Hebrew Type Designs

gohebrew's picture

Here are Hebrew Type Design specimens from Mr. Raphael Frank's important little book on Hebrew type designs and its history, printed originally in German, and translated later into Hebrew. An English translation doesn't yet exist. His ideas and opinions are quoted in my English language book on Hebrew Typography.

Frank's contribution to Hebrew type design was significant and influenced Jewish culture due to its enormous impact upon modern Jewish and Israeli societies. These samples include rarely used examples of different type style designs, demonstrating his intense love and knowledge of Hebrew type design.

Frank designed and created the popular standard FrankReuhl type style. No other type design has been used to a greater extent for the Hebrew language in the twentieth century and beyond. In the eighteenth and nineteeth centuries, the Merubaas typeface, and its derivatives, were the book publishing stand typeface. Since then, it was replaced by FrankReuhl. Over the past fifty years, Hadasa, David, and Narkiss, have attempted to upsupt FrankReuhl's dominance and have failed.

Michel Boyer's picture

Michel, thanks for that reference, which corresponds more with modern Hebrew.

This time I googled "biblical hebrew phonology". With such a query, one is likely to expect things using rather technical methods of modern linguistics, but I also found these comments that seem to be readable and that address the question.

david h's picture

Israel,

1. Minhat Shay: Rabbi Yedidiah Solomon Raphael Norzi. The nature of his work is not like Radak — so why to compare and say "these were much greater scholars"? Norzi was a great scholar and too ahead of his time!!!

2. Sheva: Every Sheva Under The First Letter Is NA!!!!

3. An important work about the sheva is the Treatise on the Sheva — discovered in the Cairo Geniza (Kurt Levy,
Zur Masoretischen Grammatik, 1936) ; for example, the Treatise says the letter dalet (shev na) should be pronounced with hataf-hirik, hirik-hatuf. That said, sheva na + hirik -- 1 Chronicles 24:20

There are maybe 5 words with hirik-hataf, hirik-hatuf; see the Aleppo Codex -- Psalm 14:1

another important work is Hidayat Al-Qari; and of course ben Asher.

4. Kamats before shva na is Gadol.

5. If you really want to learn about Ashkenazi pronunciation see the work by Rabbi Shabtai Sofer

6. My opinion -- pick one grammar book. Just 1! But read it from A to Z; later on pick a new book. otherwise you're not going to find your head, legs, arms etc. etc. :)

david h's picture

Psalms 14:1, Aleppo Codex:

gohebrew's picture

William (Bill),

> I don’t understand why you are so insistent that nikkud be done through openType, when it already can be done by dictionary look ups. Dagesh, the word processor, already has auto-nikkud, which will automatically insert nikkud.

> If you want to distinguish shva na and shva nach, then I think that could be done also to a great extent by dictionary look ups...

> I just don’t see your point in trying to do everything by open type, which is only syntactical. What you want can be done anyway by other means, and seems to be impossible only relying on syntax.

First, my profession is to make professional typeface software.

The newest standard industry font format is OpenType, as you know. In addition to basic typographical features, such as: outline font definitions, unification of Adobe PostScript and Microsoft/Adobe TrueType font formats, Unicode support (and double byte characters), OpenType also offers very sophisticated placement of diacritic marks, and intelligent replacement of complex strings of glyphs.

I seek to include use of these features in the professional typeface software which I create, so they have a competitive advantage over other manufacturer's products.

Second, most users do not know of or understand many rules of Hebrew grammar. Hence, an automatic replacement and positioning feature is useful both to use Hebrew grammar correctly without its complete knowledge, and to learn their intricasies easily (by simply turning OpenType off and on at will in Adobe InDesign ME CS/2,3,4 ad beyond).

Third, Hebrew text is available for most everything imaginable, except newly written materials. By including these glyphs and including an automatic replacement and positioning feature, this existing text can be easily modified prior to viewing or printing by simply using the professional typeface software which I create.

It may not be possible to accomplish everything mentioned, or even a small part of it. But the advantages that result from success warrant a valiant effort, as our sages obm promise: "Yagata umatzata, ta'amin" "effort finds success".

It's worth trying.

gohebrew's picture

I misread the sentence from Dana of the Eretz Hemdah organisation, dana@eretzhemdah.org, an affiliate of the Orthodox Union in Israel.

1. Kamatz Katan
However, in the Sephardic pronunciation there exists a clear distinction between Kamatz Katan and Kamatz Gadol, and even the Ashkenazic pronunciation, which does not distinguish as such, still recognizes the difference in that the type of Kamatz will usually determine whether a Shva following it will be a Shva Na or a Shva Nach.

This statement says clearly that the kind of shva, na or nach is usually determined by the kind of kamatz, gadol or katan, before it. Not vice versa, as I incorrectly suggested that was stated.

