Automatic Shva-na and Meteg Based Upon Context

gohebrew's picture

Advanced OpenType Software Tool, like MS VOLT, can create an automatic replacement of a string of glyphs, and insert a needed glyph, such as a shva-na and a meteg.

As a results, intelligent students can better study the grammatical use and proper placement of the shva-na and the meteg.

At first. I was distracted by seemingly Hebrew experts as to the impossibility of doing this, as the use and placement of shva-na and meteg is purely grammatical, in their minds, and not at all contextual.

So, I consulted with two truly Hebrew language experts, Prof. Aron Dotan of Tel Aviv University in Ramat Aviv, Israel, and Rabbi Shmuel Rabin of Toronto, Canada, a Lubavitcher chossid. They confirmed that this indeed was possible. Rabbi Rabin warned though that this was very difficult according to the viewpoint of Rabbi Zalman Hanau.

There are basically three schools of thought based upon the writings of the Radak, Rabbi David Kimchi - the father of our understanding of Hebrew grammar. They are:

1. Rabbi Zalman Hanau and most of Jewish thinking until about 225 years ago. The Chabad Lubavitch printing house in the USA, Kehos follows this approach.

2. Rabbi Eliyahu Bachur, and later the Vilna Gaon. The ArtScroll printing house follows this approach.

3. Minchas Shai. Shai LeMorah publishers of Jerusalem, and the Chabad Lubavitch printing house in Israel, Kehos, follow this approach.

gohebrew's picture


I think you are missing the point, even though I spelled it out:

>> I am perusing the entire Tanach, Siddur, Chapters of Our Fathers, Zmirot etc. (anything we have with shva-nas). I am identifying patterns, strings of Unicode data. Then, I am compiling lists of Glyph Groups.

I merely seek to replace strings, based on patterns I have found in the entire Tanach, Siddur, Chapters of Our Fathers, Zmirot etc.

I cseek grammar just to find the patterns better, and to reject certain patterns.

Get it?

gohebrew's picture


I think I understand what you did in your Volt font.

First, you replace all shvahs with a Sephardic kind of boldened shvah-na.

Then, through some clever programming based on rules of Hebrew grammar, you sorted out certain coverted shvah-nas back to plain shvahs (shvah-nachs).

You tried to the same with metegs and ran into dead pan alley.

So, you told me to avoid metegs.

My approach is very simple. I merely replace strings with strings, like the furtive patach, but in larger scale.

Prof. Dotan and R. Rabin said: "Go for it." If I succeed, then Israel Chomsky will write a great book, entitled: "Shvah-na Strings". :)

Typograph's picture

Just some things about hatafim
the hatafim get devided by 2
hataf patah, hataf segol is one set
hataf qamats has its own issues.

a hataf is a sheva attached to a qamats, segol or patah
in general hatafim (the hataf patah and hataf segol) are use under otiot alef,het,ayin,resh.
in general this sheva is a sheva na so a letter with a sheva followd by a letter with a hataf will normaly be a sheva nach.

hataf qamats is allways a qamats qatan
in some cases the hataf X will be used also under other letters like
מרדכי, although in general names in tanach might not absolutly follow the grammer.
then you have the arameic words that have to be dealed with in a slight different maner.

Gohebrew: I am not self righteous, but talking to walls is fustraiting.
I thing rephael will agree with me on that.

listen, ask a question and I'll try to ansawr, arguing with you about topics that you hav no idea what you are talking about is a totaly weist of time.
so why am i writing????
because maybe there is some one out there that might learn somthing from this discotion.

but you gohebrew have your own crusade that interests no one.
your threads are not typography nor grammer but gohebrews biography.
So why not write a book or make a film about your own biography, why Typophile???
The reason i am talking so harsh is because you cross red lines in your manner of speach.

most people here are gentle gentleman, I have no patience for Narishkeit.
you are annoying and irritating people here wich causes the not to write

gohebrew's picture

Paul Simon (another Jew-boy) sang "I am a rock".
So, "I am a wall".

The Zohar says a wall is just a pile of rocks.

