Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

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Galena
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Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

Postby Galena » Thu Oct 22, 2015 8:30 am

Upon a brief search through a few selected proper names in First book Chronicles chapter one – – a few selected examples:

The following names remain the same throughout all of scripture:
אלישה, סבא, חוילה, סבתא, דקלה

The following names change an Aleph for a heh and other way around:
רעמא in chronicles but רעמה in both Gen 10:7 and Ezekiel 27:22
סבתא in chronicles but סבתה in Gen 10:7

The thread where 1 chronicles 27:2 was mentioned ירושה has then in Genesis it spelt as ירושא Eliminates any idea of consistency in how one spelt the proper noun. In other words an aleph in late hebrew and a heh in early hebrew appears not to compute? Plus the examples I gave show that an aleph and a heh does it matter?

Is there a linguistic change that explains this please?
Kind regards
chris
Chris Watts

klriley
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Re: Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

Postby klriley » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:33 pm

Both he and 'aleph became silent when final, and virtually became markers of a final 'a' sound. If you don't have it, I would recommend you find Blau's "Phonology and Morphology of Biblical Hebrew". It gives a very good overview of the phonetics and history of Hebrew pronunciation.

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Galena
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Re: Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

Postby Galena » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:57 pm

Kirlley, indeed, thankyou for the book pointer, will look into this. I am aware of the fact that both these letters were vowel pointers to an 'a' sound, except when a dagesh in the 'heh' appears. However I am wishing, if possible, to know perhaps, why the apparent inconsistent spellings, to put it another way, is anyone aware about what may have motivated authors to choose as to which letter to choose to represent this sound. At first it seemed, when i looked into a little bit, that the later chronicles used an aleph where in earlier writings the heh was used, this would be a simple case of accepting this as a change, but further reading showed that this was not the case. Hence my curiosity.
Chris Watts

klriley
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Re: Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

Postby klriley » Thu Oct 22, 2015 6:21 pm

It may, perhaps have had something to do with the greater prevalence of 'aleph as a final letter in Aramaic. Checking the DDS may give some pointers. I am really not sure. It seems to be somewhat similar to the replacement of sin by samekh in later writers. I am not sure if you could distinguish between differences due to the writer and those due to later copyists.

S_Walch
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Re: Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

Postby S_Walch » Fri Oct 23, 2015 1:05 pm

It may just be local variants that affected the spelling of names, with some places preferring א compared to ה, and vice versa.

Also when it comes to Chronicles, it may be a case of what source the author was using for the names-list. Possibly an Aramaic source as per klriley's comment above.

(Look at some books in Old English - you'll see many names written several different ways (my last name ('Walch') had the following spellings: Walsch, Welsch, Welch, Walsh, Walssh, Walche, Wilch, Wallace), even in the same book. I would expect a similar thing to appear in other languages.)
Ste Walch

kwrandolph
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Re: Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

Postby kwrandolph » Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:24 pm

Galena wrote:… In other words an aleph in late hebrew and a heh in early hebrew appears not to compute? Plus the examples I gave show that an aleph and a heh does it matter?

Is there a linguistic change that explains this please?
Kind regards
chris


It’s not only proper nouns, but other words too have this pattern. While I haven’t studied the issue myself, I haven’t noticed it as a late vs. early Biblical Hebrew.

My explanation at this time is that the aleph and heh had very similar sounds—the aleph basically unsounded, a vowel holder for beginning vowels and for the second vowel in diphthongs, and the heh fairly soft in contrast to the cheth. Since people spelled phonetically, sometimes they missed the soft heh and heard only a diphthong, especially in unstressed syllables, so wrote an aleph instead of a heh.

That’s my 2¢.

Karl W. Randolph.

kwrandolph
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Re: Heh or Aleph endings on proper nouns

Postby kwrandolph » Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:50 pm

klriley wrote:Both he and 'aleph became silent when final, and virtually became markers of a final 'a' sound. If you don't have it, I would recommend you find Blau's "Phonology and Morphology of Biblical Hebrew". It gives a very good overview of the phonetics and history of Hebrew pronunciation.


I don’t know about that. According to https://www.academia.edu/647023/Review_ ... al_Hebrew_ it’s a dated book that doesn’t refer to more recent (in the last 40 years) research. Reading between the lines of the review, it appears that it starts with medieval Hebrew and following.

One of the rare kingdom era transliterations has לבי “lion” given the pronunciation of Labaya. Does Joshua Blau have good sources for Biblical Hebrew pronunciation to take into account examples like this?

Karl W. Randolph.


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