I asked: "[Should] kamatz katan, hataf kamatz katan, meteg, and shva-na, ... be included in ...prayerbooks?

The answer was: "...the few prayer books which do mark off Kamatz Katan certainly contribute towards correct pronunciation...As for pronunciation, what was written about Kamatz Katan is applicable to Hataf Kamatz, as well...In some rare instances, the distinction between a Shva Na and a Shva Nach can technically change the meaning of a word."

gohebrew's picture

Lost and Found
===========

Lost. Did anyone find head, legs, and arms?

The head has short gray hair. Black knit kippah. Cute blue eyes.
The legs are kinda long and have medium weight. Black pants.
There are two arms. One has a watch with a black band. No rings on fingers - I'm Chassidic.

Reward. Free trip for two to Timbuktu. You pay for babysitters.

gohebrew's picture

David,

What's a "hirik-hatuf"?

Hataf means shortened. Hataf kamatz, hataf patach, and hataf segol, are shortened sounds of kamatz, patach, or segol. Correct?

hirik-hataf - what is it?

hirik-hatuf - now, what is that?

(You dislike the traditional phrase "Lamdeinu rabbeinu".)

Michel Boyer's picture

What’s a “hirik-hatuf”?

My guess is that it is a hiriq that is "stolen" (by assimilation) from the following syllable. That would be the sound given to the sheva according to the following rule that can be found in the same article from Chomsky.

Such a phenomenon occurs in russian; for instance, the name Dmitri is pronounced as if there was a "length 0" i after the D, giving a D that sounds is if an "i" was following, but the result is not quite as if the name was Dimitri.

Guessed right?

david h's picture

> You dislike the traditional phrase “Lamdeinu rabbeinu”

Who's talking. The student Israel Sheva-Na -Hatuf :^)

BTW, I said that I have a book + hataf kamats -- sorry, but the kamats is hatuf (and I think that I'm missing a sentence about the kamats...hatuf... hataf kamats -- go find it :))

Michel Boyer's picture

> 2. Sheva: Every Sheva Under The First Letter Is NA!!!!

The first letter of what? The first letter of a word (as defined as a dictionary entry) or the first letter of a string of characters delimited by blanks? If the answer is the second choice, then would the fact that in the above text of Psalms 14:1 taken from the Aleppo codex words are glued together in a long string have some bearing on the pronunciation of shevas?

William Berkson's picture

>> 2. Sheva: Every Sheva Under The First Letter Is NA!!!!

Not according to the quote above by Michel (Oct 6 7:49 am) from the Chomsky paper. Was Chomsky writing about Biblical Hebrew or modern Hebrew?

david h's picture

Bill,

The most important thing is the context; we have to see the whole verse, or at least couple words before & after.

For example, the word Canaan. The dagesh (letter kaf) is.....kal, right?

But when we see the context, words before & after, nikkud, ta'amim etc. etc. — the dagesh is not kal but hazak (conjunctive dagesh, and by the Masorah: dehik, ate merahik).

Michel,

Sorry. The first letter of a word.

William Berkson's picture

David, what does strong vs weak dagesh have to do with the issue of when it's a shva na?

My interest in this is how best to transliterate names. Here are some Sages' names:

The Art Scroll "Avos Treasury" transliterates the first as Yehoshua ben Perachia, the second as Elazar ben Azaria, the third as Yochanan ben Beroka, the fourth as Schmuel Hakattan, and the fifth as Chanina ben Tradyon.

I'm totally with them that Elazar is better than the traditional spelling Eleazar; the shva under the lamed is a shva nach, I think.

I'm also with them on Yehoshua. You need the 'e', otherwise it's unpronounceable, and under yod must be a shva na, according to the quote above from Chomsky.

But why do they write "Perachia" and "Beroka", as if it's a shva na, but "Tradion" and "Shmuel," as if these are shva nach?

I would think that in modern Hebrew it would be "Prachia" and "Broka"--both schva nach, but you tell me.

Are there any rules going on here, ancient or modern, or are they just going modern with "Tradion" and "Shmuel", but not with the others?

I would think that following the quote from Chomsky, none except "Yehoshua" would be shva na.

Count me confused.

david h's picture

Bill,

> David, what does strong vs weak dagesh have to do with the issue of when it’s a shva na

now I remember that it does ;^) sheva + dagesh is na ;^)

William Berkson's picture

I now have read the article by William Chomsky, and indeed the part Michel quotes does relate to modern Hebrew. But there is more which I find very enlightening. Chomsky--by the way the father of the great linguist and US government hater, Noam Chomsky--concludes:

"Both the historical evidence and actual usage seem to point to the conclusion that the rules about the vocal and silent shewa in our grammatical texts and taught to our pupils are either superfluous or unfounded."

