Sheva, custom marks...

david h's picture

Sheva, custom marks... and other issues:

1.Geulah:
"Regarding the dagesh in the gimmel of geula, you might be right. Although you know, most dagesh is missing in modern Hebrew with nikkud, except for the beit, kaf, peh, and taf. The dagesh in other letters is merely grammatical."

I don't understand the last part. About the first part: not just right, let's see what your Rebbe said:

Unless, of course, you don't agree with the Rebbe.

gohebrew's picture

David,

There are apparently three sets of rules to indicate a shva is a shvana.

Kehot USA uses one. ArtScroll uses another. Shay Lemorah uses a third.

If we understand the rules, then each editor's choice becomes clear.

gohebrew's picture

There appears to be specific patterns among different kinds of Hebrew words, when contructed in the same manner (meaning: with the same sequence of nikkud), then the first shva always becomes a shvana.

A "hei yediya" is a pronoun, like the preposition in English, the, as in "the rain in Spain". In Hebrew, the preposition, the, is a single letter, hei (usually with a patach), and is attached to the noun following it (hence, its a pronoun). When that noun begins with a letter and a shva, then a shvana symbol is added in order to indicate to the reader that it should be pronounced as a shvana.

This is something that can simply be programmed into a "smart" OpenType font with the GSUB routine for automatic replacement, like what John Hudson did in SBL-Hebrew for the furtive patach.

Here are some examples:

As we discover and define all the other kinds of patterns which produce a shvana, then these become a list of rules to program into OpenType.

David, do you think it's possible now?

This then can be done for the kamatz katan, etc., with G-d's help.

Can this be done with the taamim and nikkud to decipher the rules for the taggim as well?

gohebrew's picture

David,

In your example above, you show how the Kehot editor (the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe or one of his ancestors) and the Shay Lemorah editor (Rabbi Shmuel Yehuda Winefeld Shlita) mark differently the word, "u'v'shachbacha".

This word either has two shvanas, like the Kehot example (the first and third shva), or it only has one shvana, like Shay Lemorah (only above the third shva).

Here is an example:

Notice that the Kehot example does not acknowledge the kamatz katan. The Shay Lemorah example does mark it (under the shin).

Perhaps, this is a key to the difference.

gohebrew's picture

Another series of examples of specific patterns among different kinds of Hebrew words, when contructed in the same manner (meaning: with the same sequence of nikkud), then the first shva always becomes a shvana.

In these examples, the first letter has a hirik, and it is followed by a letter with a shva. That second letter is always a shvana.

The exception is when the first letter is a yuhd, followed by a shin or siin.

gohebrew's picture

More examples of the first letter with a chirik, and the second letter with a shva(na):

Clearly, the exception to this rule is when the first letter is a yud.

As an aside, much discussion is devoted to a word which begins with a yud in Jewish mystical literature, indicating its special status.

For example, G-d's holiest name begins with a yud. The form of each letter is made from the shape of the yud. Although it is the smallest letter in size, it is (its gematria) represents the structure of every being (ten sephirot).

So, it is not surprizing that yud here creates an exception to the rule.

gohebrew's picture

Another pattern repeating itself is when the first letter is a shuruk (a vov with a dagesh dot on its left side), and the second letter has a shva(na).

Here are some examples:

I didn't find any exceptions.

gohebrew's picture

Yet another pattern repeating itself is when the first letter is a ayin withe nikkud of patach, and the second letter has a shva(na).

Here are some examples:

The exception I found so far is when the letter following an ayin is a tzaddi, in which case the tzaddi has a shva and not a shvana.

david h's picture

Israel,

Do you have any grammar book around you? -- just quick, fast glance: almost half of your samples are not right.

Please forget this assumption: "There are apparently three sets of rules to indicate a shva is a shvana." !!!!!!! NO SUCH THING!!! you think that there are 3 sets, and you like to waste your time -- start looking :^)

gohebrew's picture

David,

I started at the first page of the Kehot daily siddur, because it was more comprehensive in its text than Shay Lemorah books. I didn't have many ArtScroll books about me, as I am a Chabadsker and use Kehot books more.

I looked for different kinds of words, beginning with a letter and a particular nikkud, and then in second slot, another letter with a shva, and an asterisk on top of the second letter to indicate that it was a shva-na.