Typograph's picture

ya, and talking to a pile of rocks is also not all that fun :)

gohebrew's picture

>> you are annoying and irritating people here wich causes the not to write

In Chabad Chassidism, self-nullification is the name of game. When a person can't stand the presence of another, then this lack of self-nullification is just an expression of arrogance. My presence fills all the space. So, there is no room for him. (Hehaltzu)

gohebrew's picture

from the Talmud, Seder Nezikim, Chapters of Our Fathers, 1:1-2

gohebrew's picture

In this sample we see the two very different views for the shvah-na of the viewpoint of the Minchat Shai on the left, and that of Rabbi Zalman Henna on the right.

In the first mishna chapter alone there are only two words in common that have a shvah-na.

Minchat Shai has only those two words, while Rabbi Zalman Henna six more words for a total of eight words.

Look at the arrows. They place the nikkud differently. This affects the meaning of the sentence about Moses' transmission of the Torah to his successor, Joshua, according to the Minchat Shai. Or is the meaning like Rabbi Zalman Henna: Moses turned [the leadership over] to Joshua. Hence, the mem is not part of the shoresh, 3 root letters; rather, the hei is part of the 3 root letters. The word does not have a dagesh, which indicates an indirect pronoun.

This difference reveals Prof. Dotan's immense genius, for he alluded to everything by saying: "It is all in the nikkud".

Curiously, they both menaked, place the nikkud, on the same word in plural, but without a dagesh, which indicates not an indirect pronoun.

Please explain, Eli.

gohebrew's picture

Eli, Lot's wife turned into something like that.

I am not Lot's wife. I don't look back.

gohebrew's picture

Perhaps, R. Henna had a dagesh there, but in printed versions it fell out.

If so, why is there no dagesh in the similar word, mas-ru-ha. It's with a kamatz and no dagesh.


Btw, John, does Arabic and other semetic languages have a complex nikkud system like this or even a simple one?

Could Hebrew have a divine origin?

William Berkson's picture

>Could Hebrew have a divine origin?

Maybe the letters but definitely not the nikud :)

There is no one standard text of Avot, and the medieval nikud for Avot vary and are problematic, so just forget about learning anything definitive about nikud from a printed edition.

david h's picture


> In this sample we see the two very different views for the shvah-na of the
> viewpoint of the Minchat Shai on the left, and that of Rabbi Zalman Henna on
> the right.

We said that before....

Based on the Tiberian tradition the sheva after vav + shuruk (shuruk = malfum, מאלפום by Rabbi Zalman Henau) was pronounced as sheva nach. See for example Zur Masoretischen Grammatik.

Based on Rabbi Henau the shuruk is long and that is why the sheva is na. But the shuruk is there not because the vowel is long, but because of the vav (In order to understand better the subject we need to talk about the pre-ashkenazi pronunciation).

However, Rabbi Shabtai Sofer (ashkenazi tradition) didn't see the sheva as na but nach!

The root doesn't change! The "dagesh"( letter he) is mapiq!

gohebrew's picture


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Transliteration h
Same appearance dagesh, shuruk


The word for height in Hebrew, govah. The centre dot in the leftmost letter is a mappiq.

Other Niqqud
Shva · Hiriq · Zeire · Segol · Patach · Kamatz · Holam · Dagesh · Mappiq · Shuruk · Kubutz · Rafe · Sin/Shin Dot

The mappiq (Hebrew: מפיק‎, also mapiq, mapik, mappik, lit. "causing to go out") is a diacritic used in the Hebrew alphabet. It is part of the Masoretes' system of niqqud (vowel points), and was added to Hebrew orthography at the same time. It takes the form of a dot in the middle of a letter (usually he). An identical point with a different phonetic function (marking different consonants) is called a dagesh.

The mappiq is used to mark the letter he (and rarely aleph), indicating that it is to be pronounced as a consonant, although in a position where the letter usually indicates a vowel.

Before the vowel points were invented, some consonants were used to indicate vowel sounds. These consonants are called matres lectionis. The letter he (transliterated H) at the end of a word (Hebrew is written from right to left) can indicate the vowel sound a or e. When it does, it is not acting as a consonant, and therefore in pure phonetic logic the Biblical name Zechariah (among others) should be spelled "Zekharya" without the final "h". However, silent final h being also a feature of English, it is usually retained in Hebrew transliterations to distinguish final he from final aleph.