These arcane rules were invented or divined by David Kimhi (~1160-1235 CE). Before this the description of use of the shva na was that it occured at the first letter of a word, the second of two letters with shva under them, or with two identical consonents. That's it. And as far as any Hebrew as actually spoken--either ashkenazi or sfaradi--the use of the shva na on the first letter of a word is actually restricted to the 'liquid consonants', ylmnr (yod, lamed, mem, nun, resh) and the prefixed prepositions and conjunctive vav. The actual rules of spoken Hebrew seem to me as logical and natural as the Kimhi rules seem arcane and impossible.

The rules David Kimhi invented were then taken up by other pedants--er, grammarians--both Jewish and Christian. And they are now used to torture Israeli high school kids, who then proceed to immediately and "consistently ignore these rules in their normal conversation... This is the fate of all artificial and non-functional rules or learning."

My conclusion about transliteration is that the best way to go is not to follow "scientific" rules, which are based on the Kimhi grammar, but rather those of modern Hebrew, which in all likelihood have held sway for a very long time, if not always.

ps. Looking again at Israel's project of getting a special mark for kamatz katan and shva na to substitute from syntax only, I've got a new take. I see in Seow's grammar that it is "rare" that a syllable ending with a final letter or letter with a shva under it is "open". That means that you would rarely go wrong with an automatic substitution of a kamatz katan for a kamatz in such situations. So this could be done. Also you could automate from syntax the simple rules of spoken Hebrew for the shva na. But to automate the Kimhi rules from syntax alone--forget about it.

John Hudson's picture

Bill: That means that you would rarely go wrong with an automatic substitution of a kamatz katan for a kamatz in such situations.

But 'rarely' getting it wrong is still getting it wrong. I'm reminded of the decision of the Israeli national standards body for character encoding not to encode the lower puncum extraordinarium, since it occured so rarely (five of them in the Bible text, three of those on one word). Rarely doesn't mean never, and if you want to be able to reliably typeset the Bible text then you can't rely on mechanisms that sometimes get it wrong, no matter how rarely this happens.

gohebrew's picture

John,

Shana Tova - In Jewish tradition today is called "G-d's day" and every Jew is considered sin-less, because Jews are busy building their sukkahs after Yom Kippur.

In a less lofty goal (than having an automatic kamatz katan, shva na, and hataf kamatz katan), I thought to simply document every occurance of kamatz katan in the Bible(how few are there?) and create GSUBs for those strings, and a second kind of GSUB for every shva that occurs after that kamatz katan, which is certainly a shva na.

As a result, a lot of shva nas and all kamtaz katans are addressed. By the time of new updated version, we'll figure something else out.

From Bill's recent post, I think I should stop reading Chomsky.

William Berkson's picture

John, with a finite legacy system, what is the point of trying to do something systematic for only three words?, I just don't see a problem with fixing three words ad hoc if you know that it's not an issue that's going to multiply in the future. So I can understand the Israelis not wanting to have a standard encoding for something that only occurs in three words in the Bible, and is not going to be used again.

For the kamatz katan, I agree with you to this extent: it makes more sense to do it via a dictionary look up, and not try to create something with syntax only, which is going to work imperfectly in the end.

gohebrew's picture

William,

The short-coming of doing the dictionary look-up approach is that for the Bible, it might be OK, but for nikkud-meteg fonts, this does not cut it. There must be many many other workds used in Mishna, Talmud etc. poetry or even menukad newspapers and books.

The solution I'm suggesting in for Bible users: some Jews but mainly Chistian Bible students.

That's why I thuink a stage by stage approach could work better.

John Hudson's picture

John, with a finite legacy system, what is the point of trying to do something systematic for only three words?, I just don’t see a problem with fixing three words ad hoc if you know that it’s not an issue that’s going to multiply in the future. So I can understand the Israelis not wanting to have a standard encoding for something that only occurs in three words in the Bible, and is not going to be used again.

I think perhaps you misunderstood the case: they did not encode a character for the lower punctum. So there was no way to include this entity in text. This situation has been rectified now.

For the kamatz katan, I agree with you to this extent: it makes more sense to do it via a dictionary look up, and not try to create something with syntax only, which is going to work imperfectly in the end.

Whichever way you do it: with a dictionary or with an algorithm, it should be a character-level operation in text, not a glyph-level operation in a font. The purpose of wanting to display the kamatz in different ways is to indicate a semantic distinction (in this case different pronunciation), and a semantic distinction is properly handled at the character level. This is precisely why Unicode accepted encoding of kamatz katan as a distinct character from kamatz gadol. The character code exists, and it should be used if one wants to make this distinction. So this is something that should be done at the text level, not at the font level, using either dictionary-based character substitutions or algorithm-based character substitutions.

david h's picture

Israel,

> I thought to simply document every occurance of kamatz katan in the Bible(how few are there?) and create GSUBs for those strings,

how few? 2000, 2500.....