I categorized the different kind of words into groups. So far I presented three kinds: 1) a letter with a chirik first, followed by a second letter and a shva(-na); the exception was when the first letter was a yud; 2) a shuruk first, and then a second letter with a shva(-na); I didn’t find any exceptions; and 3) the first of a letter pair was an ayin and a patach, followed by the second part of the pair, a letter with a shva(-na).

If you feel that these examples are not right, I did not err, the editor of the Kehot prayerbook differs with you. I believe that was the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, or one of his predecesors.

BTW, I am showing these preliminary samples to Prof. Aron Dotan for his feedback, too.

I do not understand how you can differ with authorities much greater than you. Your understanding must be based upon a different set of rules. A forth... :)

Seriously, so far, the pattern of shva-na in the Kehot prayerbook is very logical.

david h's picture

Israel,

so you don't have a single book? not even one grammar book? and we didn't start to talk about cantillations...... I think that I'm going to take a little break from the whole sheva na and alike till you'll have a book or two; and show that you're serious.

gohebrew's picture

David,

I didn't address books. I bought a few books, and am studying them, although they are far from systematic in their presentation or analytical. Prof. Chomsky's book, "R. D. Kimchi's Hebrew Grammar", and C. L. Seow's book, "A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew".

I simply reported my findings from the Kehot prayerbook, and books by Shay Lemorah, which for my purpose did not address grammatical rules or logical rules, but simply found groups of similar patterns.

The GSUB routine is a simple search and replace feature built into "smart" OpenType fonts. I am addressing shva-na as strings to be searched and replaced.

Are shva-nas affected by the taamim/cantillation marks, as you suggest? I haven't seen evidence of this.

Please cite examples where the same verse which has or has not a shva-na is affected by having taamim, to the point that a shva becomes a shva-na, or a shva-na becomes a shva.

As everyone is free to come and go as they wish, but if one sincerely values the subject, and is in the position to contribute, it would seem selfish not to participate intentionally.

Furthermore, our sages obm warn in the Chapters of the Father: "Lo habayshan yilamed" - "one who refrains from asking or teaching in turn fails to learn more".

William Berkson's picture

Israel, the Seow book is quite systematic and analytical, so I don't know what you are talking about. I share David's bafflement. Here on p. 10 are the four rules for when a shva is vocal:

1. It is at the beginning of a word...
2. It is the second of two, in immediate succession...
3. It comes immediately after a strong dagesh...
4. It comes immediately after a long vowel...

I have put ellipses in place of the Hebrew examples, but that's the full content of the four rules.

Now the complication is when the dagesh is strong or weak, and whether the preceding vowel is long or short. And whether the dagesh is strong or weak is also influenced by whether the vowel previous to it is long or short, according to Seow.

Thus the big issue is when a vowel is long or short. And this cannot be told from syntax alone--from the string of letters--because the vowel is always long if it is on an accented syllable, according to Seow. And syntax does not indicate accent.

Now according to Chomsky, the division of vowels into short and long was an innovation of the Kimhi family, and it seems to be a real question as to whether this ever really existed before. Evidently you can ascertain whether something is a schva na with a dictionary look up system, and a dictionary that gives you the correct accents. But it is not a matter of syntax alone.

Now if the Lubovicher Rebbe #7 had a different system, that is a different matter. Either he had another system and rationale, in which case you ought to be able to ask someone, or he just got it wrong.

If you find out the Lubovicher system, it looks like that is only going to be for setting type for Lubovichers like yourself. That seems to me very limited, but if you want to do it, that's fine. Just don't imagine that it's either the Kimhi system or modern.

As I said, my own conclusion in all this is just to go with the modern system, as explained by Chomsky. For there is no certainty at all about whether the Kimhi system is a correct view of the Tiberian system of nikkud, and now Hebrew is a living language. In anyone's memory of a century ago, both Ashkenazi and Sfaradi pronunciation followed the modern rules, according to Chomsky.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> the Seow book is quite systematic and analytical, so I don’t know what you are talking about.

I was refering to the other book.

Seow's book is very good. It's aimed to teach. His chapters are called "Lessons".

In the Talmud, there are basic commentaries after one studies Rashi and Tesephot. One is called, Meharsha. Under his commentary is Chochmat Shlomo and Maharam.

I recall that I asked my teach about 30 years ago about the ease to read the understand the questions of Chochmat Shlomo, while Maharam was difficult to read, as his remarks were often cryptic.

