rules for pronouncing ו' החיבור ("and")

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sherd

New Member
English
I know that sometimes one is supposed to pronounce ו as "oo" and sometimes as "vi" depending on the letter that comes after. What exactly is the rule?
 
  • ks20495

    Senior Member
    Hebrew and English
    First, a correction: The letter "ו" can be
    (1) the vowel ("oo" as you write it)
    (2) the vowel [o]
    or (3) the consonant [v]

    As you learn the language more, you'll start to get a feel for when ו is a consonant and when it's a vowel.

    In unvoweled texts, consonantal ו will usually be written as two ו's. (for example: תקווה = tikva.) However, unvoweled texts won't indicate whether ו is or [o].

    In voweled texts, there is no ambiguity. [o] is written as וֹ; is written as וּ; and [v] is written as a ו with any other vowel marker.

    Examples:
    חָלוֹם (KHalom - dream)
    סָגוּר (sagur - closed)
    תִּקְוָה (tikva - hope)

    The letters in the vicinity don't really matter:
    For example,
    דור (dor - generation)
    דוור (davar - postman)
    דורה (dura - sorghum grain...sorry for the obscurity :))
     
    Last edited:

    sherd

    New Member
    English
    First, a correction: The letter "ו" can be
    (1) the vowel ("oo" as you write it)
    (2) the vowel [o]
    or (3) the consonant [v]

    As you learn the language more, you'll start to get a feel for when ו is a consonant and when it's a vowel.

    In unvoweled texts, consonantal ו will usually be written as two ו's. (for example: תקווה = tikva.) However, unvoweled texts won't indicate whether ו is or [o].

    In voweled texts, there is no ambiguity. [o] is written as וֹ; is written as וּ; and [v] is written as a ו with any other vowel marker.

    Examples:
    חָלוֹם (KHalom - dream)
    סָגוּר (sagur - closed)
    תִּקְוָה (tikva - hope)

    The letters in the vicinity don't really matter:
    For example,
    דור (dor - generation)
    דוור (davar - postman)
    דורה (dura - sorghum grain...sorry for the obscurity :))


    Thanks for that, but I suppose I should have been more precise with my question. I was referring specifically to use of the ו as in "and".

    I know in colloquial one doesn't distinguish and one would always pronounce the ו like in the expression קל וחומר. (kal vi homer) But there are times when one pronounces the ו as an "ooo". From ear I would guess that before a ב one would say "ooo" (ובדבריו ) would be pronounced "oo-vi-divarav". I was looking for the specific rule.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    "Oo" when it comes before פ מ ב . Before all other letters, "v." (Not always "vi;" the vowel varies, but if you say it quickly you can get away with "vi" pretty much all the time.)

    Added in edit: In my haste to give a quick and simple answer, I oversimplified too much. Please use the more complete information in later posts.
     
    Last edited:

    sherd

    New Member
    English
    "Oo" when it comes before פ מ ב . Before all other letters, "v." (Not always "vi;" the vowel varies, but if you say it quickly you can get away with "vi" pretty much all the time.)
    Thanks. Is there a hebrew or english text that would explain this on the internet? I do not even know what search terms to look for.

    Similarly, when is an initial ב pronounced a "v"? For example when does בית become vayit?
     

    ks20495

    Senior Member
    Hebrew and English
    "Oo" when it comes before פ מ ב . Before all other letters, "v." (Not always "vi;" the vowel varies, but if you say it quickly you can get away with "vi" pretty much all the time.)
    Mostly right...But...

    It is וּ:
    (1) before the letters ב, מ, פ, AND ו
    (2) before a שווא נע (any שווא at the beginning of a word)

    It is וִ before a 'י that has a שווא נע (i.e., יְרוּשָׁלַיִם --> וִירוּשָׁלַיִם).

    Everywhere else, it is וְ.
     

    ks20495

    Senior Member
    Hebrew and English
    Thanks. Is there a hebrew or english text that would explain this on the internet? I do not even know what search terms to look for.

    Similarly, when is an initial ב pronounced a "v"? For example when does בית become vayit?
    I'm not sure if there is an English text online that explains it. (I'm sure there is in print though.)