> and a second kind of GSUB for every shva that occurs after that kamatz katan, which is certainly a shva na.

not true. see for example Leviticus 15:12 (the last word with the makkef).

p.s.

did you eat a lot today? :^)

david h's picture

edit: sorry. Leviticus 15:32

gohebrew's picture

David,

Actually, after the fast I didn't eat a lot. They say that its not good for the body after a 26 hour fast. When I was a yeshiva bachur in Israel a few decades ago, we got "shamenet" (fatty very creamy yogurt or leben).

In shul, they had lots of cake and orange juice for everyone to break the fast. I think it's a nice custom.

In Shai Lemorah, it seems that there are only a few hundred kamatz katans. Are their different systems for determining a kamatz katan?

Regarding John's point that this, like shva na, should be character-based. First, there is no Unicode value for shva-na, though there should be. Second, data for all Biblical and most post-Biblical literature is already made, without these characters. Hence, a font-based solution is not intended to be a substitute for a character-based solution, but simply a viable solution to apply to all this existing data. Instead of thinking either or, be flexible and consider a third possibility.

I got my scanner back from HP. If it works, I'll post many samples, but Sukkot is upon us. Lubavitchers in Crown Heights tend to get very happy (through l'chayim) and dance every night and day, until Simchat Torah. There are live bands on Kingston Avenue until 12, and the bachurim sing all night.

It's a Jewish Marti Gras, called Simchat Beit Hashoevah. In the times of the Second Temple, it was a regular thing during Sukkot. The Talmud says that they used to hire policemen to ensure that matters didn't get out of hand with the mingling of the sexes.

I look up the quote.

About eating and fasting, I could really lose weight. Yom Kippur should be every month! Do you look like your profile picture without the bat?

gohebrew's picture

There are three shvas in the verse, Lev. 15:32, and only one which follows a kamatz katan. It is not a shva na, but an ordinary shva according to Shay Lemora, as indicated. Hence, if we follow his system of determining a shva na, we need an exception table.

gohebrew's picture

John,

Do you see how the nikkud and taam of the zayin and the reish (the 5th and 6th letters from the right) collide.

Can't we have a group of narrow letters with 2 or more combinations of nikkud and taam or meteg, followed by a daled, or reish with either a nikkud, or taam (not meteg alone), should either be centered or a certain distance from the narrow letter?

I think a GSUB/GPOS combo could handle this, and these things would never happen.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, I just noticed your comment "I should stop reading Chomsky." Well, that depends on whether you are interested in only typesetting according to the "rules" according Chabad leaders, or also other folks--i.e. most of those who read Hebrew. If you just want to follow Chabad leaders, then just ask them and do what they say. But I doubt you are going to get a set of *rules* as you want--rather a set of *rulings*. If you want to set type for others, it seems to me Chomsky might be very informative.

By the way, I just realized that trying to get the sheva na even from Chomsky's rules it can't be done from syntax alone. That's because you wouldn't know just from the string of letters whether the first letter is a preposition or part of the root. Of course a Hebrew speaker will know this, and put in a shva na if it is a preposition, but this also would require some kind of look-up.

gohebrew's picture

>...the “rules” according Chabad leaders, or also other folks...

There are no rules from Chabad leaders, or "other folks" from recent times, except grammartarian Dr. Noam Chomsky, or the "father" of modern Hebrew (who introduced Hebrew to a word for telephone, as "telefone", or electricity as "chashmal" (a word from the Talmud for a manner to carry a fire-like energy to another place).

We only have Rabbi David Kimchi from about 800 years ago (?), the Minchat Shai (when is he from?), others like him, and the very early Rishonim. These are known expert views, accepted by everyone.

Only Kimchi and Chomsky (when is he from?) are in print. So, it's difficult to research the sources. All we have are these two among the noted Jewish scholars.

Was Chomsky like Marcus Jastrow, who ate pork and puffed on a pipe on the Sabbath? Jastrow, too, was a very great scholar. But it's hard to believe that "somebody can emit truthfulness from his mouth when it contradicts the scholars of those much greater than him, for those scholars were living examples of what they taught, while he is a great "pretender"."

Was Chomsky like the early Reform rabbis in Germany who found a loophole for anything?

The Talmud says that there are many ways to "allow" one to hold a bug or insect while ritually immersing, but that doesn't mean it is correctly done that way. The Reform rabbis held bugs and insect while they composed their responsa in the john.

> ...If you want to set type for others, it seems to me Chomsky might be very informative.

I seek to set type correctly. Truthfully. If the Hebrew Union Coolege gives me $$$ to make them custom fonts according to Chomsky, I'll tithe at least 10% to Charity.

But I doubt if anyone really cares. They won't put their money where their mouth is.

> By the way, I just realized that trying...

