I know that Modern Hebrew has only five vowels. What about Classical Hebrew?
the hataphs are not considered vowels
also the Qubbuts and Shuruq are not considered different vowels
because the masoretic put the signs as the text allow them
therefore you can find words written without a Waw and it is with Qubbuts
and the same word that comes with Waw is sign with Shuruq
also forms that "does'n't need" to get a Waw, but still have it, will still gets a Shuruq with a Dagesh at the next letter (what we wouldn't expect to see)
but its there because the form grammaticaly "needed" to get just a qubbuts without the Waw
same thing ith Holam, Hiriq and so on
the masoretic had to use the text as it is
never mind why they use this system
but if the same word is once written with a qubbuts and no waw
and the same word when it is with WAw has the Shuruq
so it is still the same wod
in the ancient time - there was no consistant about the way od writing
the old archiology shows that alot of time very very consanant spelling like איש as אש and a lot more
and also in the bible of course
so for example
the word voices
is written also as קולת קלות קלת
so no matter if there is a WAW or not - ot the Holam is on the Waw or in the consanant letter
it is still the same word -
the masoretic had to use what they got
so if there was waw they used it - and if not - they didn't
The specialized literature speaks of the Babylonian reading system as a six-vowel system, for Babylonia has only one vowel for patah and segol—realized apparently as /a/, if we may rely on the present Yemenite reading. But we shall soon see (7.6.2) that the Tiberian kubbuz, realized as /u/, is split in two in the Babylonian reading system: shurek, realized as /u/, and kubbuz, realized as /y/.
Up until now we have discussed the shurek only as a plene variant of the kubbuz. There are a considerable number of cases in the Masora where the same word is sometimes written plene and sometimes defective (for example, gblt [גְּבֻלֹת] in Deuteronomy 32:8; gblvt [גְּבֻלוֹת] in Job 24:2; and gbvlt [גְּבוּלֹת] in Isaiah 10:13; it is the same form of the plural “boundaries”), and whether shurek or kubbuz it is realized in the same way: u among the Sephardim and the northern Ashkenazim, i, y among the southern Ashkenazim, except among Yemenites. Among them the equivalent of shurek is /u/, the equivalent of the kubbuz is /y/. There are reliable, although not sufficiently detailed reports that the same distinction is also manifest in Baghdad (that is in post-Babylonian territory proper) and in Shiraz (in the Persian province of Fars, that is, in the Babylonian sphere of influence). The conclusion is therefore merited that in the Babylonian reading there was a seventh phone that grew out of the graphic split shurek ~ kubbuz.
The bifurcation of shurek ~ kubbuz into a contrast /u ~ y/ must have taken place before Yemen was isolated from Babylonia, that is, no later than the twelfth century. This is confirmed by the evidence of Ashkenaz (7.4.1): the same contrast /u ~ y/ is found in Ashkenazic Hebrew in the Old Yiddish and up to the Middle Yiddish periods. An influence of Yemen on Ashkenaz is unthinkable, for from the beginning and up to the second half of the nineteenth century the two territories had no contact with each other. Conceivable, the phenomenon /u ~ y/ arose in Ashkenaz entirely independently of Yemen, but what could have been the impetus for such innovation? With much more justification we may conceive of the situation thus: The phenomenon existed among the Babylonians and thence passed over (through migration of the actual users) to Yemen and to Ashkenaz (by Babylonian scholars and teachers). Because this is not the only Babylonian trait found in the Ashkenazic reading since the Old Yiddish period, we must arrive at the conclusion that /u ~ y/ as the realization of shurek ~ kubbuz was also brought to Ashkenaz by the “Babylonian renaissance,” which we place in the thirteenth century (7.13.1).
