Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

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Jason Hare
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby Jason Hare » Wed Jul 22, 2020 9:57 am

Isaac Fried wrote:
There are so many places where the Masoretic points are demonstrably wrong such that if a person rigorously follows the points, he has to twist himself into such mental pretzels and jump through weird hoops to make sense of the text; it’s easier just to follow the consonantal text as written. So which leads to confusion, following the text as written, or the points as added?


This is puzzling to me. How does one read a consonantal Hebrew text without reentering into it the omitted vowels?

He told us in another thread that he doesn't read the words out loud. He doesn't pronounce them. That's what I got from his statement.

He says that "the evidence is that 100% of the time the points don’t reflect Biblical era pronunciations." He, then, rejects the vocalization completely, from start to finish. In the same post, he said: "Most of the time I read the text, I read it silently. With no pronunciation." However, if he does read a word aloud, he says that he doesn't know how it should actually be pronounced, so he uses a modern pronunciation.

How can this actually be anything other than confusion? I just wish that a rejection of the vocalization didn't have to take such a high part in discussions about the text. Emendation is to be welcomed when justified, but rejection for the sake of rejection is not beneficial.

Jason
Jason Hare
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kwrandolph
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby kwrandolph » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:29 am

Jason Hare wrote:(1) There is no clear way to pronounce words according to your position.


How can any scholar not admit to guessing as to the vowels of any language that has not been spoken for 2.5 millennia and written only with consonants, as is the case for Biblical Hebrew?

Even the Masoretes were just guessing that their Tiberian Hebrew pronunciation was correct. How is it not just good scholarship to question their guesses, especially when those guesses don’t follow the consonantal text?

Jason Hare wrote:You don't have a standardized pronunciation that can be shared with other people.


How is that not just honest scholarship?

Jason Hare wrote:Even ulpan classes in Israel begin with the vowels and break learners from them with time. It is impossible to pronounce words without vowels — even if they are unwritten, they must be there.


Duh! Here you deal with a modern, spoken language that has rules that are known.

Jason Hare wrote:(2) You seem to just guess at what form you think fits and invent relationships that are actually not part of the consonantal text. This guessing without grounding is not a way to get out of confusion. It only leads into it.


In this verse, we have a case where those who invented a way of indicating vowels, assumed that a certain root was used. But in order for them to give a pronunciation that backs up their assumption, they have to butcher the written, consonantal text with vowels that indicate a misspelling of the original, consonantal text.

Meanwhile, there’s another root, used five other times in Tanakh so we have fairly good idea as to its meaning, whose consonants exactly match those found in this verse and whose meaning also fits the action portrayed. So how is it wrong to claim that those who invented the vowel points were mistaken, as evidenced by the consonantal text connected with this known, other root?

Karl W. Randolph.

kwrandolph
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby kwrandolph » Wed Jul 22, 2020 4:18 pm

Jason Hare wrote:
Isaac Fried wrote:This is puzzling to me. How does one read a consonantal Hebrew text without reentering into it the omitted vowels?


Is it the same omitted vowels, or entering different vowels that bring forth the meaning of the consonantal text?

Jason Hare wrote:He told us in another thread that he doesn't read the words out loud. He doesn't pronounce them. That's what I got from his statement.

He says that "the evidence is that 100% of the time the points don’t reflect Biblical era pronunciations."


Anyone who has worked with immigrant families with American born children knows this pattern—the children, even if they can speak their parents’ language, they speak it with an American accent. That means that they can’t pronounce some of the phones found in their parents’ language, and they mispronounce their parents’ language with phones not found in their parents’ language. In fact, I’ve even heard immigrants who have lived here for a long time start pronouncing their mother tongue with an American accent.

Now we look at Hebrew. The vowel points weren’t invented until over a thousand years after Biblical Hebrew ceased being spoken as a native mother tongue. Those people who spoke it, spoke it as a learned, second language. Their pronunciations were influenced by their native, mother tongues. What is the probability that Biblical Hebrew pronunciations were preserved over 30 generations? How can it be greater than nil? Plus there are scattered evidences of pronunciation changes.

Jason Hare wrote:He, then, rejects the vocalization completely, from start to finish. In the same post, he said: "Most of the time I read the text, I read it silently. With no pronunciation." However, if he does read a word aloud, he says that he doesn't know how it should actually be pronounced, so he uses a modern pronunciation.


I use modern pronunciation to communicate to others. But when reading to myself, often find myself wondering how Biblical era Hebrews pronounced those written sentences.

Jason Hare wrote:How can this actually be anything other than confusion?


Confusion? What confusion? The only confusion I see is when the Masoretic points indicate one meaning, and the written text indicates a different reading. In those cases, I go with the consonantal text.

Jason Hare wrote:I just wish that a rejection of the vocalization didn't have to take such a high part in discussions about the text.


The discussions of the vocalization are discussions on the meanings that the vocalizations bring forth, not the vocalizations per se. When the consonantal text indicates one meaning, and the vocalization a different meaning, then it’s legitimate to question whether or not the vocalization is correct.

Jason Hare wrote:Emendation is to be welcomed when justified, but rejection for the sake of rejection is not beneficial.

Jason


Rejection for the sake of rejection? Who does that? You’re not talking about me.

My rejection of the vocalizations started with the realization that many times the Masoretic vowels indicate one meaning, while the consonantal text indicates a different meaning. When I was young, I was like you, assuming that the Masoretic points were correct, because I was taught that the ancient Hebrews were not careful in their spelling. But the older and more experienced I got, the more I realized I was rejecting the Masoretic “corrections” in favor of the original text. It was a gradual change for me. Rejecting the Masoretic pronunciations is just part of the gradual maturing of my knowledge of Biblical Hebrew. And the reason for my rejection? It’s because of the meanings that the pronunciations impart.