My teacher explained to me that Chochmat Shlomo was a teacher, and experienced at wording complicated matters in a way that is easy to understand.

I think that this is similar to a difference in Seow's and Chomsky's books.

gohebrew's picture

William,

>Here on p. 10 are the four rules for when a shva is vocal:...

I am familiar with this.

Apparetly, there are at least different methods to determine when a shva should a shva-na. This is (only) one method. There are two different methods.

I tried to express this earlier a few times.

As proof to this, we find different book publishers who identify a shva-na. Each mentions the source for their decision-making process. The results are different, too.

In the books from Kehot of USA, used by hundreds of thousands of people every day, one method is used, based upon the Rishonim, early post-Talmud scholars.

In the books from ArtScroll, also used by other hundreds of thousands of people every day, a different method is used, by the later authorities, Ibn Ezra (12th century) and Vilna Gaon (19th century).

In the books from Shay Lemorah, used by less than a hundred thousand people, a third method is used, by "early Rishonim and Minchat Shai).

When David remarked that my examples of shva-na were incorrect, he failed to cite support or produce visible examples. Tonight, when I recited the Havdallah prayer, I used a booklet from Shay Lemorah. I noticed that the booklet was different that the Kehot rules I cited earlier. This is likely what David saw too.

Instead of concluding that it's wrong, I say that it's different.

Apparently, if you apply 3 different sets of rules of shva-na, the same verses will look differently: each will identify a different number of shva-nas.

gohebrew's picture

William,

>Now according to Chomsky...

I think that this is whay confused me earlier when reading his book on David Kimchi's Hebrew Grammar.

Did Chomsky, the great scholar and grammartarian, simply translates Kimchi's work (a great feat in itself), or introduce something innovative unique to Chomsky? It seems that it's the former, and not the latter.

Perhaps, in your reading of both books, you see a difference in the way that they understand rules of Hebrew grammar.

gohebrew's picture

William,

>...if the Lubovicher Rebbe #7 had a different system...

Rabbi M.M. Schneersohn, the seventh Lubavitcher Rebbe, did not have any different system. No one has introduced a new meaningful system since the "Age of Hebrew Grammar", as Chomsky calls it.

Rabbi Schneersohn was appointed by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, his predecesor, to direct Kehot. Hence, he was likely responsible for editing its expanded prayerbook.

The fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneersohn, actually introduced a short version of this payerbook, together with other popular prayerbooks (of other nusachs), at the beginning of the 20th century, when they were in short supply after WWI.

Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe, actually produced the famous Nusach Ari prayerbook, based upon comparisons of many different prayerbooks, and incorporating certain rules of Hebrew grammar.

The system used by Kehot is based on his decisions.

The first Lubavitcher Rebbe was a contemporary of Vilna Gaon. Our understanding of the universe and the soul is from Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liady's explanations of the Baal Shem Tov's teachings of the Arizal's understanding. Vilna Gaon's explanations are no longer understood, and hence irrelevant.

gohebrew's picture

William,

>...it looks like that is only going to be for setting type for Lubovichers like yourself. That seems to me very limited, but if you want to do it, that’s fine. Just don’t imagine that it’s either the Kimhi system or modern...

I typeset for everybody. Your assumption is simply assumption.

I have seem no evidence that there is any new system.

The issue is to make existing Unicode data of the Tanach appear with a shva-na etc. automatically, so readers can pronounce words correctly, students can learn what these symbols are, and why they appear.

There is no "anti-Reform" agenda, don't worry. :)

gohebrew's picture

William,

>...to go with the modern system, as explained by Chomsky...

I don't see any "modern" system yet. It seems that Chomsky is simple presenting Kimchi in English.

gohebrew's picture

Wlliam,

>...For there is no certainty at all about whether the Kimhi system is a correct view of the Tiberian system of nikkud, and now Hebrew is a living language. In anyone’s memory of a century ago, both Ashkenazi and Sfaradi pronunciation followed the modern rules, according to Chomsky...

I am confused.

The Tiberius system is our source for the nikkud, right. How old is it? (Could you post a link to a good explanation of it.)

Kimchi is a presentation of the understanding of his predecessors about this system, with some contraversial elements. From about 800 years ago or less.

Chomsky is a scholar from the fifties, who presented Kimchi in English. That's less than sixty years ago.

