A History of the Hebrew Language by Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher

By Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher

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It is alluded to in the fam ous incident in Judges 12,Iff. The Ephraim ites who challenged Jephthah tried to escape from T ransjordan to their own territory. However the Gileadites had occupied the fords o f the Jo rd an River and were able to trap the disguised Ephraim ites who were trying to cross the river by dem anding from them, “ Say ‫ ש בל ת‬and he said ‫ ״ ס ב ל ת‬. , A m haric. But this interpretation of the story is by no means generally accepted. A. Speiser raised a very plausible objection to it by pointing out that no N orth-W est Semitic language known to us lacks the phonem e /s /.

Sutcliffe). The situation seems to be plain enough; the Jew s were able to pronounce the gutturals (the instances adduced are the place names ‫ץ‬1‫ חבר‬and ‫) צ ע ר‬, but the Greek or Hellenized C hristians were unable to do so for the obvious reason that G reek lacked these phonemes. It goes without saying that Jews who emigrated to Europe (except as mentioned, those living in A rabic Spain) also lost the ability to pronounce ,ayin and het. The pronunciation o f the ,ayin did not differ from that of a le f (but the latter also was not pronounced like a Semitic a le f and was practically only a vowel carrier), while for the pharyngal het they substituted the [x] pronunciation (com pare §25 above).

T ripartite Division o f Biblical Hebrew § 17. It is scarcely possible to date the different books of BH on a linguistic basis, but by and large, scholars have accepted the following tripartite division: 1) A rchaic Biblical H ebrew (A B H ) is represented mainly by the poetry o f the Pentateuch and the Early Prophets. ). 2) Standard Biblical H ebrew (SBH) representing Biblical prose. ). B. M ethod of Presentation § 18. The following survey is based on SBH; the facts are traced vertically up to ABH and down to LBH and beyond, where deemed necessary.

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