    As far as your specific question goes...the letters בגדכפת sometimes take what is called a דגש קל. In the past, the דגש קל changed the pronunciation of all of the letters. But, today only ב, כ, and פ change. In ב, the דגש קל changes [v] to .

    דגש קל occurs only at the beginning of the word or after a שווא נח (a full stop). So, let's take the example of בַּיִת. It is and not [v], because the ב occurs at the beginning of the word. If, however, we add וּ, the ב is no longer at the beginning of the word and, thus, loses the דגש קל:
    וּבַיִת
     

    origumi

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    The rules are rather simple: וו החיבור sounds in most caes as "ve", with exception before the four בומ"פ letters where it sounds as "u" (this is called "the boomaf rule" in Hebrew grammar), and another exception before the letter "י" (yod) in which it sounds as "vi".

    Of course there are many exceptions, yet complying with the rules above covers vast majority of the cases.
     

    yuval9

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    when you have Vav used as "And":
    1) The Vav is usually "ve"
    2)When the word begins with שווא or ב ו מ פ ("Bumaf" letters = letters of the lips) - The Vav is pronounced as "OO"
    דשא ובתים
    חתולים וכלבים
    3)When the word starts with יְ (Yud with שווא). the Vav is pronounced as "Vi"
    חיפה וירושלים
    אישה וילדים
    4)When you have ֲ in the beginning of the word. The Vav is pronounced as "Va"
    עשרים וחמישה
    כלבים וחתולים
     

    origumi

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    4)When you have ֲ in the beginning of the word. The Vav is pronounced as "Va"
    Important addition, thanks.

    If the discussion is about biblical Hebrew - we must remember that וו ההיפוך which is very common in the Bible may look the same in first glance but behaves differently.
     

    Ilya Kogan

    New Member
    Israel - Hebrew & Russian
    when you have Vav used as "And":
    1) The Vav is usually "ve"
    2)When the word begins with שווא or ב ו מ פ ("Bumaf" letters = letters of the lips) - The Vav is pronounced as "OO"
    דשא ובתים
    חתולים וכלבים
    3)When the word starts with יְ (Yud with שווא). the Vav is pronounced as "Vi"
    חיפה וירושלים
    אישה וילדים
    4)When you have ֲ in the beginning of the word. The Vav is pronounced as "Va"
    עשרים וחמישה
    כלבים וחתולים
    (4) applies not only to ֲ, but to the other hatafs as well:
    וָעֳפָרִים - vo-ofarim (hataf-kamatz makes the vav take a kamatz-katan)
    וֶאֱהֹב - ve-ehov (hataf-segol makes the vav take a segol. In this case the vav is pronounced "ve" just as if it had a shva.)
     

    ks20495

    Senior Member
    Hebrew and English
    Also, if we want to be totally exhaustive with the rules...

    Before a stressed syllable, it is written as וָ:
    וָכֶלֶב
    וָעִיר
     

    Ilya Kogan

    New Member
    Israel - Hebrew & Russian
    Also, if we want to be totally exhaustive with the rules...

    Before a stressed syllable, it is written as וָ:
    וָכֶלֶב
    וָעִיר
    This is not generally true. וָ is used only in specific combinations, such as numbers (עשרים וָשבע) and idioms (בית וָגן).
    You don't use וָ before ANY stressed syllable. For example:
    יש לי חתול וְכֶלֶב, not וָכֶלֶב.
    הלכתי ברחוב, וְכלב חצה את דרכי
     

    qwertz10

    New Member
    English
    So how come in the song "Siman Tov u'Mazel Tov," the refrain is "u'l'chol Yisroyel"? Why that and not "ve'l'chol Yisroyel"?
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    Thanks for that, but I suppose I should have been more precise with my question. I was referring specifically to use of the ו as in "and".

    I know in colloquial one doesn't distinguish and one would always pronounce the ו like in the expression קל וחומר. (kal vi homer) But there are times when one pronounces the ו as an "ooo". From ear I would guess that before a ב one would say "ooo" (ובדבריו ) would be pronounced "oo-vi-divarav". I was looking for the specific rule.
    Actually, in the expression קַל וָחֹמֶר you always pronounce the ו as va. I have never heard it pronounced vi.
     
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