SteveMiller wrote:Thanks Ste. That is interesting about כול.
I learned in Hebrew school that whenever you have the vav prefix on a word beginning with bet, pey or mem or vav, the vav prefix is pronounced as oo because otherwise it would be hard to pronounce.
But I was surprised to find that in Israeli street Hebrew, they always pronounce the vav prefix as "veh" no matter what letter comes next.
It's unfortunate that it was presented to you that way, i.e. "pronounced as oo because otherwise it would be hard to pronounce." It was linguistically lazy for your teacher to say that. This is why I believe students should take basic linguistic courses before engaging in Biblical languages.
1. We're dealing with a waw, not a vav.
1a. A waw is a Bilabial. ב, פ, מ are all three Bilabials. Do not think of the פ or the ב as dental/labial like the [f] and [v]. They are respectively [ɸ] and [β].
1b. The waw [w] is a vowel-like consonant, like [y]. So it's makes sense that as a Bilabial and a vowel-like, when followed by a Bilabial it will glide into a full vowel.
1c. The vowel [u] is among other things a bilabial vowel, it requires the rounding of the upper and lower lips. Rather than the negative idea that it's difficult to say [wə] before [β], it would be better to describe the glide from vowel-like to full vowel as "economical."
Notice the same idea in a word like בירושלמ --> [biruʃɒlɔm] birooshahlom
So it's not a vowel. It is properly written as a consonant and belongs in a consonant only period. It's just that the native speaker of this pronunciation, while reading the unpointed text would turn the vowel-like consonants u and y into vowels in a particular phonological environment. In our present case the environment is "when preceding a bilabial consonant."