Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

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zadok
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Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

Postby zadok » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:40 pm

Working my way through the Allen Ross textbook.

Is it correct to say the circumflex has no value other than to facilitate transliteration back into Hebrew? i.e. It would have no value if your intention is to transition to reading/writing in Hebrew. And it also has no value in how a person reading transliterated/romanised hebrew would pronounce the transliterated text?
Zadok Salman

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

Postby Kirk Lowery » Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:30 am

I know that this is a late response, but I just noticed that no one responded.

I don't have the Ross textbook, so I don't know what you're looking at. However, the circumflex is not an indication of accent in Hebrew. It is only a diacritic combined with a Latin alphabetic consonant to indicate the phonetic value of consonants. Hebraists long ago came to a consensus about how to represent the sounds of Hebrew. This was motivated by the discovery of other semitic languages in the 19th century. Most of them used other writing scripts, so there was a need to somehow indicate the same sound used in different languages. The circumflex is combined with a Latin letter to represent one sound.

Unless you are studying comparative semitics or doing some other linguistic analysis, you are right that the student of Hebrew should move away from transliteration as soon as possible. Another use of transliteration is when you are writing to an audience that does not know Hebrew or it's alphabet. So linguists use transliteration extensively in all of their writings when citing from many different languages.

In my experience and as a practical matter, I have just tried to pronounce the Hebrew text the same way they do today in Israel and let it go at that, unless there is some reason to be more precise. The value in pronouncing the text is the aural reinforcement of vocabulary and acquiring fluency in reading. (There are those who might disagree with the above opinion.)

So the short answer: the circumflex in Hebrew transliteration has no independent value and only serves in combination with a Latin letter to represent a consonantal sound.

Hope this clarifies.
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kwrandolph
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Re: Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

Postby kwrandolph » Sat Feb 27, 2016 8:27 am

Kirk Lowery wrote:In my experience and as a practical matter, I have just tried to pronounce the Hebrew text the same way they do today in Israel and let it go at that, unless there is some reason to be more precise. The value in pronouncing the text is the aural reinforcement of vocabulary and acquiring fluency in reading. (There are those who might disagree with the above opinion.)


LOL!

As a practical matter, the Biblical pronunciation of Hebrew has been lost, so the only pronunciation known today is the modern pronunciation. Therefore, if I taught a class, I would teach the students to know and recognize that modern pronunciation, while at the same time emphasizing that it’s not Biblical. Students would need to know modern pronunciation in order to communicate with other students of Hebrew.

When writing to people who don’t know Hebrew, transliterating לבי as Labaya, as did one ancient source, is possible. But those who know some Hebrew using only modern pronunciation wouldn’t recognize it. That’s one reason why in written communications it’s best to use Hebrew (well, actually Aramaic) letters when giving an illustration in Hebrew.

Kirk Lowery wrote:So the short answer: the circumflex in Hebrew transliteration has no independent value and only serves in combination with a Latin letter to represent a consonantal sound.


The reason I didn’t answer earlier is because I have never seen a transliteration of Hebrew using accents. Therefore, I don’t know from where Ross gets them.

Karl W. Randolph.

Jemoh66
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Re: Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

Postby Jemoh66 » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:59 am

Jonathan E Mohler
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Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

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Re: Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

Postby Kirk Lowery » Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:30 am

Thanks, Jonathan, for the link. Okay, I stand corrected: the circumflexes are used to indicate varying vowel qualities. The link is to the Society of Biblical Literature standards for transliterations. Those values are reconstructions; you are right about that, Karl. It does reflect the scholarly consensus of their values, so keep that in mind. They do not represent accents at all.
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Jemoh66
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Re: Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

Postby Jemoh66 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:03 pm

Kirk,

Here's great resource for beginners. I posted it in Resources as well.
http://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/85 ... xcerpt.pdf
Jonathan E Mohler
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Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

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Re: Purpose of the circumflex in hebrew transliteration.

Postby Kirk Lowery » Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:41 am

Thanks! It is indeed helpful!
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