The authors mentioned in the notes above:Shurek ~ kubuts in Yemen: cf. Goitein, in Leshonenu 3 (1930/1931): 361, and idem, Jemenica (Leipzig, 1934), xvii; Yalon, in Kuntrasim 1 (1937/1938): 76, n. 55; Y. Damati, ibid., 11, 13, and mainly in Kuntrasim 2 (1938/1939): 7-8; Gumpertz, Mivtae sefatenu, 76, n. 62. Damati tells of a dichotomy in the kubuts between men and women: men pronounce shulḥan ‘table,’ kedushah ‘holiness,’ geulah ‘redemption’ with /y/, women with /i/ (words of this type have kubuts, although current Hebrew spelling, too, has a shuruk. Another detail: the /y/ also holds for an initial melupm before a schwa, e.g., uvekhen ‘so’). On the other hand, says Damati, women pronounce words of the type mitsvah ‘commandment,’ mitah ‘bed,’ mikveh ‘ritual bath’ with /y/, whereas the men maintain the /i/ of the ḥirik. I can understand this only in the following way: the phoneme /y/ still exists, but in the Merged Hebrew of Yemenite Yahudic, its use became uncertain. There is confusion, and this is mainly noticeable among women, who do not have the conservative support of study; among men, the boundary between the two phonemes is more marked. (In such fluid situations, it is not precluded that acrolectic influence should regulate the use of the phonemes according to grammatical norms.) On the difference in language between men and women, see §1.6.9.—A. Zvi [Idelsohn], “Mivta hatemanim,” Hasafah 1 (1912): 88-92, has identified the kubuts not with y, but with “short u,” and similarly in Hashiloaḥ 28 (1912/1913): 37; however, idem, “Aussprache des Hebräischen,” 539, describes the Yemenite kubuts as follows: “Before guttural phones, it sounds like a short ü.” Damati rejects the proviso “before gutturals.”—On the kubuts in Bagdad: Yalon, in Kuntrasim 2:102; in Shiraz: idem, Kuntrasim, 1:76.—The more one delves into the details, the stronger the probibility that /u > y/ is not confined to Yemen or even Babylonia but that it is a long-standing process in Hebrew that might date to the times of unmediatedness. The path of research is thorny here and an outsider must await perforce for the conclusions of the specialists. Yalon, in Kuntrasim, 1:76, noted a /y/ among the Samaritans, but Ben-Hayyim has informed me that he knows of no such phenomenon in Samaritan Hebrew. later, Yalon found traces of the process in the Dead Sea Scrolls, cf. Kiryat sefer 27 (1951/1952): 20-21, mainly in the footnote; privately, Yalon has informed me that he has additional confirmation of this view. Kutscher, Halashon vehareka haleshoni, 356-391, discussed the matter in detail, although with only tentative conclusions.—S. Pinsker, Mavo el hanikud haashuri (Vienna, 1863), 15-16, 150-154, maintains that /y/ for kubuts was actually current in northern Palestine: “Its pronunciation was like the pronunciation of Polish Jews—German ü or French u.” (Yalon, in Kuntrasim, 1:67, rightly asked whether Polish Jews in Pinsker’s time really had a rounded vowel here.) Pinsker added, without adducing proof, that the y for kubuts came to Poland “by way of Caucasia, the land of the Khazars and the Crimean peninsula.” In the framework of our facts, it is difficult to see how the Sephardi Abraham ibn Ezra could have pronounced the shuruk /y/, as Pinsker states in Mavo. However, Yalon, in Kuntrasim, 1:67, pointed out that Pinsker misinterpreted ibn Ezra; for the latter, shuruk was u.—In my “Prehistory and Early History,” 91-93, I expressed the opinion that Babylonia originally had six vowels, and that the bifurcation of kubuts and shuruk was a later internal Babylonian development, i.e., Babylonia had an older six-vowel reading system and a newer, seven-vowel one. However, Kutscher, Halashon vehareka haleshoni, has collected considerable material, the extent of which has not yet been determined, but that indicates at any rate that the u > y shift is very old and was also encountered in Palestine. Theoretically, it is still possible that this transition eneded later and reappeared in Babylonia spontaneously, but there is no need to conceive of it thus, and therefore, there is insufficient reason to speak of an older and newer Babylonian reading system. Morag, Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic, 22-23, has a very reserved formulation: “One of the phonemes, /u/, is represented by two symbols . . . one, shuruk, is the vav with a dot in the center . . . the other, ŭ (the kubuts), is used when the traditional orthography does not have the vav. To be sure, the kubuts appears quite frequently in closed unstressed syllables, but its use is by no means confined to this position; hence, we cannot conceive of the kubuts as an allophone of /u/, it should be considered a graphic variant of /u/.” For the time being, one thing that can be said with certainty: there are no indications of the /u ~ y, i/ bifurcation in the Tiberian reading system, but in the Babylonian there are. (The material on /y/ in Ashkenaz as the phonic counterpart of kubuts is discussed at greater length under “Old Yiddish—Vocalism.”)
No, the Masoretes, who invented the niqqudim and based their system on quality (as opposed to quantity), pronounced קמץ as a short o. By contrast, in biblical Hebrew, the vowel that corresponded to קמץ in the 𝕸 was pronounced ā, i.e. long a. Historically, this was a short a (while the historically long a became long o in a process known as the Canaanite shift.).Please note that the qamats was pronounced like a short "o" in Biblical Hebrew. So, דבר was pronounced dovor in Biblical Hebrew.
We need to distinguish:No, the Masoretes, who invented the niqqudim and based their system on quality (as opposed to quantity), pronounced קמץ as a short o. By contrast, in biblical Hebrew, the vowel that corresponded to קמץ in the 𝕸 was pronounced ā, i.e. long a. Historically, this was a short a (while the historically long a became long o in a process known as the Canaanite shift.).
But it is true that their system was based on vowel quality, not quantity, right?Even the Masoretes didn't pronounce the qamatz as a short "o" unless it was a short qamatz. But long qamatz was pronounced as a long "o" (but nevertheless an open "o", like that of the English short "o").