Then, in modern Israel, Ashkenazic Jews adopted Sephardic pronounciation, because the Israeli government chose to standardize on one way to pronounce words.

They are two separate issues. Unrelated.

As I understand it, modern Hebrew pertains to vocabulary alone. New words were introduced for objects and activities that did not exist earlier. There is only one form of Hebrew grammar. (I don't even get how Biblical Hebrew grammar differs from Hebrew grammar, if it does.)

They are two separate issues. Unrelated.

gohebrew's picture

William,

I did a bit of research on Chomsky.

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Chomsky says: William Chomsky (1896-1977) was an American scholar of Hebrew, born in Ukraine, who was a professor at Gratz College. He was made faculty president of Gratz in 1932, a position that he held for thirty seven years. He also taught at Dropsie College, a graduate school of Jewish and Semitic studies. from 1955 until 1977. He was a renowned specialist of the history of the Hebrew grammatical tradition, before and after David Kimhi (1160–1235). His obituary (New York Times, 22 July 1977) describes him as "one of the world's foremost Hebrew grammarians."

He was a great Hebrew grammar scholar, but not another Kimchi. You just like him because his name was William, and he taught at Gratz College.

gohebrew's picture

The following are two graphic samples of the identical text, with the identical nikkud.

One sample, however, is from the Shay Lemorah publishers, placing its shva-na symbols according to its sources.

The second sample, note, is from the larger Kehot (of the USA) publishers, placing its shva-na symbols (more generously) according to its sources.

Check it out!

gohebrew's picture

Earlier, I suggested that when the first letter of a Hebrew work had a nikud of chirik, and the second letter had a shva, then that shva was a shva-na.

The exception to this was when the first letter was a yud.

I found another exception in the Havdallah prayer that Jews recited at the conclusion of the Sabbath (Scriptures instruct us to show that the Sabbath is holy and different than the days of the week by making a ceremony at the beginning of the week, Kiddush, and the conclusion of the week, Havdallah), with the word, misgav.

I am looking now for other exceptions.

gohebrew's picture

Here are some examples of exceptions to the rule about the first letter having a chirik. Note, so far the exceptions are limited to words beginning with a yud or a nuhn, and the word cited above, misgav.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, there is no rule about a shva na following an chirik, and both the actual (Kimhi) rules and your 'exceptions' are explained in the first 14 pages of Seow's book.

gohebrew's picture

William,

Thanks for the pointer.

Btw,are rules in Seow's book from Kimchi? What are the names of other view points? How do they differ?

William Berkson's picture

According to the Chomsky article about the shva, it was the Kimhi family that first distinguished long and short vowels, which most of these "rules" depend on, including when the shva following an chirik is pronounced.

I don't know enough to tell you about the differences between later grammarians. They, including Seow, generally seem to have adopted the 'long' and 'short' vowel distinction. I am just calling these 'Kimhi' rules to distinguish them from the actual rules of spoken Hebrew, which according to Chomsky--if I remember rightly--do not distinguish the long and short vowels, and are much simpler.

By the way, the grammar of modern Hebrew is based on Mishnaic Hebrew, which is significantly different from Biblical Hebrew, most obviously in not using the conversive vav, which the Bible uses extensively.

gohebrew's picture

Wlliam, William,

As they say, "A blessing on your head, mazel tov, mazel tov."

The first 14 pages of MY Seow's book doesn't mention anything about shva-na, except on page 10. Please scan the page you have, if it's different than mine.

Seow only mentions the 4 rules you cited earlier.

Remember, with all due respect to the science of Hebrew grammar, my intentions are definitions which can be searched and replaced. Period.

It seems that you and David are not thinking "out of the box". Perhaps, when people are not "frum", they are not flexible either.

In OpenType, a string can be substituted for a different string using the GSUB routine and MS Volt. Then, existing data without that special character in the string can appear automatically, as John Hudson accomplished in SBL-Hebrew with the furtive patach.

It's like pulling a rabbit out of a head. Whah-lah!

gohebrew's picture

William,

>According to the Chomsky article about the shva,...

What pages?

gohebrew's picture

William,

You appear to distinguish between Kimchi-esque Hebrew grammar based upon Hebrew sequences divided by having long or short vowels, and spoken Hebrew grammar based upon no special distinction.

It seems that you're saying that Chomsky and Seow follow down the path that Kimchi tread down.