The divine name Yah has a mappiq (a dot inside the last letter), so the last letter shall not be read as a vowel a, but as the consonant H - and therefore Yah (and not Ya).
The most common occurrence of mappiq is in the suffix "-ah", meaning "her".

A he with mappiq is meant to be pronounced as a full consonant "h", and in Mizrahi and Yemenite Hebrew it is pronounced more strongly than a normal he, sometimes with a slight following shwa sound (this rule is also followed by Dutch Sephardim). In modern Hebrew, however, it is normally silent.

gohebrew's picture


... R' Shlomo Yedidiah Nortzi in his Minchat Shai




Rabbi Yehuda Meir Shapira was born in March 1887. His father was Rabbi Yaakov Shimshon of Schatz (Bukovina), son of Rabbi Yehuda Meir, son of Rabbi Dov of Tlost, son of Rabbi Yehuda Meir of Shpitovka, son of the famous tzaddik and friend of Besht (the founder of Chassidism), Rabbi Pinchus of Kuritz, a descendant of Rabbi Natan Shapira, author of Megalah Amukot of Cracow. In his youth, he caused a stir in the world of the Torah with his wisdom and great knowledge. This is confirmed by the great sage, Rabbi Shalom Mordechai Svedron of Berzan, in the ordination certificate he issued for the Rabbi Meir, in which he writes, “I saw a young man named Meir and I offered the blessing Yotzer Ha'meorot (creator of the lights).”

Rabbi Shapira had studied with his maternal grandfather, Rabbi Shmuel Yitzhak Schor of Munstritz, author of Minchat Shai, mastering all aspects of Torah and knowledge; soon he became known as a great scholar. A wealthy Galician Jew named Rabbi Yaakov David Breitman of Tarnopol gave him his daughter's hand in marriage.

Rabbi Shmuel Yitzhak Schor of Munstritz, author of Minchat Shai

gohebrew's picture


So, 'uh-m-sarah' can mean "and transmitted it" according to both R. Zalman Henna, and according to the Minchat Shai.

So, why does R. Zalman Henna add a shvah-na by the mem, and according to the Minchat Shai there .is no shvah-nah?

david h's picture


Do you have the original text? a scan? the printed text -- year? publisher/s?

> So, why does R. Zalman Henna add a shvah-na by the mem....

I told you why: based on Rabbi Henau the shuruk is a long vowel! and that is why the sheva is na.

But others don't think the same.

BTW, from his book: "There is no difference in reading between Sheva Na and Sheva Nach in the matter of the speed and quickness of reading".

But again that was his opinion.

gohebrew's picture


I wasn't referring to the historical graphic form of the nikkud in my question about Arabic and other semetic languages (based on our earlier blog discussion by Hebrew's divine origins).

Rather, I was referring to nikkud's complex oral tradition, reflecting Hebrew grammar.

Avot are Mishnaic teachings from before the medieval period, as you know. They did not exist in a vacuum. They were pronounced. This pronunciation was the 'nikkud' system that later was transcribed into a graphic system, to which you refer.

R' Zalman Henna and the Minchat Shai differ upon how it was pronounced.


Middle Ages
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ninth-century depiction of Charlemagne with popes Gelasius I and Gregory the Great
The Middle Ages (adjectival form: medieval or mediæval) was a period of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The period followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, and preceded the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period in a three-period division of history: Classical, Medieval, and Modern. The term "Middle Ages" (medium aevum) was coined in the 15th century and reflects the view that this period was a deviation from the path of classical learning, a path supposedly reconnected by Renaissance scholarship.


Pirkei Avot
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rabbinical Eras

Pirkei Avot (Hebrew: פרקי אבות Pirqe Avoth in Classical and Talmudic Hebrew‎), which translates to English as Verses of the Fathers is a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period. Because of its contents, it is also called Ethics of the Fathers. The teachings of Pirkei Avot appear in the Mishnaic tractate of Avot, the second-to-last tractate in the order of Nezikin in the Talmud. Pirkei Avot is unique in that it is the only tractate of the Talmud dealing solely with ethical and moral principles; there is little or no halacha found in Pirkei Avot, except for the Ein Mishpat Ner Mitzvah.


