Modern Hebrew/Yiddish/Arabic: Pronunciation of /a/, /aː/, /i/, /iː/

Squee100

Banned
English - American
Can anyone who is well-versed in Modern Hebrew, Yiddish, and Arabic explain to me how to pronounce the a-type and i-type vowels in each? Whether they're "ih" and "uh", "ee" and "ah", or some other combination?
 
  • bazq

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I do not know how "ih"/"uh"/"ee"/"ah" are realized phonetically, so I'm not sure how to help you.
    I think it's best you take a look at the IPA charts of each language, and there are probably audio examples for each vowel (in Wikipedia for instance, maybe on other sites as well).
     

    hadronic

    Senior Member
    French - France
    Hebrew doesn't have long vowels, so there's only /i/ and /a/.

    /i/ is correctly pronounced as [ i ] (English ee, without the length), but very often it tends to be laxer, [ɪ] (English ih).

    /a/ is correctly pronounced as [a] (French a, this sound barely exists in English), but very often it tends to be laxer, as [ʌ] (English uh) or even [ɔ] especially in unstressed environment. Nasalization in stressed syllable is also somewhat frequent.
     

    Squee100

    Banned
    English - American
    I do not know how "ih"/"uh"/"ee"/"ah" are realized phonetically, so I'm not sure how to help you.
    I think it's best you take a look at the IPA charts of each language, and there are probably audio examples for each vowel (in Wikipedia for instance, maybe on other sites as well).
    "ih" like in "fit", "ee" like in "feet", "uh" like in "cup", and "ah" like in "father".
    Hebrew doesn't have long vowels, so there's only /i/ and /a/.

    /i/ is correctly pronounced as [ i ] (English ee, without the length), but very often it tends to be laxer, [ɪ] (English ih).

    /a/ is correctly pronounced as [a] (French a, this sound barely exists in English), but very often it tends to be laxer, as [ʌ] (English uh) or even [ɔ] especially in unstressed environment. Nasalization in stressed syllable is also somewhat frequent.
    Is it the same for Yiddish? What English words should I use as examples of those sounds?
     
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    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    The problem is that each of the languages you listed has many different dialects and hostorical stages, each of which had different pronunciations for these long and short vowels. So we would need to know, what kind of Hebrew (well, you said Modern Hebrew)? What dialect of Yiddish? What dialect of Arabic?
     

    Squee100

    Banned
    English - American
    The "standard" pronunciation of each language (TBH, that's the only reason I referred to Modern Hebrew because I feel like that term puts down the Ashkenazi, Mizrahi, and Yemenite/Teimani pronunciations.)
     
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    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    In Modern Hebrew and Standard Yiddish, there is no length distinction in vowels; in both languages the a is pronounced like in the English word "father" with a Boston accent. The Modern Hebrew i is (I think) sort of in between the vowel of "bin" and the vowel of "bean"; in Standard Yiddish the i vowel depends on the native dialect of the speaker, it could be like "bin", it could be like "bean", or somewhere in between, or even depend on whether that vowel is long or short in the speaker's native dialect.

    As for Arabic, the most standard pronunciation of short i is like in the English word "bin" and of long i like in the English word "bean"; the long and short a varies a lot more based on the native dialect of the speaker, there isn't a real standard.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    As for Arabic, the most standard pronunciation of short i is like in the English word "bin" and of long i like in the English word "bean"; the long and short a varies a lot more based on the native dialect of the speaker, there isn't a real standard.
    With only three qualites being distinguished (/a/, /i/, /u/ plus their long counterparts), there is of course a great deal of variation, both allophonic and free, even within a dialect.
     

    duvija

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Uruguay
    The problem is in the question itself. There is no 'same' sound for those three languages.
    I know only Yiddish, and for this, the vowels tend to be ɪ, ʊ, ɑ - I'm using IPA here. (IPA character picker 19)
    And I really mean 'tend to'. All depends on the dialect and even the consonants surrounding those vowels, like in every other language in the world.
     
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