Pronunciation of א, ע and yi

Discussion in 'עברית (Hebrew)' started by Lazar Taxon, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. Lazar Taxon New Member

    Englih - US
    Hi! I'm a beginner, and I have some questions about the standard pronunciation of Israeli Hebrew:

    1. To what extent, if any, should I pronounce א and ע? I don't mean to ask about the traditional Semitic pronunciation, but about whether they should be articulated at all or left silent. To divide this into different questions:

    - For medial instances, should I regularly pronounce a word like זאב as [zeˈʔev], or just as [zeˈev]?

    - For final instances, should I pronounce שמע and ברא as [ʃmaʔ], [baˈʁaʔ], using a word-final glottal stop like you would find in Cockney, or just as [ʃma], [baˈʁa]?

    - For initial instances, should I pronounce a phrase like איש אשכולות as [ˈiʃ ʔeʃkoˈlot], with a German-style word-initial glottal stop, or just as [ˈiʃ eʃkoˈlot]?

    2. Should I pronounce "yi" as [ji], or just as ? For example, should ישראל start off with [jis…] or with [is…]?
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  2. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew
    א as a glottal stop: native Israelis would have hard time trying to understand what you mean. It all sound the same. Omitting the glottal stop altogether is good. And yet: זאב is ze-ev, not zev.
    א vs. ע: for some Israelis ע becomes almost identical to א, therefore same answer. For other ע is a different consonant.
    Yi as in Israel: most Israelis omit the initial y sound. Few do maintain this feature.
     
  3. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    I believe yi at the start of the word is pronounced [ji] but with a much weaker [j] sound than in English. So somewhere between Yisra'el and Isra'el. I think this because yitpa'el and hitpa'el do not sound exactly the same, despite the fact that the pronunciation of [h] in modern Hebrew is very weak and in cases non-existent.
     
  4. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    I believe we evolved those sounds into some in-betweens, no one says ה is א or ע for instance.
    However, everyone who knows the spelling of a word knows the sounds he needs to make (to speak properly)
     
  5. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Well, ה is usually pronounced when it's stressed. For example, ההר is pronounced by most speaks /ahar/
     
  6. bat777 Senior Member

    Talmon, Israel
    Israel, Hebrew
    Just another comment regarding Lazar Taxon's question about ע and א in final position, as in ברא or שמע. These sounds are not pronounced at all in Israeli Hebrew, thus there is no phonetic contrast between קלע (shot/hit) and קלה (light-not heavy, fem.), or between ירא (feared) and ירה (shot).
     
  7. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Not entirely accurate: they are still pronounced, but just as /a/ vowels rather than consonants.
     
  8. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    The vowels existed already when those consonants became mute. The most likely was compensatory lengthening like in non-rhotic English accents in for /fɔr/>/fɔ:/ where you wouldn't say the <r> was pronounced /ɔ/, would you? But vowel length long ceased to be phonemic in Hebrew. Also, there are cases where the vowel preceding a mute א isn't an /a/, like ראש.
     
  9. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    yes berndf, and also ראשון but this can be seen as archaic hebrew just like there are words in english of the same manner (the name sean anyone?)
     
  10. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    ראש and ראשון are exactly like ירא: the x in the syllible coda is mute and the vowel belongs to the preceding consonant.
     
  11. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    I didnt say theres no mute alef, i only meant that mostly alef is a mother for /a/ movement, then for /e/
     
  12. airelibre

    airelibre Senior Member

    English - London
    Sean is pronounced Shaun because that is the way Irish orthography works. Hence, it's not really an English word.
     
  13. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Not sure, if this is really true. Take e.g. the discussed example of the verb ירא where in the 3rd singular masc. perfect yare the א even causes the preceding /a/ of the regular pattern CaCaC to become /e/ (originally /e:/).
     
  14. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    @airelibre English has so many loan words that if you really start counting the true english words you will be left with a really small amount - that is what the language is today.

    @berndf I dont follow, its pretty simple

    alef - a, e, o, i
    he - a, e, o
    vav - o, u
    yud - i, e, ay/ei
    half mother is ayin in my opinion - a, e
     
  15. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    So, where does the aleph favour shifts towards /a/, as you claimed?
     
  16. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    It does, what do you mean where does it favor? in most of the words thats the suggestion it makes.
     
  17. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Sorry, I don't understand what you're trying to say.
     
  18. arielipi Senior Member

    Israel
    Hebrew
    To give exceptions as rules is misleading, there arent many words that a mute alef in them gives 'i' sound.
     
  19. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I still don't understand what's your point when you replied to my initial post here. I have no idea what you meant by "alef is a mother for /a/ movement". In my reply I tried to interpret it the best I could but obviously failed miserably. I am terribly sorry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2014

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