English - American
In בתשע ורבע and בשמונה וחצי why is the conjunctive particle pronounced with an a-vowel rather than with a e-vowel as it is elsewhere?
Hmm... I am not convinced by this proposed rule, because the examples cited, although correct, are exceptional.If the conjunction ו is followed by a noun that is stressed on the first syllable (this includes all monosyllabic nouns), the ו gets a קמץ, regardless of what vowel the first syllable of the following word has.
Yes, that's true, but the way you state it suggests that the choice of vocalisation is arbitrary or random. The expected vocalisation for these words is וְאֶבֶן and וְלַיְלָה, and that is how they occur in the bible, unless there is a particular reason for the strong vocalisation, e.g., in the pairs יוֹם וָלַיְלָה and עֵץ וָאֶבֶן, on account of the close relationship between the two items of each pair, viz. day-and-night and wood-and-stone.