Rejection for rejection’s sake? Hah!

Karl W. Randolph.

Isaac Fried
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby Isaac Fried » Wed Jul 22, 2020 7:09 pm

Karl wrote
In the consonantal text without points, the Piel is indistinguishable from the Qal except for the participles. That leads to the question, how many Piels are mispointed Qals, likewise how many Qals are mispoinnted Piels? In participles where we can distinguish the difference, there are examples of דבר in both Qal and Piel. So what exactly is the force of the Piel in Biblical Hebrew? “Intensive” is nonsense. Are there patterns with contextual clues apart of medieval Hebrew points that can tell you when to use Piel, and when to use Qal? After all, the Biblical writers knew when to use Qal and when to use Piel, do you know which rules they used?


Indeed, in Ex. 9:25 we read
וְאֵת כָּל עֵשֶׂב הַשָּׂדֶה הִכָּה הַבָּרָד וְאֶת כָּל עֵץ הַשָּׂדֶה שִׁבֵּר
where the piel שִׁבֵּר seems to add nothing over the meaning of the paal שָבַר.
The naqdanyim did not invent this reading, nor did they guess it. They heard it from their fathers or from their teachers or from the public readers in their places of worship, who in turn heard it from their fathers or from their teachers, and so on into the distant past. The study of Hebrew as well as the reading of the תנ"ך never ceased, not for a moment, even in places and times where Hebrew ceased to be the spoken language. Every boy who went to a Hebrew school, or was educated at home, started his education by reciting the HB. Children, open your חומש ויקרא and start reading:
...וַיִּקְרָא אֶל מֹשֶׁה וַיְדַבֵּר יהוה אֵלָיו מֵאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לֵאמֹר
Who introduced this piel form and why is not revealed to us. It was done, I imagine, by some early scribe who possibly wanted to point out, by no particular rule, the causative nature of the verb שבר, 'break'.
The Hebrew language was developed in tandem and in parallel in different places and different times, and this is what produced the different, yet equivalent, verbal forms.

Later, Hebrew took advantage of these equivalences to mutate words into slightly shifted meanings in different בנינים. Today, for instance, we use the qal form שָתַק for 'kept quiet', but the piel form שִתֵּק for 'paralyzed'.

It, indeed stands to reason, that the pronunciation of Hebrew changed over time and place, during biblical times and later. The naqdanyim shifted through all the different readings they heard and produced a compromising sophisticated niqud system that is universally excepted.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Jason Hare
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Jul 23, 2020 8:59 am

Isaac,

I read לִשְׁבֹּר as "to break" and לְשַׁבֵּר as "to break in pieces, shatter" (or even "smash"), just as I read לִשְׁלֹחַ as "to send" and לְשַׁלֵּחַ as "to send away."

Thus, Moses didn't just "break" the tablets when he came down from the mountain; he "smashed" them, broke them to pieces, shattered them on the ground.

Jason
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Isaac Fried
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Jul 23, 2020 10:47 am

Jason writes,
I read לִשְׁבֹּר as "to break" and לְשַׁבֵּר as "to break in pieces, shatter" (or even "smash"), just as I read לִשְׁלֹחַ as "to send" and לְשַׁלֵּחַ as "to send away."

Thus, Moses didn't just "break" the tablets when he came down from the mountain; he "smashed" them, broke them to pieces, shattered them on the ground.

Jason,
If so, then there is a big gulf between our reading of this act שִׁבֵּר. I see it as broke to seven pieces, while you see it as broke into seventy seven pieces (funny funny.)
I admit that indeed to some people, the vowel loaded שִׁבֵּר appears more emphatic then the mere qal שָבַר. Myself, I fail to perceive here any marked difference between the two.I suspect that if we show Ex. 9:25, without niqud, to any Hebrew speaking layperson he would read it, without any hesitation, שָבַר.

I admit that there could be a slight, subtle, variance of meaning between the qal שָלַח and the piel שִלַּח. It is an interesting example.
Otherwise, the meaning distinction between the qal form and the piel form of the same root may be more pronounced. For example,
פרק - פירק, unload - take apart
קצר - קיצר, reap - shorten
קשר - קישר, tie - connect
and more.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Jason Hare
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby Jason Hare » Thu Jul 23, 2020 11:11 am

I certainly agree that people will read it as שָׁבַר, mostly because we don't use a piel of this root in modern Hebrew. That would affect how someone reads the text without vowels. Additionally, you often hear people say shabar in Israel when they mean shavar. That's an interesting case.
Jason Hare
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Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
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Isaac Fried
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby Isaac Fried » Thu Jul 23, 2020 5:15 pm

Jason writes
I certainly agree that people will read it as שָׁבַר, mostly because we don't use a piel of this root in modern Hebrew. That would affect how someone reads the text without vowels.


Jason,
This may be right. Indeed, even though spoken Hebrew is enamored in the piel form (TiLPeN, SiMeS), it has no use for שִבֵּר. To describe a more thorough breakage I would employ רִסֵּק.
Does spoken Hebrew find use for the piel form שִלַח?

Isaac Fried, Boston University

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Jason Hare
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Re: Help translating 1 Sam 2:32

Postby Jason Hare » Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:52 am

No, I don't think anyone would ever conceive of the piel for שלח. Perhaps only in the expression שִׁלּוּחַ הַקֵּן.
Jason Hare
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Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
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