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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This has been pointed out periodically by others "in the know", but let me just cross-post to Hall of the Goblin King an educational kvetš about the word אלוה.
״אֱלוֹהַּ״

is pronounced
ELÓAH
and not
ELOHÁ

The letter ה with a mapiq dot in the middle and a patahh underneath at the end of a word works exactly the same as a ח or ע at the end of a word with a patahh underneath.

So just like ״נֹחַ״ is pronounced NÓAHH
and ״שָׂמֵחַ״ is pronounced SAMÉIAHH,
״לִשְׁמוֹעַ״ is pronounced LISHMÓA‘

(not LISHMO‘Á)
and ״גָּבוֹהַּ״ is pronounced GAVÓAH
(and ״גְּבוֹהָה״ is GEVOHÁ in comparison)


Therefore, be aware:
when you say "ELOHÁ",
you are not saying ״אֱלוֹהַּ״ —
you are actually saying ״אֱלוֹהָה״!
(assuming you're using a dialect that doesn't distinguish patahh and qomatz)


Now, addressing the Creator of Worlds as "Goddess" instead of "God" may be fine if you're an iber-feminist or a Shekhina-worshipper, but I'm pretty sure that most people doing so don't actually know what they're doing. So be careful with pronunciation so that you don't accidentally make a theological statement you're not willing to stand behind.

36 Comments:

Blogger The back of the hill said...

Aloha Steg,

In plurals, however, the consonant shifts to the front of the syllable. I note that in occasionally a consonant is placed in a plural which in the singular, when spoken, is not audibly apparent.

11/16/2005 9:55 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

Yes, on Yom Kippur I often hear people loudly crying:
ve`al kullam
Eloha selihot
selah lanu
mehal lanu
kaper lanu


if only they knew they were praying to the goddess of forgiveness. Which sounds kinda pagan. But, y'know what? I think Rahmana understands what they're trying to say anyway.

btw, someone asked me during Hoshanot why some of them refer to God in the feminine (eg lema`an amitach). So, the mistakes go in both directions.

11/16/2005 10:30 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

goddess of forgiveness.

Wouldn't that need to be elohath selihhoth?

11/16/2005 10:54 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

btw, someone asked me during Hoshanot why some of them refer to God in the feminine (eg lema`an amitach)

Some achrônem are against the correct -och forms when referring to God exactly for this reason. The Hôshannes are almost the last place where you can find some at least.

11/16/2005 11:02 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

For a while, the famed internet persona Mechy Frankel thought that the correct pronunciation was "elôha". Then, he looked in a facsimile of the Keter Aram Soma (Codex Alepponiensis "Corona"), and found that the pathach appeared slightly to the right of the hei, NOT directly underneath it. He concluded that the misdakdekim* must be right, and that the word must be pronounced "elôwah".

See Mechy Frankel's tale here.

*lower-case M, because I'm talking about misdakdekim in general, not Chevras HamMis-dakdekim.

11/16/2005 11:41 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

BTW, I know it's difficult to describe when you stay inside Hebrew, but I'm afraid the usual attempts to explain it as שָׂמֵאַח and the like open the doors for a new error.

11/16/2005 12:04 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

attempts to explain it as שָׂמֵאַח

Over the erste täg fun sukkes, the Torah reader at KAJ-Breuer's pronounced the furtive pathachs with full glottal stops before them.

Perhaps a better phonetic representation in Hebrew letters would be שָׂמֵיַּח. No?

11/16/2005 12:36 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I'd support the representation with yud, although without a dageish. Not sure how to do the same thing with back vowels in dialects which pronounce vav and not waw, though.

11/16/2005 12:40 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Not sure how to do the same thing with back vowels in dialects which pronounce vav and not waw, though.

Evidence that the vâv-dialects are halakhically inferior? (Emphasis on the question mark.)

Look at the sidebar: we have haskomo now!

11/16/2005 12:58 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Just the opposite! (Leaving aside Beis refuye,) if you pronounce it v, the w is available as a glide between u/o and pasech genuve. If you pronounce it w, you'd insert a consonant phoneme where none is supposed to be.

11/16/2005 1:02 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

My favorite "eloha" messup, as mentioned at Biur Chametz, is the phrase Elóah Ya‘aqov, which when pronounced properly means "Jacob's God" but when pronounced inproperly means "Jacob is a goddess" — sounds like a fashion magazine...

11/16/2005 1:04 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Hey! Who removed the haskomo?

11/16/2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Oh! It looks like somebody has put the haskomo back up.

(It's *wierd when you have multiple Blogmeister.)

11/16/2005 6:16 PM  
Blogger Gil Student said...

