pronunciation of ב

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Ali Smith

Senior Member
Urdu - Pakistan

My textbooks always said that ב with dagesh is pronounced "b" (i.e. as a voiced bilabial stop) while the one without a dagesh is pronounced "v" (i.e. as a voiced labiodental non-sibilant fricative). However, Wikipedia says that the latter is actually [ɸ], i.e. a voiced bilabial non-sibilant fricative. In other words, Wikipedia says that the only difference between בּ and ב is that the former is a stop while the latter is a a non-sibilant fricative. The other two features, namely phonation (voiced) and place of articulation (bilabial), are the same. If this is true, then my textbooks mislead me when they stated that בּ is pronounced "b", because "b" has a different place of articulation (labiodental).

The example given on Wikipedia is אבל‎ ['äˈβal].

Is this correct?

אני מודה לכם מאוד
  • Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    It depends which period of time and which group you are talking about.

    But the truth of the matter is that the farther you go back in history, the less certain all these things become. The difference between [v] and [β] is very minor. So it's nearly impossible to know for sure which one was used historically in a given time and place.


    Senior Member
    The difference between 'ב' with dagesh and 'ב'' without dagesh, is indeed the difference between 'b' and v as you mentioned,
    both in the Bible and in modern Hebrew.
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