Finally, you conclude that there is such a thing as Mishnaic Hebrew Grammar and Biblical Hebrew grammar, because non-punctuated Scripture used the letter vov more often that the Mishna, which was punctuated.

You might be correct in your understand of these issues, but I think not.

This reminds me of the way non-traditional Bible scholars tried to suggest that G-d was represented in the Bible with different names, because at different periods of time people related to G-d differently, by different names.

It's a nice fairy tale, like the earth being billions of years old, had cold blooded dinasurs the size of tall building...now, the fairy tale is warm-blooded, and even taller, or shorter, depending upon the expert "scientist" you ask.

In the end, there is theory and truth.

William Berkson's picture

The account of the shva na is on p. 10 of Seow, which he calls the 'vocal' shva.

The last two rules need to be linked to other rules to get the full picture.

If you go through the chain of links, to the issue of the strong and weak dagesh and long and short vowels, you will understand it. If you won't take the trouble to study it, you won't understand it. Sorry to be so blunt, but you are going on and on without studying the basics of this complex system.

You are going to see that the long and short vowels depend on where the accent falls in the word, so that you can't get whether something is a shva na from the sequence of letters and vowel points alone. Kimhi and followers laid down these rules and they are what they are. I'm not saying I like them, but if you want to set type following them, there's no way to automate it from the sequence of letters without a look-up of words, and indication of where the accent falls.

I am not saying that the Bible uses more vavs. That isn't what I wrote. Do you understand the meaning of the conversive vav, vav hafuch? It changes the past to the future, as in "ve'ahavta". That function of the vav exists in the Bible but not in modern Hebrew.

gohebrew's picture

William,

Thank you about the page number in Seow's book. I am studying it.

I was refering by my inquiry to Chomsky's book on Kimchi. Which page in Chomsky's book is to which this reference refering: "According to the Chomsky article about the shva, it was the Kimhi family that first distinguished long and short vowels, which most of these “rules” depend on, including when the shva following an chirik is pronounced."

I spoke to Prof. Dotan just now. He stresses the same point, that the "determination of the shva-na (the sounded shva) and an ordinary shva (the unsounded shva) is only determined by the nikkud, but never only by the letters".

gohebrew's picture

Prof. Dotan advised me to carefully study the rules of nikkud and Hebrew grammar well for a few months. Then, I will see that many examples presented by Kehot or ArtScroll are incorrect.

Prof. Dotan left the door open though to an analysis as to why letters can not be grammar rules.

He also stated clearly that the determination of whether a shva is an unvoiced shva or a voiced shva-na, this is completely dependant upon context, even when the spelling of that word is identical. The difference though is whether the kamatz immediately before the shva is gadol or katan. When it's gadol, it's past tense, and the shva is unvoiced. But when it's katan, it's an imperative, and the shva is shva-na and voiced.

david h's picture

> Prof. Dotan advised me to carefully study the rules of nikkud and Hebrew grammar well for a few months. Then, I will see that many examples presented by Kehot or ArtScroll are incorrect.

Really? Wow. That's new. I didn't know that. But why to learn? "Remember, with all due respect to the science of Hebrew grammar, my intentions are definitions which can be searched and replaced. Period."

> Then, I will see that many examples presented by Kehot or ArtScroll are incorrect.

No way! "I do not understand how you can differ with authorities much greater than you."

> He also stated clearly that the determination of whether a shva is an unvoiced shva or a voiced shva-na, this is completely dependant upon context

Really? No way. So now we have 5 sets of rules to indicate a sheva is a sheva na? or 4? or 6?

gohebrew's picture

David,

As always, you ask very good questions.

Why learn for many months if its pointless? What's the point?

Prof. Dotan said explicitly that according to the rules (Seow's four, or Bachur's five [he said Vilna Gaon took it from Bachur, who lived before Kimchi]), GSUB replacement can not be done.

...according to the rules, that is.

He added: "You want to go around the rules and do it anyway."

So he advised to learn the nikkud rules very very well, and the grammar rules inside out. Why? Because it's doable.

He stressed, "It's not the letters; it's the nikkud!"

david h's picture

> As always, you ask very good questions.

I didn't ask any question.

> Why learn for many months if its pointless? What’s the point?

Who said that?

> So he advised to learn....