You can tell a real medakdek when instead of "Elokah", he says "Elo'ak".

11/16/2005 7:17 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

You can tell a real medakdek when instead of "Elokah", he says "Elo'ak".

Amoretz: eloha
Misdakdek: elo'ah
Medakdek: eloah

11/17/2005 3:08 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Real Chareizi: Eloka;
Wannabe chareizi BT who studied a little bit of dikduk on the way to rejecting it: Elo'ak

11/17/2005 7:23 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Wannabe chareizi BT who studied a little bit of dikduk on the way to rejecting it

Hm, you think I should put the above on my list?



Misdakdek with scruples about writing h:
elo'ak
Medakdek WSAW h: eloak
Real medakdek WSAW h: elok

11/17/2005 9:29 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

REAL Chareidi: Keloka

11/17/2005 9:45 AM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Good point, Habib.

Real chareidi in writing: Ke%-l&ka.

Chareidi writing develops from anarchy to leet anarchy at the moment.

11/17/2005 9:51 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

at the moment

At what moment-- the very moment of thy sentence.

(IOW, thy sentence was a self-fulfilling profezia?)

11/17/2005 10:21 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Wannabe chareizi BT who studied a little bit of dikduk on the way to rejecting it

Hm, you think I should put the above on my list?


But of course! Right now is the data-collection phase; just throw it in, for you can edit it later.

Then of course, there's the category "Ckareizi witk scruples about writing tkat letter".

11/17/2005 10:29 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

My question remains: who will be the first to think up a kinuy for "Hashem"?

Re Special K: This is spelt out in the ultimate manual to self-improvement (http://www.frum.org/Winnerisms/101frum.asp):

85. Ginger Kale.

92. If someone's name is "doniel" or "Gavriel", pronounce it "gavri-kel" or "doni-kel" in order that you shouldn't say G-d's name in vain. (Shoshana Friedman)

You should seriously consider re-christening your blog, Mar Gavri-Kel.

11/17/2005 10:36 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

who will be the first to think up a kinuy for "Hashem"?

You mean "Kashem"? See here and here.

11/17/2005 10:48 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

You should seriously consider re-christening your blog...

But remember, I don't "have anything better to do than call honest Christisans names". See my haskama.

11/17/2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

See here and here
My epistulae, from now on, will bear the salutation "Shkalom".

11/17/2005 11:09 AM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Kabib:

Are you sure you don't mean
Skalom (without the H, ckas ve-skolom)?

11/17/2005 12:07 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Talking about labels - a new one just saw the light of the day: Covenantal Judaism.

11/17/2005 12:51 PM  
Blogger Habib said...

without the H, ckas ve-skolom

But what about KaKadosh Baruck Ku?

Maybe it should be HaHadosh?

11/17/2005 12:58 PM  
Blogger Gil Student said...

Why would it be Eloak and not Elo'ak? I understand why not Elo`ak.

11/17/2005 3:08 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

It's because there's no actual alef glottal stop there. The /a/ only exists as a transition between the real vowel and the guttural consonant.

Technically, it should be Eloh, but since Hebrew doesn't like non-low vowels before gutturals, an 'epenthetic' /a/ is inserted.

ruahh is really ruhh
lishmoa‘ is really lishmo‘

So Eloh becomes Elóah.

11/17/2005 3:51 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Oh btw, the proper taboo deformation of יה is Yaq, not Qah ;-)

11/17/2005 4:37 PM  
Blogger Habib said...

Technically, it should be Eloh, but since Hebrew doesn't like non-low vowels before gutturals, an 'epenthetic' /a/ is inserted.
Is this why we call the ark-meister Noahh, whereas the Bene Ishm`aqel call him Nohh?

11/17/2005 5:48 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

the Bene Ishm`aqel call him Nohh?

1. I think they call him Nūhh. After all, there is no phoneme /o/ or /ō/ in Arabic.

2. No aleph is pronounced in the word Yishmā`ēl. Therefore, it is very difficult to create a "taboo deformation" (as Steg says) of it. I guess Yishma`_Qēl would be a good attempt.

11/17/2005 6:47 PM  
Blogger Habib said...

1. Yes, Nuh.

2. I was just being frum and humradik. Fine, you can spell Yishma`qel like that, just don't expect me to eat your food.

11/17/2005 8:32 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I was just being frum and humradik.

B%ruch K&sh'm. We need more people like that.

11/18/2005 7:42 AM  
Blogger Soferet said...

בס"ד
I've been tripping on mapiq-Hey for the past couple of months, so I love this post!
LOVE it!
:)
Avielahhh

6/29/2006 11:45 AM  

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