A History of the Hebrew Language by Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher

By Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher

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The following survey is based on SBH; the facts are traced vertically up to ABH and down to LBH and beyond, where deemed necessary. The other periods will subsequently be summed up under separate headings (§§108-125). W ith all its shortcom ings, o f which there are many, this seems to be the best m ethod for tracing the history of Hebrew within our framework. C. Phonology I. Consonants § 19. A ccording to the generally accepted assum ption Proto-Semitic had 29 consonantal phonem es. In Hebrew the num ber was reduced to 23 after 12 §§19-20] P honology the merger of several phonemes (cf.

The root ‫ פ ק =) ספק‬1‫ ע‬in BH). This tendency is especially marked in the m anuscripts where even ‫‘ שי ם‬to p u t’, ‫‘ ב שורה‬tidings', etc. are spelled with sam ekh. In the printed editions, the copyists and printers very often “ corrected‫ ״‬the spelling in accordance with Biblical Hebrew (cf. §195). Literature: Bergsträsser, H G I, p. 42. 2. The S ibbolet-Sibbolet Incident. §22. The Is / too, sems to have undergone a change during Biblical times, at least in one Hebrew dialect, but the facts are by no m eans clear.

E. (see §174). , R achel= b‫ רח‬, A c h i e z e r ^ w m . The same holds true for the *ayin. , G aza= n:‫ע ז‬, (the Greeks, for lack o f an adequate letter, use the Greek letter γ = /g / to denote the sound). A lthough 17 BIBLICAL HEBREW [§ § 2 5 -2 7 more detailed research is required to clarify the picture, it can safely be stated on the basis o f com parison with A rabic th at the [x] is employed mainly where the parallel A rabic root has a /x /, while in w ords in which Hebrew het parallels Arabic /h /, G reek, for lack of an adequate graphem e, has no consonantal notation.

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