Shva

Thomas Keyes

Senior Member
USA, English
According to a Hebrew grammar that I had some years ago, sheva is completely silent in some cases, but in other cases there is a very short vowel. For example, I suppose you pronounce 'st' as in 'stav' just like English 'st'. But what about 'ktav'? Do you say 'ktav' as a perfect monosyllable, or do you say "k'tav"? Are there some general rules? Shnei?
Shlosha? Sfatayim? Yria? Mdabber? Lvona? Gdola? Ktzat? etc.
 
  • cfu507

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    Hi Thomas, I believe you meant shva (or schwa in my dictionary). Sheva is the number seven.
    There are two kinds of shva (nach and na) and both of them are pronounced, but differently.
    Shva na is like the sound of "e" - segol and ztere.

    You have written ktav and k'tav. What is the difference between them? Please explain me.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    I believe Thomas writes k'tav to refer to a pronunciation with a vowel sound (schwa) between the k and the t as opposed to ktav with no vowel in that position. The question is under what circumstances the schwa symbol (looks like : under the letter, when written) adds a syllable.

    I imagine the rule for Biblical Hebrew may be different from the rule, if any, for modern Hebrew.
     

    Macnas

    Member
    English and Russian, United States
    According to a Hebrew grammar that I had some years ago, sheva is completely silent in some cases, but in other cases there is a very short vowel. For example, I suppose you pronounce 'st' as in 'stav' just like English 'st'. But what about 'ktav'? Do you say 'ktav' as a perfect monosyllable, or do you say "k'tav"? Are there some general rules? Shnei?
    Shlosha? Sfatayim? Yria? Mdabber? Lvona? Gdola? Ktzat? etc.

    It's ktav, a single syllable.

    It's a little more complicated than this, but basically the shva is never pronounced at the beginning of a word except when you have the sequences mC, nC, rC, lC, yC (where "C" is any consonant). So the words you listed are pronounced ktav, shney, shlosha, sfatayim, yeria, medaber, levona, gdola, ktzat.

    This is for modern Hebrew. The rules for Biblical Hebrew are slightly different, but I don't know them well enough off the top of my head.
     

    Thomas Keyes

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    That's exactly it. I knew it was something like that, but I couldn't quite remember. Thank you. Yes, in that case, I meant 'shva' not 'sheva'. With the apostrophe, I meant a word like English 'commit', which I would write "k'mit", two syllables.

    Thomas
     

    elroy

    Imperfect mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    [...] but basically the shva is never pronounced at the beginning of a word except when you have the sequences mC, nC, rC, lC, yC (where "C" is any consonant). [...]
    Are you sure that's a comprehensive list?

    What about בעיה, which is pronounced "be'aya"?
     

    Thomas Keyes

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Macnas wrote:

    It's a little more complicated than this, but basically the shva is never pronounced at the beginning of a word except when you have the sequences mC, nC, rC, lC, yC (where "C" is any consonant). So the words you listed are pronounced ktav, shney, shlosha, sfatayim, yeria, medaber, levona, gdola, ktzat.

    You're right, pardon me, but what about geullah (redemption)?
     

    Macnas

    Member
    English and Russian, United States
    I do believe I said that that isn't the complete rule! :)

    You did find another rule, though. The shva is always pronounced when, at the beginning of a word, it is caught between any consonant, and alef or ayin.
     

    Omeriko

    New Member
    Israel - Hebrew
    What Macnas explained in their first post is pretty much correct, but just to make it clear, it's not any official rule. The official rule is the one in their last post. However if you want to talk like an Israeli person does you have to go by the one in the first post and not by anything else you come across. It's not written anywhere, in schools we are taught the official rule only, but in reality we just don't talk like that.

    As for your last post, we actually would say vehine and not vhine, but there is no mistake in the lyrics. Hebrew has two kinds of sentences, משפט פועלי (with a verb with it) and משפט שמני (without a verb). The latter is generally used whenever you would use the verb 'to be' in English. When you use this kind of sentence, you can either use a pronoun - which, in this context, is referred to as אוגד - or not. It's up to your choice, as both forms make sense and are correct grammatically.
     

    cfu507

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    I think there was a thread about it before. There are two kinds of shva:
    שווא נע and שווא נח.
    שווא נע: you should pronounce it as e. That’s why you should say Leumi, Beaya… - the שווא in these words is in the beginning of the word, so it is שווא נע. There are probably special cases that I don’t remember because we say ktubba, ktov…

    שווא נח is not pronounced. When I say: תשמעו קטע… I don’t pronounce the ש while the מ is like me. When there are two שווא the first one is נח so we don’t pronounce it and the second one is נע so it sounds like e.
     

    cfu507

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    One more thing Thomas.
    When שווא is before the letter yod, it sounds like i. Examples:
    ארץ ציון וירושלים = virushalayim
    טיילתי בירושלים שבישראל = birushalayim, biyisrael
     

    Thomas Keyes

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    In this same vein, I have a couple of other questions.

    Here's a line from a Hebrew song:
    כפתי אותו והביאיהו
    http://shiron.net/songView.aspx?song_id=633&singer_id=3780&song_title=df57

    It sounds as if Bracha Zefira is saying, "Kifti oto vahaviihu." Is that correct?