Ya'gah'tah uh'matza'tah, ta'ah'meen. Where there's a will there's a way. The Mishnah promises it's true!

I think multiple GSUBs and look-up tables make shva-na, kamatza katan, even meteg and auto-nikkud etc. possible.

Each look-up does a different contextual analysis, and linked together, they all result in an OpenType font capable of anything in Hebrew grammar.

Now, today, with processing speeds as fast as they are, these OpenType fonts will be much slower to process than ordinary Hebrew OpenTpe fonts. However, as processing speeds rapidly increase a lot, and dual processors support InDesign, giving way to triple processors, these complex OpenType fonts will also race.

gohebrew's picture

In recent times, we have Professor Aron Dotan of the Tel Aviv University.

It appears that he is a very great scholar in Hebrew grammar. It does not appear that he chooses to reject authorities before him, and suggest new opinions that even Moses never heard.

William,

Let me clarify something that you seem to miss even after your continued study.

In Chabad, a person's personal observance is relative to his or her knowledge and environment, but less essential than the very core of the person.

That's why the Chabad leader could declare the success of the Entebbe Raid was a miracle, of Biblical proportions. The first Satmar leader zatzal rejected the notion that G-d could do a miracle for a non-observant Jew.

So, if a scholar is less observant, his scholarship is not rejected, because his or her very core is still intact.

Maimpnides rules that if a Jew not only rejects his or her heritage intentionally, but also causes other Jews to go astray, his or her teshuva is in deed rejected, and his or her scholarship is burned. One can not even warm himself by the fire.

Maimonides also rules that if a Jewish child is captured and raised as a non-Jew, his or her status is unique. One may not rebuke such a person, but rather encourage him or her to return to the practice of Judaism.

The seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe contraversively ruled that our entire generations falls now in this last category. For even the most astute Torah scholar was raised with a neo-Christian Western mentality, and no longers lives in accord with Jewish practices and thought from generations ago.

gohebrew's picture

שבת שלום

david h's picture

Sheva na by David Kimchi -- Et Sofer (Lyck 1864):

Bill, Israel -- to translate it, or no problem with the Hebrew?

William Berkson's picture

Well, I did the first sentence, dictionary in hand--my Hebrew is, alas quite limited--but I probably won't work my way through the rest.

The Chomsky answered my questions as relates to transliteration.

david h's picture

I see; I have something long on the way, so just wanted to be sure;

gohebrew's picture

Aftere the holidays of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, namely the joyful festival of Simchat Torah, I used to think it was appropriate to greet another as is customary after the Shabbat, with שבוע טוב Shavuah Tov, a Good Week!

But I was told many years ago that this was מםא appropriate, as the holiday often concluded in the middle of the week.

Instead, it was customary for the Gabbai (the rabbi's assistant) to bank with his hand on the bimah where the Sefer Torah scroll is read, and shout out loud, יעקב הלך לדרכו "Jacob has gone on his way"!

This cyptic quotation from Scripture (Gen. 32:2) indicates a wish that one should take the spiritual recharge that came from all the holidays of Tishrei, and incorporate their vitality into the everyday life of the year.

יעקב הלך לדרכו

gohebrew's picture

David,

From where did you scan that definition of shva from R. D. Kimchi?

What can you say about Prof. Aron Dotan of Tel Aviv U.?

david h's picture

Israel,

Et Sofer by Kimchi -- published in 1864; I have it.

> What can you say about Prof. Aron Dotan of Tel Aviv U.?

what do you want me to say? :)

gohebrew's picture

David,

Thank you. Is this its title?

I think it's a play on words. A book is often prefaced by a general introduction הקדמה and a foreword מבוא from the author, which is sometimes called, עם הספר, where the author makes fascinating orginal remarks which he or she chooses not include in the chapters of the book.

How did you get it? Is it available to acquire? Does he have other books?

Regarding Prof. Dotan, is he the greatest living expert in Hebrew grammar to your best knowledge? Are there others?

Prof. Dotan seems to agree with me that inclusion of an automatic feature in a "smart" OpenType to change text to include shvanas etc., like John Hudson's furtive patach, is worthwhile, even after much effort. Un this way, the next generation will understand and use these Hebrew grammar marks much greater than today, when it is very poorly understood.

raphaelfreeman's picture

I've just read this entire thread with interest and admit some bemusement. Firstly, the article on Masorah in Encyclopedia Judaica was a bugger to typeset. It took me close to 50 hours!