Structure of the work

The tractate consists of six chapters. It begins with an order of transmission of the Oral Tradition; Moses receives the Torah at Mount Sinai and then transmits it through various generations (including Joshua, the Elders, and the Neviim, but notably not the Kohanim), whence it finally arrives at the Great Assembly, i.e., the Rabbis (Avot 1:1). It contains sayings attributed to sages from Simon the Just (200 B.C.E.) to shortly after Judah haNasi (200 C.E.), redactor of the Mishnah. These aphorisms concern proper ethical and social conduct, as well as the importance of Torah study.

The first two chapters proceed in a general chronological order, with the second focusing on the students of Yochanan Ben Zakkai. Chapters Three and Four contain various attributed sayings in no clear order. Chapter Five departs from the organization and content of the preceding four in that it consists mostly of anonymous sayings structured around numerical lists, several of which have no direct connection with ethics. The last four paragraphs of this chapter return to the format of moral aphorisms attributed to specific rabbis.

In liturgical use, and in most printed editions of Avoth, a sixth chapter, Kinyan Torah ("Acquisition of Torah") is added; this is in fact the eighth (in the Vilna edition) chapter of tractate Kallah, one of the minor tractates. It is added because its content and style are somewhat similar to that of the original tractate Avoth (although it focuses on Torah study more than ethics), and to allow for one chapter to be recited on each Shabbat of the Omer period, this chapter being seen well-suited to Shabbat Shavuot, when the giving of the Torah is celebrated. (See below.)


gohebrew's picture

Thank you, David.

gohebrew's picture


In reviewing different printings of the prayerbook by Kehot USA (Chabad), I see that the dagesh in the hei of uh-m-sarah' in Avot 1:1 simply fell out in this print (small and unclear), but in most other editions of Kehot USA, the dagesh does appear.

Soon, all printers' plates will be PDFs and this will never occur.

gohebrew's picture


Do you know?

gohebrew's picture


Do you know?

William Berkson's picture

Just came across this interesting discussion of nikud. This is notes of a student in a class on Hebrew linguistics at Yeshiva U. Note that he says that even medieval authorities agree that the nikud are not mi-sinai—do not have any sacred authority. I needn't have put a smiley above when I wrote that!

The basics of the shva na are simple, but beyond that not only get incredibly complex, but it seems to me without justification for the decisions. These complex systems derive from Rabbi Kimhi in the 13th century—long after the Tiberian system was fixed, a system that doesn't record the sheva na. Thus there is not much basis for thinking they actually reflect ancient spoken Hebrew. In the link, it also explains that even in ancient times there were competing systems of nikud in Bablyonia and in Tiberias. It may be that choosing the Tiberian one was well justified, but it brings out the problematic character of the complex rules. That seems to me to justify following the current way Hebrew is pronounced by native Israelis, as Chomsky says.

I recognize that this won't affect those who regard one or another of these traditions as authentic. I'm just saying from a liberal Jewish point of view—or dispassionate scholarly one—it doesn't make much sense to enshrine these as proper.

Eli Fried, who seems to know more about this than anybody, could perhaps tell us at what point the "rules" about the shva na get tenuous.

By the way, I write shva na, not "sheva" na, because in spoken Hebrew the word contains a shva nach, not a shva na, contrary to the artificial "rules", but consistent with the real rules, according to Chomsky.

gohebrew's picture

I am trying to determine the difference between these two views, in order to create the appropriate glyph groups in Volt.

ggs are glyph groups.

I believe I will need 3 or 4 ggs:
a. one common to everyone
b. one for R. ZH
c. one for the MS
d. [if I make R'EB]

The each gg is sub-dived into small ggs based on nikkud types, with all their contextual replacements.

Those ggs is divided into 4 ggs:
a. Bible - Ta
b. Bible - Nach
c. Mishnaic and like
d. Prayerbook and like

I think the string is:
letter, nikkud, letter, shva.

The string might be longer. The letters might be defined.
There may be a dagesh or mapik.
There may be wildcards to accomamate taamim etc.

Can wildcards also apply to nothing?

Then, is GPOS, a single look-up is used, with the different ggs.
Two font 'programs' s are made in Volt, based on a single font outline.
I would make it at first monospaced a monospaced font to give away for free.
I think a version of Miriam is suitable.

If it is this simple, perhaps this year it can be done.

Eli, does this system make sense?
If yes, the automatic shvah-na can be made rather quickly.
My research has been completed.