We told you that loooong time ago.

gohebrew's picture

David,

I think understand what you are saying, but I don't think youy understand what I am saying.

Like your and Bill's view, I must learn these books about Hebrew grammar and nikkud, to speak intelligently about anything related to these subjects.

Like your and Bill's view, based upon the the four rules enumerated by Seow, based upon Kimchi's analysis (as explained by Chomsky), it is impossible to simply clasify all kinds of shva-na by a sequence of letters and nikkud.

Dotan agrees that based upon these 4 or 5 rules (he explained that Vilna Gaon copied Bachur's definition of 5 rules, long before Seow articulated them), it is not possible to do as I seek. Again, the stress here by Dotan is "based only on these rules".

Yet, Dotan interpreted that I seek to think "utside the box", in a unconventional way, around the rules and not by the rules, like learning how something works by reverse engineering it. To do in this way, then what I seek is possible to accomplish (instead of 4 or 5 rules, there is a series of GSUB routines involving sequences of nikkud and kamatz katan being replaced by nikkud and kamatz katan with certain shvanas). But, I need to gain expert understanding of the dynamics of nikkud, and also kamatz katan, too.

Is this clear?

david h's picture

Right now I see that you're talking about Modern Hebrew and not Biblical Hebrew. But I'm really exhausted from the whole thing, and you have loooooooooong way to go; so till then............................

gohebrew's picture

David,

> I see that you’re talking about Modern Hebrew and not Biblical Hebrew...

I didn't intend to.

Are the rules of shvana different for Modern Hebrew and Biblical Hebrew?

Can you define in a paragraph how they differ?

The only thing that exhausts me is eating cholent on Shabbat! :)

gohebrew's picture

David,

> So now we have 5 sets of rules to indicate a sheva is a sheva na? or 4? or 6?

Prof. Dotan stressed 5. Not 4 or 6. 5 rules. He listed each one. The 4 from Seow and another one.

Those are the grammatical rules defining when a shva is a shvana.

He then explained that I was trying to define when a shva is a shvana by context, i.e. the sequence of nikkud, not letters. First, he rejected this possibility, and afterwards reconsidered. To accomplish this goal, he advised me to become expert in nikkud (and Hebrew grammar in general). But he stressed over and over nikkud. Then, he suggested tht I speak to him again in a few months after I gained expertise in nikkud.

He definitely thought my goal was worth the effort, as he thought that it was possible to achieve.

William Berkson's picture

Israel, of course Seow's text book is not original scholarship, and does not claim to be. Its purpose is to teach grammatical rules developed or discovered by others to those learning Biblical Hebrew. What is the 5th rule that Seow's book doesn't give?

As to the idea of automating the kamatz katan and shva na, the question is first of all automating based on what.

If you want to get it from just the sequence of letters, that is not possible because first of all there are quite a number of words in Hebrew that have the same letters and different vowels and a totally different meaning. So I would think that the existing "autonikkud" must give you options when there is ambiguity.

The second possibility is that you have nikkud already, but without distinguishing the shva na and the kamatz katan. The example Prof. Dotan gave you of the same vowel sequence that can be either a kamatz katan or not, depending on its meaning, seems to me to refute the possibility of fully automating the process.

But generally, you are going to have to find a means of telling from the letters and nikkud alone whether the accent is on the final or penultimate syllable. I don't know whether that is possible, but I doubt it.

Another possibility is paying attention to the meteg, if that is used. Then you can get somewhere, because according to Seow the meteg is sometimes used to mark a 'long' syllable, and also a sheva na. If you can automatically distinguish the different kinds of meteg--and that seems pretty difficult--then you might be able to do it. But that assumes that the meteg has been put in systematically. But here you have evidence that there is not infrequently non-systematic spelling going on--such as in the varying treatment of the shva na in different prayer books.

So it seems to me that there is no way around it except through a look-up. And since you can do it through a look-up, there is really no advantage to the end user whether you do a spell check or encode things in the font. So again I don't see the point of the exercise. The spell check and auto-nikkud programs already exist, and if they don't mark the shva na, there is no reason why this couldn't be added.

ps I was referring to the Chomsky article mentioned in these threads, not his book.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> What is the 5th rule that Seow’s book doesn’t give?

At first, thought that Prof. Dotan made an error. Then, he repeated 5 a few times. Then, he enumerated each one separately. Let me review Seow's book first to refresh my memory.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> As to the idea of automating the kamatz katan and shva na, the question is first of all automating based on what.