Regarding make a smart font for kamatz katan and shva na. Ignoring whether this should be done or not, frankly it's irrelevant for 2 reasons:

1) Ashkenazic masora is different from the Sefardi masora (tradition) for these grammatical nuances so for example in the Hebrew word for "afternoon", the first kamatz is gadol according to Ashkenazim and katan according to Sefardim. So what you going to do? Create a font for each tradition? Also, I don't think you understand the enormity of the task. Let me give you an example: The word Yevarekhkha in the Priestly Blessing. Notice how I've written it as a shva nach (and not how many siddurim incorrectly put it as shva na)? This is because this prayer is a biblical indictment and therefore has to be pronounced according the rules at the time and the rule to make it a shva na came a long time later. Same too with the word Ata. Notice how in siddurim a meteg (in this case the meteg indicating mileil and not a secondary stress taam meteg or a sof pasuk which some of you are calling a siluq which is a primary stress regardless of milra or mileil), is put in this word sometimes to stress it as Ata rather than aTA because that part of the prayer was from the time of the Rishonim which again had different grammatical rules. What I'm trying to say that in a siddur the rules of pronunciation change according to the period. In our proofreading of the new Koren Siddur for the USA (with translation and commentary in English), a team of 3 grammarians and rabbis have spent months and months checking the correct pronunciation with the meteg, the shva na and kamatz katan. Encoding it into Opentype would be a monumental task even if you could agree to one halakhic authority.

2) I seriously doubt the Volt could actually compile the font.

We are currently working on the Koren Tanakh font which has kerning and correct positioning of the teamim and we have got the point where VOLT cannot compile the font and we haven't finished all the taamey mikra collisions yet. We'll optimise the font more and hopefully will manage, but if we had to put in the rules for taamey mikra then VOLT would have a fit.

gohebrew's picture

Volt has no problem with shva-na, kamatz katan, or hataf kamatz katan. As Theodore Herzel was want to say: "If you can dream it, so it will be", or something like that.

Raphael, is the Koren system of nikkud/taam/meteg placement different from other systems of placement, by simply centering the nikkud as if it was the main unit, and then place the tamm and/or meteg to its left, whereas other systems center the three glyph as a single unit?

Plus Koren's system placed the taam and meteg on a slightly lower level than the nikkud, whiles others keep all diacritics, including nikkud, on the same level.

Some change the weight of the nikkud, taam, and meteg, too. I don't think Koren did this.

Shva-na is vital, as words do change meaning because of some shva-nas, and pronunciation of course changes.

Today, most Askenazic Jews use Sephardic pronunciation, so kamatz katan is essential to pronounce prayers accurately. Askenazim who maintain tradition, and prnounce according to their tradition also benefit from kamatz katan for a few reasons, though our Jewish leaders chose not to emphasize it. This attitude is changing.

Hence, the new Koren Bible text would be negligent if it lacked them, particularly if other products offer it. Furthermore, instead of marching forward, neglecting them would be a step backward.

raphaelfreeman's picture

Firstly to answer you question about placement. Koren placed each nikud and each ta'am very deliberately. Because all the nikud and ta'amim were manually placed he wasn't limited by technology. The preference was that the nikud didn't move and the ta'am was put in the correct position next to it. If it was possible to solve a collision problem by moving the nikud before and after only slightly then this was done, if not then the ta'am was moved vertically downwards (of course this is only a major problem on lower ta'amim).

Yes the weight of the ta'amim are lighter than that of the nikud. Of course the same glyph is used for both the meteg and the sof pasuk and in both cases this is a ta'am. In the siddur we treat it as nikud I guess because it has a special meaning different of the meteg and the sof pasuk (I'm not even going to talk about ga'ayas and other stress marks).

In terms of VOLT, you misunderstood what I said. Of course we are programming in a kamatz katan and shva na (and a shva nach too), however, you should know that when programming a font, the font has to be compiled. If there are too many lines in the code, the compiler cannot compile. At the moment the Koren Tanakh font with kerning, ta'amim collision preventing etc is too long and cannot be compiled. That means that the past 50 instructions that I have given to the programmer for collision avoiding cannot be put into the font. The programmer is now optimising the code so that it takes up less space and can be compiled.

I mention this because if you want a font to have grammar rules built-in it will take up even more lines of code and you won't be able to compile your font. Now to be fair, Koren is a special case typeface because it's very narrow, very very tightly kerned and therefore there are many more collisions then a typeface such as Hadasa.

Regarding pronunciation, I think you have got quite confused between pronunciation and masora.

Traditionally the Ashkenazi Jews had their system of pronunciation of vowels where eg a kamatz is an "o" sound and Sefardim had their pronunciation system where a kamatz is an "a" sound. However, we need to differentiate between a pronunciation system and grammatical system.

I will attempt to explain and hopefully it won't get too confusing.

In Israel all Israelis, both Charedi Ashkenazim and Secular Sefardim pronounce spoken Hebrew in a system called "Israel pronunciation". That means that in the street everyone speaks more or less the same (I'm ignoring old-timer sefardim that will still pronounce the ayin and the chet).

However, those same Charedim will prayer using the Ashkenazic pronounciation system. Okay so far.