R' Zalman Henna is complete, without the Tanach. But this new font would add the shvah-nas as needed.
Minchas Shai is complete, without the siddur. But this new font would add the shvah-nas as needed.

gohebrew's picture


I think Eli did a grammar-based automatic shvah-na addition, and not a pure contextual replacement.

He's alluding to that in each excellent post, albeit with some go hebrew-crashing. :)

ps I learned החלצו, so I can endure, from the Reshab.

William Berkson's picture

>I think Eli did a grammar-based automatic shvah-na addition, and not a pure contextual replacement.

That's what I understand—there are look-ups of roots involved. I suspect that the root look-up is necessary, as there are ambiguities that you can't resolve from context alone, or at least not without look-ups that amount to the same thing. That's why Eli (and I) don't see the point of your "context only" approach, when Eli has already succeeded in doing this. And his system is flexible enough to change for different systems, as I understand him saying.

gohebrew's picture


Do you know?

Eli, why?

John Hudson's picture

Bill: Thus there is not much basis for thinking they actually reflect ancient spoken Hebrew.

Indeed not. Some of the differences between ancient pronunciation and the later pronunciation applied to the Bible text by the Masoretes are evident from the text itself. The best known example is the change in pronunciation of yerušālēm to yerušālayim, which required the Masoretes to add hiriq between the lamed and the final mem in order to approximate the new pronunciation as yerušālaim, while preserving the consonant structure of the ancient manuscripts. The final four characters of this word are correctly encoded in the order lamed + patah + hiriq + final mem, and the hiriq is conventionally positioned under the right side of the final mem, following the Masoretic codices.

[This is also a good example of the unfortunate collision of the Biblical text with Unicode's canonical combining class assignments for Hebrew marks, which were based on modern practice. If Unicode normalisation is applied to this word, the order of the patah and hiriq is reversed.]

gohebrew's picture

Eli, please explain why?

A nuhn + hirik + shin + shva + shvah-nah
but not
a yud + hirik + siin + + dagesh + shva
a yud + hirik + shin + shva
a yud + hirik + siin + shva

Does that mean nuhn yes but yud no?

William Berkson's picture

>differences between ancient pronunciation and the later pronunciation applied to the Bible text by the Masoretes

That too. But I was speaking of whether the Rabbi Kimhi and later views on the shva na and other fine points not reflected in the Tiberian Nikud actually reflect the Tiberian pronunciation—which is presumably something like Mishnaic Hebrew, a thousand years after Joshua settled in the land of Israel. As to how those who wrote the Torah spoke, we know there are variations in spelling that probably reflect changes in Hebrew language, with different layers from different eras. So how it all was originally pronounced—God knows :)

gohebrew's picture

Here we have the types of patterns:
a yud before a nuhn that make the subsequent shva a shvah-na


a yud before a sinn, shinn, that make does not make the shva a shvah-na

Here, lets add to our assumptions.

Typograph's picture

guys, Lets make some order here.
On the net there are plenty og forums discosing hebrew grammer.
typophile is not one of them.
typophile is a place to talk about font design, font development and open type solutions.

Who ever dealt with volt for real complex functions learns real fast that volt is a powerfull tool but not without it's limits.
there is just so much you can do with Volt.
more so, Volt has a limit of the amount of lookups and context that when exceeded it simply won't compile.
furthur more, the fact that some function works correctly in the volt proofing tool does not mean it will work in indesign.
different versions of indesign behave differntly
in indesign CS4 they changed the way they deal with right2left and left2right characters.

when one (in this case gohebrew) wants to develop a project that will deal with sheva na\nach ect' he must first know what can be done and what cant be done. what is important and what's not, what should the project solve and what to leave for the user to decide.

I am saying again and again "forget all of the Shitot".
some of the arguments are about the grammer rules other arguments are about specific words.

acourding to some opinions there are also a PATAH GADOL, HIRIQ GADOL and TSERE QATAN.
I ignore all that.

then you have different opinions what is a TENUA GEDOLA and what is a TENUA KETANA
acourding to my project
Qamats, Tsere, holam are TENUOT GEDOLOT
Hiriq, segol, Patah, Shuruq are TENUOT KETANOT
Melupum if its the first letter in a word its a TENUA KETANA and if in the middle of the word the its a TENUA GEDOLA.

