Jason Hare wrote:Karl,
When you wrote קבד just above, did you mean כבד?
(Red faced) Yes, that’s a typo. I try to write without error, then these typos that I don’t catch slip through.
Jason Hare wrote:What pronunciation system do you use when you read Hebrew out loud?
Not the Masoretic system, not by a long shot.
Jason Hare wrote:Do you pronounce words out loud? Or, do you somehow just read them as a bunch of consonants strung together with vowels in between as you randomly choose?
Seeing as the original pronunciation has long been lost, how else would anyone pronounce the words?
Actually, it’s not exactly ad hoc, rather there are patterns of seggolate nouns, participle nouns, etc. I have largely taken the patterns from Masoretic patterns, but often disagree with particular examples. For example, Genesis 3:5 I see the verb …כי ידע אלהים as a Qal Qatal,
One thing I’ve noticed, is that poetry seems to flow when every consonant is followed by a vowel
Jason Hare wrote:Do you speak modern Hebrew?
No I don’t. I wanted to learn modern Hebrew, and was disappointed that I never got the opportunity to learn it. But now I view that lack as a blessing, as modern Hebrew has a different grammar, many words have different meanings and there are just different says of saying things. Knowing modern Hebrew would actually corrupt my understanding of Biblical Hebrew.
Jason Hare wrote:If not, where did you learn to read Hebrew without vowels?
Just from reading Tanakh over and over again. I noticed that I was paying less and less attention to them, till I finally ignored them. About that time I changed from reading paper Tanakh to reading on computers, where the computers omit the points.
Jason Hare wrote:Do you actually have vowels on words in your mind that you read when you pronounce the words?
I hear them, but I don’t see them.
Jason Hare wrote:I'm so confused by the system you propose. It seems utterly chaotic and unwieldy. I don't know how you could pass such a system on to new students of the language.
Jason Hare wrote:It's one thing to say that the vowel system is imperfect (which I agree with). However, when it comes to pedagogy, we must have a sensible system for introducing English speakers to Hebrew words and structures, if they are to learn anything at all. We must utilize the vowel system as it is, whether we make amendments to it or accept it completely, and from there give students our conclusions in comparison to what is found in the traditional text.
Agree. I would teach the Masoretic system for two reasons: 1) everybody uses it, so if one wants to communicate through speech, that way it would be understandable, and 2) it’s the only system in use.
Jason Hare wrote:That is, I would teach קָדֹשׁ qāḏōš as a vocabulary word and teach a self-consistent system of pronunciation. I personally use the modern Hebrew system of pronunciation (since I speak modern Hebrew), but someone could change the specific pronunciation of, say, the kamats over against the patach (etc.). How do you teach students to read Hebrew without any vowels from the very beginning?
Like I wrote above, I would teach with the vowels to start.
However, I haven’t been given the opportunity to teach beginning students. I don’t have papers. I’m mostly self-taught from reading Tanakh over and over again. My formal training ended after just one year.
Jason Hare wrote:I mean, in the Bible, we often find words written defectively (without matres lectionis), which leads to many words appearing simply as their root letters. How do you get students to recognize the difference between, say, קדש as qiddēš ("he sanctified"), qāḏōš ("holy, sacred [thing]"), qāḏēš ("shrine prostitute"), and the several other forms that are represented with just these three root letters? You must give them somewhere to begin.
We have the word meanings. We have the contexts where they’re used. The points are not needed to understand what the text says.
However, how many times have the points led astray? How many times do the points indicate a different meaning than what the text indicates? How many times do the points indicate not only different grammar, but also different words entirely? At the same time, how many times have the points cleared up copyist errors?
The matris lectionis appear to be a post-Babylonian exile invention. Though it seems that sometimes they were added to poetry to aid in the flow of poetry.
Jason Hare wrote:I have for many years wondered at your approach to reading the Bible. Only as I get older do I find it simply untenable for teaching those who do not know Hebrew to become acquainted and comfortable with the Hebrew language.
You are thinking as a pedagog, I as a linguistic researcher. Where the twain should meet is a good question.
It’s my understanding that in Israel, readings in the first couple of years include the points. At least that’s what I was told.
Those who learned before the Babylonian exile already knew how the language was pronounced, therefore had little problem with only consonants. They knew which vowels to put into which contexts.
Jews lost the native ability to speak Hebrew during the Babylonian exile. After the exile, people tended to put Aramaic pronunciations to fill in the missing vowels. It would take only a few generations for a complete shift in pronunciation.
As long as we communicate only through writing, we don’t need the points. But should we ever have the need for speaking, then what?
Karl W. Randolph.