Now let's take a look at the kamatz katan. Ashkenazim of 300 years ago pronounced a kamatz katan and a kamatz gadol in the same way. There was no audible distinction. It sounded the same. The Sin and Samech was the same too etc.

However, grammatically, just because they pronounced the chet the same as the chaf, it didn't mean that they only had one letter. It just sounded the same. Grammatically Ashkenazim had a kamatz katan and a kamatz gadol but since it was written the same and spoken the same it wasn't necessarily something that a kid in cheder (sunday school) would know about.

Now, as we know the sefardim did distinguish audibly between the kamatz katan and kamatz gadol. In fact they also distinguish between the chet and the chaf, the ayin and the alef etc. Therefore the concept of a kamatz katan not only is known to sefardim but is also somehow indicated in their siddurim for pronuncation purposes.

Okay, this much we all know. But here is the kicker: the determination of what is a kamatz katan is different in the Ashkenazic tradition to that of the Sefardic tradition. The example that I gave above of the word for "afternoon" צהריים in hebrew. According to the Sefardic tradition the first kamatz is a kamatz gadol and according to Ashkenazic tradition (and incidentally according to the modern Israeli rules of pronunciation) the first kamatz is a kamatz katan. This is regardless of your pronunciation system. This is a grammatical determination.

Now this creates a question for somebody like myself publishing a siddur. Clearly when creating a sefardi siddur then the kamatz katan should be according to their traditions, ie tzahorayim (afternoon), but what about for an Ashkenazic siddur where the majority of users are going to be using modern Israeli pronunciation.

The decision in Koren was to use Ashkenazic rulings of the determination of kamatz katan in our nusach ashkenaz and sefard (not to be confused with sefardi) siddurim and the Sefardic rulings for our Edot Mizrach siddur. We will be using the Morrocon rulings for our Morrocon siddur and Yemenite for our Yemite siddur.

Now what do you about a Bible? Which system do you use? After all, the Bible is for everybody. Honestly I don't know!

However, we will most likely do 3 editions, one for Ashkenazim, one for Sefardim and an edition that has neither (like we have today) which will serve clients such as the army that the users are both Ashkenazi and Sefardi. However, the jury is out on that one!

One final comment. When digitising the font we had a problem with the shva na. The enlarged shva that we created wasn't distinct enough from the regular shva. We couldn't make it any larger because we felt it would look silly, so instead we created a further character, a shva nach which was smaller than our shva so that it was distinguishable from the shva na character. Therefore our font has 3 shvas. A regular shva to be used when distinction isn't made and when we are marking it, then a shva na and a shva nach!

You are invited to see a sneak preview of the new siddur. www.korenpub.com. Click on the bottom middle icon. The new English site is still in development so we still have our old (and quite awful website) for Koren :-)

BTW the siddur pages were created with InDesign CS4 ME beta2, sorry about the heavy file, but the cool page turning is worth the wait :-)

William Berkson's picture

Raphael, thanks for bringing your expertise to this discussion.

As far as the question of how to mark the shva na, I have a question. In the prayerbook, of course you are going to set whatever people want.

But as far as the Bible, the masoretic text didn't distinguish the kamatz katan or shva na, right? And the Chomsky article casts doubt on whether the grammatical rules for labeling of the shva na that come from Kimchi and seems to be generally accepted, ever really existed in spoken language. So I would think that at least for the general public it would make more sense with the Tanach just to have the all the instances of the shva the same, or to put them in as in spoken Israeli Hebrew. I have the Jerusalem Bible, published by Koren, which doesn't seem to distinguish the different kinds of schva, or the different kamatz.

What is the general practice? Or is there one?

raphaelfreeman's picture

You are quite correct in your comments and at the moment, my preference is to leave the Bible well alone (although I reserve the right to change my mind :-) )

However, part of the Bible that is used in our services, "the Chumash" needs to be treated differently since people reading from the Torah in services to indeed distinguish between the kamatz katan and the shva na and therefore we do need to add markings for this.

My current thoughts are to produce the new Chumash (ie the Five Books of Moses, the Haftarot, the 5 Megillot and Tehillim) in 3 flavours: Ashkenazic, Sefardic and perhaps a Neutral flavour. Whether we add the kamatz katan and shva na in the full Bible is something we have a few years to think about because the proofreading is going to take quite some time!

You may be interested to know that we are resetting the English of the Jerusalem Bible at the moment in Arno Pro and should be available hopefully by the summer.

raphaelfreeman's picture

You are quite correct in your comments and at the moment, my preference is to leave the Bible well alone (although I reserve the right to change my mind :-) )

However, part of the Bible that is used in our services, "the Chumash" needs to be treated differently since people reading from the Torah in services to indeed distinguish between the kamatz katan and the shva na and therefore we do need to add markings for this.