Some wont agree on that 100%
Some say that a sheva after a meteg is allways a sheva na, my project does not behave that way.

I do take into consideration a meteg when trying to decide if the qamats is qatan and the sheva is nach or if the qamats is gadol and the sheva is na.

There are differnt issues that people argue about but alot of them in VOLT terms are insignificant.

So not every differance of opinion should be taken into consideration.

Gohebrew, you say its all in the nikud, I disagree.
Alot can be decided acourding to the nikud but to say that its all in the nikkud is incorrect.
some things are to do with the teamim which indicates some things.
some things are simply masoret.

some time things change if the word is BESMICHUT and some times where is the word in the sentence.
in a lot of cases you cant do a sheva na\nach without reconing if a qamats is qatan or Gadol (RAHAV)
and the qamats qatan issue is a whol thing by it self.
even if you do say that it is all in the nikud, you have to check some issues back and forth again and again until its refined, any change you make can effect the behavior somwhere else.
so hierarchy is very important

Personaly, if i want to talk hebrew grammer in general, i have better places to do so.
if you want to talk in VOLT terms, that is somthing else.

Typograph's picture


שאל אביך ויגדך
ותגלנה בנות ציון

here are 2 samples where after a tnua gedola the sheva is nach and not na.
the word לילה, why is the sheva nach??? or the word המותה.

So you would say that there are YOTSE MIN HAKLAL. Or yo will realize that at some cases the teamim make the differance

Typograph's picture

Gohebrew, just by having printed text is not enough to studie the issue
you have to learn the grammer, trying to learn this by common denominators won't work.

some distinuish between a hiriq gadol and hiriq qatan, others say a hiriq is allways qatan meaning a hiriq is allways a tnua qetana.

if you wish to discose these matters, subscribe your self on PROG

they have a DIKDUKE forume there with some guys who realy know their stuff and would be more than happy to ansawr all of youer questions about hebrew grammer.

R Shmuel riarchi is another jew i would sugjest you to talk with, he printed TANACH SIMANIM and has much to say about this particular issue.

If you realy want to extend, talk to some yemen medakdekim, they have their own masora.

gohebrew's picture


>>> Gohebrew, you say its all in the nikud, I disagree.

I did not say this.

At the end of our long conversation, he stressed that nikkud played a gigantic role in context-based shvah-na results. He said that phrase, "Everything's in the nikkud".

I don't think that he meant 'everything' literally, as I showed by the shvah following the chirik. But will be ever find a 'shvah following the chirik' where the chirik is under the nuhn, and the shvah does not become a shvah-nah?

gohebrew's picture


>> typophile is a place to talk about font design, font development and open type solutions.

I agree with you in general.

Talmudic sages predict: החכם רואה את הנולד, a wise person sees the outcome.

This discussion is not to clarify Hebrew grammar, but to use OpenType via Volt with GPOS in an innovative manner, to address certain Hebrew grammar issues in an unconventional way, namely contextual.

Typograph's picture

A hiriq is a TENUA KETANA, the following sheva should be Nach.
If you follow the shita that there is a hiriq qatan and hiriq gadol then after a hiriq gadol you would get a sheva na, but go figur it out.

Typograph's picture

"This discussion is not to clarify Hebrew grammar, but to use OpenType via Volt with GPOS in an innovative manner, to address certain Hebrew grammar issues in an unconventional way, namely contextual"

I would agree with you if you talked in volt terminalogy, but you are not.
as i said before, researching the hebrew grammer, there are forums like on PROG Or TAPUZ

gohebrew's picture


>> A hiriq is a TENUA KETANA, the following sheva should be Nach.
If you follow the shita that there is a hiriq qatan and hiriq gadol then after a hiriq gadol you would get a sheva na, but go figur it out.

So, you are saying that normally, a chirik is a tunua ketana, or a chirik ketan.

But here under the nuhn, the chirik is a tenua gedola, or a chirik gadol. Why? Because the chirik gadol is under the nuhn, or at the beginning of the word, or both.

gohebrew's picture

>> I would agree with you if you talked in volt terminalogy, but you are not.
as i said before, researching the hebrew grammer, there are forums like on PROG Or TAPUZ

Can you give me the links?

