"be vait gadol"

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by rambo, May 27, 2007.

  1. rambo New Member

    Hello folks,

    I'm new here :)

    We say:

    Be + ha bait ha gadol = Ba bait ha gadol

    However, we say:

    Be + bait gadol = be vait gadol

    Why is the pronunciation changing? What's the name of this phenomenon? Could anyone give me some reference in English ?

    Toda Raba :)
  2. -Epic- Junior Member

    country:israel , language:hebrew,english
    The first talks about a known house (like saying in the big house).
    The latter means any big house (like saying in a big house).
  3. AurelieB

    AurelieB New Member

    You have two cases:
    In the first case there is dagesh in the beth and you read it B. ​

    In the second case there is no dagesh in the ב you read it V. ​

    Two rules for the dagesh
    First: The word begins with a ב , the ב receives the dagesh ( begedkefet rule) => Bayit ​

    Second: The word begins with the ה הידיעה you put dagesh in the second letter. => HaBayit ​

    BaBayit in THE house with dagesh
    BeVayit in A house without dagesh because it is no one of the two ruleses.

  4. rambo New Member

    I am sorry. I stil don't get it. You are saying that the example:

    Be + bait gadol = be vait gadol

    doesn't apply to any of the two rules. For me - it does apply to the first rule described by you.

    The word bait does begin with "b". Logicaly, it should be pronounced Be bait gadol. I know there is no tagesh, the point is: why ! I don't quite understand the complicated rules which make us say klal but bekhlal, kvish but bakhvishei israel and so on :(
  5. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    These rules were inherited from the classical language. It has to do with the status of the letters b,g,d,k,p,t. In Classical Hebrew most letters can exist doubled (dgusha, similar to shadda in Arabic) or plain. In the case of b,g,d,k,p,t there existed a "lighter" pronunciation (v,gh, gh, kh, f, th) when the letter was not doubled, nor word-initial, but rather existed immediately after another consonant or in between vowels. Eventually the "double" consonant pronunciation was lost, and all that remained was the hard/soft contrast.

    In Modern Hebrew only light pronunciations for b (v), k (kh) and p (f) still exist. I'm not a speaker of Hebrew as I learned it for liturgical/religious reasons, but I was under the impression that some of the rules of pronunciation were changing a bit, and the sound status of the letters was becoming a little more stable for some words. Apparently prefixation by be- still causes the change. Reading in the Ashkenazi tradition still has light pronunciation for t (s, derived from th) and reading in the Yemeni tradition has light pronunciations for the whole set.

    Edit: Of interest, this phonological process is called lenition and is not unique to Hebrew or Semitic linguistics at all. In fact, in Spanish, when the sounds b, g, d are in between vowels, they receive a lighter pronunciation, which ranges regionally from spirants to approximants. The phenomenon also occurs in Gaelic after certain grammatical particles, such as the vocative, etc.

    Interestingly, there is a hierarchy in such systems, such that the lenition process is usually only observed to occur in one direction. Say, for example b>v but not the other way around:).
  6. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    I'll try to explain:

    First of all, a brief explanation about the dagesh in Hebrew. The are two types of dagesh:
    (1) Dagesh kal - appears only in the letters ב ג ד כ פ ת. If one of those letters is the first letter of a word or it follows a shva nach, it gets a dagesh kal. Dagesh kal changes the pronunciation of those letters: בּ = B, ב = V; פּ = P, פ = F, etc.
    (2) Dagesh chazak - appears in all the letter except to א ה ח ע ר. There are some rules governing the dagesh chazak, but only one is relevant to our case: the letter following the definite article (ה' הידיעה) must have a dagesh chazak, unless is one of the five letters above. In modern Hebrew dagesh chazak is not pronounced, but if it happens to appear in the letters ב כ פ, it's pronounced as if it was a dagesh kal.

    Now to our cases in question:

    בְּבַית גדול (bevait gadol, "in a big house"):
    - The first ב gets a dagesh kal because it's the first letter of the word.
    - The second ב doesn't get a dagesh kal, because it's neither the first letter of the word nor following a shva nach (the shva in this case is a shva na).

    בַּבַּית הגדול (babait hagadol, "in the big house"):
    - The first ב gets a dagesh kal for being the first letter of the word.
    - The second ב gets a dagesh chazak because it follows the definite article ("swallowed" by the first ב).

    I hope it's clear now. :)
  7. rambo New Member

    עכשיו אני מבין

    :) תודה רבה
  8. scriptum

    scriptum Senior Member

    Israel / Hebrew, Russian
    Don't be so quick to thank. One should add that nobody in his right mind ever says "bevait". At least, I never heard it in my whole life. Everybody says bebait. It is an error, of course, but who cares? :rolleyes:
  9. clevermizo Moderator

    St. Louis, MO
    English (USA), Spanish
    This is what I was curious about the spoken language changing and the consonants becoming more stable. Thanks for confirming it:).
  10. Yaella Junior Member

    Français - Belgique
    Strange because I have learned and heard "beVeit Leh'em" (in Beit Lehem), "hu holekh leveit shimush" (he goes to the toilet) and so on....
    But I lived in Israel in a time when you would regularly hear "bo'na banot" (come, girls), "habanot mekvutza aleph telekhna...] (the girls of group A shall go...) [i.e. people made a difference between masculine and feminine in plural form, in particular in a context with only grils] and I'm told that girls don't hear that anymore.
  11. scriptum

    scriptum Senior Member

    Israel / Hebrew, Russian
    Now that you mention it, I must confess that "levet shimush" sounds quite natural to my ears, while "levait" sounds rather weird.
    I don't know why. Maybe we have here some new grammar rule I'm not aware of.
  12. Yaella Junior Member

    Français - Belgique
    Indeed, we would say "hu nikhnas lebait h'adash" but "hu nikhnas leveit avot". Perhaps something with the vocals that indicate "smih'ut"?
  13. Codinome Shlomo Senior Member

    Portuguese (Brazil)
    Is this a common verb (nikhnas, ניכנס)? How is it conjugated as feminine? ניכנסה (nikhnasah)?
  14. arielipi Senior Member

    נכנס נכנסה
    yes, its common.
  15. Yaella Junior Member

    Français - Belgique
    present tense: hu nikhnas, hi nikhneset
    past tense (as per Arielipi's post): hu nikhnas, hi nikhnesah
    In fact, I just noticed that the third person is the same in the past and in the present tenses
  16. arielipi Senior Member

    In this binyan, the present tense for all singular male persons are the same as third person in past, in pronunciation. they differ in niqqud.

    and i meant that you write נכנס נכנסה without י.
  17. hadronic Senior Member

    New York
    French - France
    Would you as naturally say "halakhti levet sefer" ? I believe most people would rather say "le bet sefer".
    I also heard someone say one day "ha-khtav", meaning "ha-ktav" (the script). Not even talking about linvoax and other such atrocities.
    My take on that is, the entire system is collapsing / collapsed, and we're left with a myriad of individual cases, that no set of rule governs any more.
    (A little like French, in a way... :) )
  18. David S Senior Member

    Richmond, VA, USA
    English - US
    That's if you're a prescriptivist. Others would prefer to say that Modern (Israeli) Hebrew has different pronunciation rules than Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew.

    Do people follow these dagesh rules in formal settings, say at a university lecture or business meeting? I would say that once an "error" has spread from the uneducated masses to formal settings, it is no longer an error and the language has changed.

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