

pausal

[ˈxa]

(pausal
[
ɛ́xa])

 

2 ms.

pl. noun

/yk/[37]

יכ and
יכה occur[38].

יך

/yka(ː)/[39]
[
ɐ́ykɐˑ]?
[ɛ́yˑ]?

/ːkaː/

/ɛ́ːk/

[ɛ́ːxɔː]

[ɛ́xa]

2 fs.

s. noun

/kĩ/[40]

 

ך

/ki(ː)/[41] > /eːk/[42] [ẹːk]

 

/ːk/

/ẹ́k/

[ẹ́ːx]

 

[ɛ́x]

 

2 fs.

pl. noun

/ykĩ/

 

יך יכי (very rare)

/yki(ː)/ >
/
yk/ [ɐ́yk]

/yik/

/yik/

[ɐ́yix]

[yix]

3 ms.

s. noun

/yhũ/ > /hũ/[43]

 

ה (normal form),
ו [44], יו(?)

ו ה (rare)

See Tequ

(Form 1 (usual) /hu/ > /hũ/ > /w/ > // [ː] OR

/hũ/ > /(h)/ > //

[ː]

Form 2 (rare) /hu(ː)/ [huˑ]

Form 1

//

Form 2

/huː/

Form 1
/
/
[ː]

Form 2
/hu/
[45]
[hu
ː]

 

Form 1

[]

Form 2

[ʔu]

3 ms.

p. noun

/yhũ/

ו, יו, יה(?)

יו[46]

 

See Tequ

Form 1 usual /yhu(ː)/ > /yū/ > /yō/ > /w/ [ːw][47]

OR

/yhu(ː)/ > /whu(ː)/ > /wwu(ː)/ > /ww/ > /w/ [ːw]

Form 2 (rare)

/yhu(ː)/ >
[
ɐ́yhuˑ]?

[ɛ́yhuˑ]?

Form 1 /aːw/

Form 2 /huː/

Form 1
/
w/

[ɔːw]

 

Form 2
/
hu/

[ẹ́ːhuː]

Form 1

[v]

 

Form 2

[ʔu]

3 fs.

s. noun

/h/

 

ה

See Tequ

/ha/ >

// [ɐ́ː][48]

// > /h/[49] OR

/h/

/h/ [ɔ́ːh]

[]

3 fs.

p. noun

/yha/

 

יה

/yha(ː)/

[ɐ́yhɐˑ]?

[ɛ́yhɐˑ]?

/yha/ /haː/

/ɛ́h/

[ɛ́ːhɔˑ]

[ɛʔa]

1 cp.

s. noun

Singular Noun

/nĩ/ > ( independent pronoun
(ʾa)nanū and the subject suffix -nū) /nū/

 

נו

/nū/[50]

[ɪ́nuˑ]?

[ɛ́nuˑ]?

/éːnū/

/ẹ́nu/

[ẹ́ːnuː]

[ɛ́nu]

1 cp.

p. noun

Plural Noun

/yna/ (≈ object suffix /nū/)
/ynū/

 

ינו

/ynū/

[ɐ́ynuˑ]?
[
ɛ́ynuˑ]?

/éːnū/

/ẹ́nu/

[ẹ́ːnuː]

[ɛ́nu]

2 mp.

s. noun

/aˈkumu/ > /aˈkima/ (acc.)

/iˈkumu/ > /iˈkima/ (gen.)

כם

כם

/aˈkima/ >
/aˈkim/[51]