Typograph's picture

for others, google it

Typograph's picture

i am not saying that normaly a hiriq is a tenua ketana, a hiriq is allways a tnua ketana in modern hebrew, i am just saying that there are diffirent SHITOT about which nikudim are tnuot ketanot and wich are gedolot and not every one agrees on this.
to some shitot you can hav a hiriq qatan or hiriq gadol a tsere qatan and tsere gadol.

but again, go figure it out

gohebrew's picture

What are the differences between Hebrew grammar versus moder Hebrew?

When I was a teen living in Israel, I was told that there was only a difference in Hebrew vocabulary. And that Eliezer Ben Yehuda made a new up-to-date lexicon, as we live in modern times, and need to use words for modern objects, which did not exist long ago.

Bill, you suggested that there are differences of pronunciation. Are you merely referring to Sephardic versus Ashkenazic?

Eli, you seemed to say that these differences are in Hebrew grammar as well.

William Berkson's picture

>differences of pronunciation

There are different issues here.

1. Traditions of different communities. As is well known, different communities, such as Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Yemeni, Iraqi, etc. had different pronunciations of Hebrew by the time of the modern settlement of Israel by Jews. Scholars have discussed which of these most reflects ancient pronunciation. There is an Encyclopedia Judaica article on this. Eg. the ayin is pronounced "ng", there are distinctions between the tav and daled with and without dagesh, etc. I don't think a single scholar believes that either Ashkenazi pronunciation, such as the Chassidim use, or modern Israeli, accurately reflect ancient pronunciation.

2. The differences between pronunciation by the "rules" of grammar vs spoken Hebrew, now and in the past. William Chomsky's argument in the "Shewa" article was that some of the "rules" deriving from Rabbi David Kimhi, and now enshrined, are in error, as they probably never were followed, and not today. These rules affect pronunciation, so that some of the supposed rules of "holy" and correct pronunciations in fact are just blunders. For example, as I understand it, the "rule" is that a shva under the first letter is always pronounced—a mistake in Chomsky's view. Chomsky says that both Ashkenazi and Sephardic speakers in the 20th century did not pronounce the shva under the first letter, except in specific categories of letters: the "liquid consonants", prepositional first letters, and the conjunctive vav. Nor do Israelis today. So, for example, in the words k'tana and g'dola (feminine for small and big) there is no pronunciation of the shva. Nor is there in the word sh'va itself.

david h's picture


Re: Tenua gedola, short, nun, vav, shin.... etc. etc.

This is not a matter of 'patterns', but a matter of knowing Hebrew grammar and how to add the nikkud. This has nothing to do with different points of views.

The word ישראל is divided into syllables. How many syllables? The same as the number of its vowels. In this case יש/ר/אל
The first syllable is closed and unstressed -- and will get a short vowel, hiriq.
The second syllable is open -- and will get a long vowel, kamats.
The third syllable is closed and stressed -- and will get a long vowel, tsere.
How do we know if it is kamats and not a patach, tsere and not a segol? You need to know and understand, among other things, how the Vowel diagram works (e.g. see the IPA vowel diagram).

Here is another example: נ�צּ�ל�ה
This word has two meanings, the same root (נ.צ.ל) and in both cases the tense is past. But If it is used in the context: the girl was saved by the doctor... by the fireman, etc. etc. then the binyan/conjugation is Nifal.
This binyan is identified by a prefix n/ni. The dagesh is hazak. Its aim is to compensate for the lost letter. That is why this dagesh is also known as Mashlim.
Since the word already has the letter nun נצל and adding the prefix n/ni will create this: נִנְצְל�ה, we drop one nun and add dagesh: נ�צּ�ל�ה.
If the word is used in the context: she took the opportunity to.... then the binyan/conjugation is Piel. This binyan is identified (again don't forget that we are talking about past tense!) by the hiriq (ayin hapoal, עי"ן הפועל ), and dagesh hazak (pe hapoal, פ' הפועל ) in any form. That said the hiriq & the dagesh are part of the binyan! In this regard, one time you'll have a word that starts with the letter nun, and another time a different letter.

The word שִימִי, as you can see, has a hiriq and a yud; this hiriq is gadol, a long vowel. In this word נ�צּ�ל�ה there's no letter yud; this hiriq is katan, a short vowel.