    Also how do you pronounce river? Look at how hebrewsongs.com transcribes it.
    http://www.hebrewsongs.com/?song=beinneharpratuneharchidekel

    You can't take hebrewsongs.com's transciptions as 100% correct. You can see on the same page, they have both Prat and Perat for Euphrates.
     

    evilwarlock

    New Member
    English-USA
    :warning: NEW QUESTION - this post and the following posts were moved from Kau-mets and Kau-mets chautef [Kamatz and Hataf-Kamatz]

    Okay, does the rule that says when the sheva vowel follows a long vowel it is vocal have exceptions? I've been looking over some words, and although I'm still fairly new to the Hebrew language some words don't sound right. If I follow the rule, the sheva vowel in "שוברים" would be vocal, making it "shovereem". But I would have guessed "shovreem".
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    origumi

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    If I follow the rule, the sheva vowel in "שוברים" would be vocal, making it "shovereem". But I would have guessed "shovreem".
    It is shovrim indeed. This is not an exception but yet another rule.
    Schwa and kamatz are different issues, you can search for past threads about schwa/shva/sheva.
     

    evilwarlock

    New Member
    English-USA
    Okay, I've been reading through verbs on the website http://www.hebrew-verbs.co.il/, and if I'm following the rules correctly "רוקדים" would be pronounced "rokedim" because the sheva vowel (1) comes after a long vowel and (2) precedes a "ד without a dagesh". So if that's not correct and the word is pronounced "rokdim", what am I missing? Here's the link to the exact page of the verb "לרקוד" in past, present an future form with all vowels included:
    http://www.hebrew-verbs.co.il/show_...oot=y&gender=0&tense=0&pl=0&count=0&VIEW=VIEW
     

    Drink

    Senior Member
    English - New England, Russian - Moscow
    Okay, does the rule that says when the sheva vowel follows a long vowel it is vocal have exceptions? I've been looking over some words, and although I'm still fairly new to the Hebrew language some words don't sound right. If I follow the rule, the sheva vowel in "שוברים" would be vocal, making it "shovereem". But I would have guessed "shovreem".

    Okay, I've been reading through verbs on the website http://www.hebrew-verbs.co.il/, and if I'm following the rules correctly "רוקדים" would be pronounced "rokedim" because the sheva vowel (1) comes after a long vowel and (2) precedes a "ד without a dagesh". So if that's not correct and the word is pronounced "rokdim", what am I missing? Here's the link to the exact page of the verb "לרקוד" in past, present an future form with all vowels included:
    http://www.hebrew-verbs.co.il/show_...oot=y&gender=0&tense=0&pl=0&count=0&VIEW=VIEW

    It is "shoverim" and "rokedim", however in Modern Hebrew these shvas are usually dropped even though they are vocal.
     

    Ali Smith

    Senior Member
    Urdu - Pakistan
    In the Massoretic tradition there is a phoneme called שְׁוָא. By "phoneme" I mean a distinctive speech sound, i.e. an abstract unit taken from the sounds of a language that corresponds to a set of sounds that are perceived as being similar.

    שְׁוָא is a cover symbol for two sounds, which occur in specific environments, i.e. they are in complementary distribution, which means each of the two sounds will appear where the other cannot, and vice versa. Thus, you cannot substitute one for the other, i.e. there is no free variation.

    Now, what are the two allophones of this phoneme? One is actually no sound at all while the other is an extremely short murmured vowel. Here is how they are distributed:

    1. If there is a non-spirantized bgdkpt letter after the שְׁוָא and a short vowel before the שְׁוָא, then the שְׁוָא represents a non-vowel, i.e. a complete absence of a vowel. For example, מַלְכִּי /malkîy/ 'my king'. I made the "y" small to emphasize that it's just a mater lectionis and has no bearing on the pronunciation.

    /malkîy/ <- /malak +i + ya/

    As can be seen, historically there was no vowel after /l/.

    2. If there is a spirantized begadkepat letter after the שְׁוָא and a short vowel before it, the שְׁוָא was historically a short vowel. Although the vowel is now lost and the שְׁוָא thus represents a non-vowel, the spirantization of the begadkepat letter is a trace of the historical full vowel that dropped out. I say "full vowel" to distinguish it from the three hatef-vowels, which are half-vowels.

    For example, מַלְכֵי־‎ /malḵêy/ 'kings (construct)'.

    /malḵêy/ <- /malak + ay/

    In this case the historical short vowel was /a/.

    3. If there is a spirantized begadkepat letter after the שְׁוָא and a long vowel before it, once again the שְׁוָא was historically a short vowel. Once more, although the vowel is now lost and the שְׁוָא thus represents a non-vowel, the spirantization of the begadkepat letter is a trace of the historical full vowel that dropped out. However, if the loss of the historical short vowel resulted in a two-consonant cluster that was not preceded by a vowel, the שְׁוָא that took the place of the historical short vowel was probably pronounced as a very brief murmured vowel. Thus, יִכְתְּבוּ was probably pronounced not /yiḵtḇū/ but /yiḵtəḇūw/ <- /yaktubū/. By contrast, מָלְכוּ was probably pronounced not /māləḵūw/ but /mālḵūw/ <- /malakū/.

    This leaves us with the question of why the first ת in לִשְׁתּוֹת is not spirantized. As indicated above, a two-consonant cluster not preceded by a vowel is not permitted, which means the שְׁוָא on the first letter of שְׁתוֹת must have been pronounced as a very brief murmured vowel. The question is: why did the first ת lose it spirantization? If anyone knows the answer, I'm all ears!
     
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