My current thoughts are to produce the new Chumash (ie the Five Books of Moses, the Haftarot, the 5 Megillot and Tehillim) in 3 flavours: Ashkenazic, Sefardic and perhaps a Neutral flavour. Whether we add the kamatz katan and shva na in the full Bible is something we have a few years to think about because the proofreading is going to take quite some time!

You may be interested to know that we are resetting the English of the Jerusalem Bible at the moment in Arno Pro and should be available hopefully by the summer.

david h's picture

Bill,

> the masoretic text didn’t distinguish the kamatz katan or shva na, right?

what do you mean by "distinguish" -- visual mark, or pronunciation? ; pronunciation -- they did distinguish.

raphaelfreeman's picture

You are quite correct in your comments and at the moment, my preference is to leave the Bible well alone (although I reserve the right to change my mind :-) )

However, part of the Bible that is used in our services, "the Chumash" needs to be treated differently since people reading from the Torah in services to indeed distinguish between the kamatz katan and the shva na and therefore we do need to add markings for this.

My current thoughts are to produce the new Chumash (ie the Five Books of Moses, the Haftarot, the 5 Megillot and Tehillim) in 3 flavours: Ashkenazic, Sefardic and perhaps a Neutral flavour. Whether we add the kamatz katan and shva na in the full Bible is something we have a few years to think about because the proofreading is going to take quite some time!

You may be interested to know that we are resetting the English of the Jerusalem Bible at the moment in Arno Pro and should be available hopefully by the summer.

William Berkson's picture

David, yes, I meant make a visual distinction, different marks.

Obviously, they would have had to sometimes pronounce the shva. Otherwise Hebrew would be unpronounceable. But the question is, how was it actually done. If I understand him rightly, Chomsky doesn't think that native speakers ever followed what are now accepted the rules of "grammar" in this area. And in fact current Hebrew speech is closer to what may have been done.

Rafael, I wonder if for Chumashim--or for that matter siddurim--for the Conservative and Reform movements whether they'd be just as happy or happier with the rules for the shva na that now exist in spoken Hebrew. Did anyone ask them?

raphaelfreeman's picture

I can't really answer on their behalf. However, the rules for shva na as defined by the Israeli Language Institute follow the same rules of the Ashkenazic tradition. I suspect that those movements follow Ashkenazic nusach as a basis for their nusach and therefore this would probably be appropriate. However, honestly I never thought about it.

gohebrew's picture

> But here is the kicker: the determination of what is a kamatz katan is different in the Ashkenazic tradition to that of the Sefardic tradition

Raphael, where can I read about this?

gohebrew's picture

> the rules for shva na as defined by the Israeli Language Institute follow the same rules of the Ashkenazic tradition.

There seems to be three sets of rules:
1) Rav Zalman Henna (Henau) - Chabad prayerbook
2) Ibn Ezra and Vilna Gaon, based on Eliahu ha-Levi(Levita) Bachur - ArtScroll prayerbook
3) Early Rishonim and Minchat Shai - Shai Lemorah books

Which one is similar to the Radak, Rabbi David Kimchi?

Do we make all the three versions in 3 OT fonts?

I don't think it would take an unreasonable amount of time to automatically compile a shva-na and kamatz katan, because it would only compile after cedrtain sequences every 15 words or more, and not every word.

The more I learn about the shva-na's relation to the kamatz katan and meteg and certain nikkud before it, depending upon its position in word, and then feasibility to access an exception table, I am convinced it can be done in about 5 routines.

I think it would be wise to offer it in 2010 or 2011, as computer processing time will make compiling delays negligible.

Anyway, the key link is the determination of a kamatz katan, which I don't see yet, or if shvana occu late in the word without a nearby meteg or kamatz katan. Maybe, then, the nikkud before it helps, as Prof.Dotan hinted.

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

In very tight settings, couldn't the Koren OT font automatically substitute narrower nikkud and narrower taam/meteg, and insert a slight space between the letters?

In this way, there would never be any bumping. This could be automatically performed in a "smart" OpenType font of Koren and Koren bold by programming the font correctly.

I don't think Tzika could do it.

raphaelfreeman's picture

Yes, we considered this option, but I didn't like it. I'm not sure what Tzvika has got to do with this. The system that we have employed follows Koren's original concept and works so far.

Regarding how many systems of shva na and kamatz katan. There are many many systems and many many exceptions depending on various authorities. In fact some systems don't know what to do with certain words. Trust me, we had 2 rabbinical experts on taamey mikra discussing this for months!

I have to say that I'm confused as to why you want the font to automatically put them in. It's like saying we should have autocorrect spelling in English in Minion. It *could* be done, but is that the scope of a font?

I think I would rather have a font do ligatures correctly and place taamim in the right place rather than decide where to put a kamatz katan.

Syndicate content Syndicate content