SKiN eM LeVY rule

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Glenn Dean
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SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Glenn Dean »

Hi:

I had a question on the 'SKiN eM LeVY', which isn't a 'rule' but states that "shin,sin,samech,tsade ('S'),qof ('K'),nun ('N'),mem ('M'),lamed ('L'),vav ('V'),yod ('Y')" MAY lose a dagesh forte when followed by sheva.

I was listening (and practicing my vocalization - OUCH!!) of Isaiah 7:13 where we see the word שִׁמְעוּ - I would pronounce this as "shim - u", but the recording I'm listening to he pronounces it as "shi - me - u" (as if there's a dagesh forte on the Mem).

We also see the word הַמְעַט - I would pronounce "ham - at" (but he pronounces as "ha - me - at" (again, as if there's a dagesh forte).

SO my question is - in the two examples I've just mentioned does the "SKiN eM LeVY" apply? IF it doesn't, what could explain the pronunciation shi-me-u and ha-me-at ???

Thanxs!

Glenn
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Jason Hare
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Jason Hare »

I just came across a "rule" (if you will) in A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar (van der Merwe, Naudé, and Kroeze) [Second Edition] (which I was able to purchase at a discounted price this week through the annual conference of the Society of Biblical Literature) that I hadn't seen before. I actually sent it to Jonathan to see if he had heard it explained this way, and he also said no. I've attached a screenshot of the explanation. By the way, their grammar calls them qenemlui and says that you should add the sibilants to the rule (see §8.2.5 Qenemlui letters).

The point is that forms may have the dagesh when initial mem is followed by ayin (מְעַט > הַמְּעַט), but not necessarily (we find both הַיְּהוּדִים and הַיְהוּדִים in the biblical text). I see that this specific words actually drops the dagesh in all occurrences (Gen 30:15; Num 13:18; 16:9, 13; 35:8; Deut 7:7; Josh 22:17; Isa 7:13; Ezek 16:20; 34:18; Job 15:11), but it isn't unusual to pronounce it as if it had the dagesh and the sheva were vocal.

The attached image is from §24.4.2 Form of the article on page 217.

Enjoy!
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Jason Hare
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Jason Hare
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Jason Hare »

Reading שִׁמְעוּ as shim-ʿu is acceptable. The sheva was originally vocalized, though. Think of the imperative as a broken imperfect.

תִּשְׁמָ֫עוּ > תִּשְׁמְעוּ > שִׁמְעוּ

The form תִּשְׁמָ֫עוּ is found in pause (cp. Deut 13:5), and it represents the older form (tiš-má-ʿu). Over time, the stress shifted to the final syllable and the a reduced to sheva. Thus, tiš-má-ʿu > *tiš-ma-ʿú > tiš-mə-ʿú > šə-məʿú > ši-mə-ʿú (since you remove the ti- prefix to get the imperative from the imperfect). We see the same thing in the perfect: ša-má-ʿu > *ša-ma-ʿú > ša-mə-ʿú.

So, that sheva is vocal (not silent), as is also indicated by the fact that there are two shevas side-by-side in the imperfect. When you remove the tav to create the imperative, that leaves two shevas, which is resolved by switching one to chirik. This doesn't really change the quality of the sheva that is left. It is vocal, but it looks like it is silent (after sheva). Again, this is what we call a "medial" sheva. It is both closing the first syllable and opening the next. The best pronunciation would be to vocalize it, as you hear in the recording, but it is acceptable to pronounce it as closed (as we do with a lot of shevas in modern Hebrew).
Jason Hare
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Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

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Glenn Dean
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Glenn Dean »

Thanxs Jason!

So in the SkiN eM LeVY 'rule' should it read " ... sometimes loses the dagesh forte when a sheva is UNDER the letter"??? My textbook (p. 21 of K&J) states "These Skin 'em Levi letters frequently (though inconsistently) lose dagesh forte when they are followed by a shewa" (I take "followed by a shewa" to mean "the sheva is on the following consonant, NOT under the skin 'em levi consonant)

Glenn
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Jason Hare
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Jason Hare »

Yes, "the letter is followed by sheva" means "sheva is under the letter." I see why that could be confusing. The "inconsistently" there is what the reference grammar was attempting to explain.
Jason Hare
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Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
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Glenn Dean
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Glenn Dean »

The example הַמְּרֵעִים is a great one since it demonstrates just how "inconsistent" these things are (in my two examples, the Mem is followed by one of the 3 consonants resh,ayin,hey but the dagesh is gone, but in that grammars example הַמְּרֵעִים the dagesh is there).
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Jason Hare
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Jason Hare »

Precisely. The reference grammar is saying that it may be there in these situations (since it appears in the Bible), but not explaining why it might be this way or that way. It's just something you should not be surprised to find.
Jason Hare
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www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
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ducky
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by ducky »

Hi Glenn and Jason,

Glenn, you read it right.
The M is read as silent in both cases.

**************************************
The word שמעו-נא is read: "shim-'u-nA
you can also give secondary stress to the "shi" (and it doesn't affect the Sheva).

Also notice that I wrote "the word שמעו-נא" (and not just שמעו)
because these two words שמעו+נא are acting as one word.

*********************
the word המעט is read: "ham-'at"
This is not a definite article.
But it is an interrogative particle.
(Therefore, the explanation above does not fit this case).

interrogative particle usually comes with Hataph-Patah'.
But before Sheva, it turns to Patah'. (like in this case).

*************
the reader (which I guess I know which one you're talking about), is not accurate here.

What I think that may happen in his reading (and I can just guess) is that the secondary accent that he put on the "shi" (in Shim'u-na) caused him to think that this accent affects the Sheva, and so he vocalized it.

**
As for the המעט - maybe he just separated the word מעט from its interrogative particle (which is common to do in the speaking - to separate the prefixes from the words - to make it clearer).

***
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Glenn Dean
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Glenn Dean »

Thanxs Ducky! I was wondering about the interrogative particle (that is why it wasn't the normal חֲ), so thanxs for that info.

I'm listening to "Shlomo Bertonov" (it's not the "famous" audio of the Tanach, the one at chabad.org),

Glenn
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Jason Hare
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Re: SKiN eM LeVY rule

Post by Jason Hare »

Ah, I didn't check that!

So, if it's המעט שיש לי, then it's הַמְּעַט. Yeah? That makes sense.
Jason Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
www.thehebrewcafe.com
Nihil est peius iis, qui paulum aliquid ultra primas litteras
progressi falsam sibi scientiæ persusionem induerunt.

— Quintilian
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