It is very very easy to make different versions based on different rules.

I believe all the rules can be placed in a single OT font as "Alternate Styles", but that's for stage two and consultancy with John Hudson.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> If you want to get it from just the sequence of letters, that is not possible because first of all there are quite a number of words in Hebrew that have the same letters and different vowels and a totally different meaning.

I humbly disagree. According to Prof. Dotan an identically spelled word with a shva, and then a kamatz preceding it, the shva is not a shvana unless the kamatz is a kamatz katan. First kamatz, then shva; or first kamatz katan, then shvana.

Hence, the GSUB set of shvana routines must operate AFTER the GSUB set of kamatz katan routines.

What about words that have different nikkud preceding the shva? If the kamatz occur two or more letters before the shva, does the same rule apply? Does it, David?

According to Prof. Dotan, the meaning is mainly in the letters, but the determination of the shva beinga unvoiced shva or voiced shvana is only from the nikkud. If the kamatz precedes the shva, then the different meaning can be determined if the kamatz is gadol or katan.

Please cite me identically spelled words, letters and nikkud, that either have kamatz more than one letter before it, or no kamatz at all. I will ask Prof. Dotan if there is an indicator. Are their such words?

gohebrew's picture

William,

> So I would think that the existing “autonikkud” must give you options when there is ambiguity.

I haven't done it yet. John Hudson says it possible to have a look-up exception table, or maybe even a look-up "do-it-here" table. I didn't see how in Volt. Maybe with the Adobe tools.

For sure, this is uncharted territory, as no OT font to date has done this, but it can be done.

John said that a Microsoft engineer in OpenType related that the complexity of Biblical Hebrew is the most complicated that he has ever seen.

gohebrew's picture

William,

> The example Prof. Dotan gave you of the same vowel sequence that can be either a kamatz katan or not, depending on its meaning, seems to me to refute the possibility of fully automating the process.

How?

My impression was the opposite. This was the key to determining a shva or a shvana. When Prof. Dotan heard this, he totally changed, and encouraged me strongly to pursue this. He then repeated over and over, "It's the nikkud, not the letters. It's the nikkud, not the letters. It's the nikkud, not the letters." "Study the nikkud very well.Understand how they interact with each other. Also Hebrew grammar, but mainly the nikkud. It'll take you a few months. Then, contact me again with 'something new'".

david h's picture

Bill,

5) when it occurs between identical letters.

Israel,

my post was punch under the belt ("> Prof. Dotan.....or 4? or 6?").

gohebrew's picture

William,

> ...whether the accent is on the final or penultimate syllable.

Isn't this the meteg?

Is there a relationship between the meteg and the nikkud?

Is the position of the meteg an influence in determining whether a shva is unvoiced or a voiced shvana?

gohebrew's picture

David,

> ...my post was punch under the belt (“> Prof. Dotan.....or 4? or 6?”).

I thought so, but Seow mentions 4, so I wasn't sure.

When I was a kid doing sit-ups in Gym class, the Gym teacher said: "You should be a boxer. You have strong stomach muscles, and could take a lot of punches to the stomach."

Below the belt? :) Maybe, Prof. Dotan?

gohebrew's picture

William,

> ...according to Seow the meteg is sometimes used to mark a ’long’ syllable, and also a sheva na.

Please, which page number in Seow's book is this discussed? Does Chomsky discuss this as well in translating Kimchi's writings?

gohebrew's picture

William,

> ...the varying treatment of the shva na in different prayer books.

I think this is because of two things:

1) Rejection of one or more of the rules mentioned above, based on inferences from the writings of certain Rishonim authorities;

2) As Prof. Dotan stated, with all due respect, the עם הארצות "limited knowledge" :) of the prayerbook editors.

In fact, when I told Prof. Dotan that I was a Chabadnik, he apologized retroactively for calling a certain גדול בישראל great Jewish leader such a disrespectful term. He used the word, "Harsh".

I told him, as a Chabadnik the word, harsh, only applies to the way G-d treats us to keep us in the Galut so long. Nothing else is harsh. He agreed.

Like Abraham argued with G-d about His decision to destroy Sedom, Chabadnikim argue with G-d. We do what He instructs, but we argue.

Like the coming of the messiah, Chabadnikim think he is late. :)

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