Are we clear about "101 Hebrew Grammar"?

1. Norzi, Minchat Shay: Norzi was not a grammarian in the full sense of the word, rather a Masorah researcher. In his own words:

Since he saw printed text with errors his goal was to provide a reliable source. In this regard his was work valuable!!!. Norzi didn't develop any grammar specific rules, nor any rules that related to the ta'amim. Also his Ma'amar ha-Ma'arich is more articulation rather than writing rules from scratch.
What are those rules that were "formed" by Norzi? There must be something if you're designing a font based on those rules.

2. Traditions: It is no secret that none of traditions are homogeneous. Each of them has a sub-category/tradition. For now, I'll mention a couple of them.
The Yemenite tradition accepted the Tiberian tradition who pushed away the Babylonian tradition. They accepted the Tiberian rules when reading the Bible, but not in other fields.
If you own their Babylonian Talmud you'll see something interesting:
(A) Segol: the vowel segol is not printed at all. They don't use it. It is not printed! Instead they use a patach. Why? Because they pronounce the segol and patach the same!
(B) Hataf: the same applies to the hataf (e.g. hataf-patach). They don't use it. It is not printed. Why? Because they pronounce it like sheva na!
(C) Sheva Nach: the sheva nach is not printed at all! In their real tradition the sheva nach doesn't exist.
Moreover, their rules of beged kefet while reading the Bible are not the same when reading the Talmud. They are different.
But wait. Their reading tradition of the Aramaic of the Targum is not like their Babylonian Aramaic.
Now this is not just about the number of words, but knowing and understanding the differences that exist. Otherwise how could a person give a solution without knowing the "problems".

It is also not a secret that the Targum, or Onkelus, has different MSS. What do the printed texts look like? Let's just view several of them:

Again this is not just the number of words, or word related issues but familiarity with the subject matter and how you can or can't provide a solution. And at any rate you'll never "cut the middle man", or the need for a grammarian!

Other traditions are not so different, for example, Jews from Tunis (and again I'm not getting into specific areas , towns, etc. etc. as differences are existing).
When they read the Bible, for example, they adopted the rules of Eliyahu Bachur.
But what is interesting is that they don't use the third rule: sheva na after a long vowel. In other words they don't read this sheva as na!
More interesting is the fact that when they read a word from the Bible e.g. קרבן
with "o" sound , or kamats katan; however, they read it as "a" sound, just kamats , when they read the Mishna ( e.g. סוכה ה, ז; תר' ח, א; מ"ש ד, י)

And this is not even showing the tip of the iceberg. Would you mind teaching me the logic behind finding a solution first, and later looking for the "problems"? How does it work?

3. Meteg: in the siddurim the Biblical meteg does not exist unless, of course, you cite a verse, or half a chapter, or the whole chapter with all and the same ta'amim and nikkud.
That "meteg" should be called SM -- Stress Mark, or MM -- Milel/Milra Mark (whatever the intention of the publisher).
What should we (or your font) teach about that "meteg"?
Very few will notice that a couple editions of the Bible have two graphic marks for the Biblical meteg/ga'ya. One that is longer than the other, or one that is shorter than the other.
Should we add that to the Unicode?
In terms of grammar there are 10 different kinds of Biblical meteg. They could be divided into 2 main groups, with five in each group: the must or have to group is based on the Masorah; the second group is the reshot, or non-obliged, where the Masorah gave a free hand to the scribe, and hence the many differences that exist between MSS.
Now, which meteg should the font try to "teach"? Should we add that to the Unicode, ten differents kinds of vertical lines? It is important like the dagesh & sheva.

Would it be wiser and easier first to familiarize yourself with the subject based on true investigation, understanding your subject(s), limitation, and then working with a specific client/publisher/editor on a specific solution/project?



What does English Transliteration have to do with Hebrew, Modern Hebrew, or Spoken Hebrew???
We could find sewa, seva, schwa, shva, sheva etc etc.

Typograph's picture

David hamuel: all my blobber through out these threds, you nicly summorized in one single thread.


gohebrew's picture


This was a great lesson. Also, thanx.

Eli, I thought it was my blabberring. Yours was only virtual.

I rethought Prof. D. and Rabbi R.'s remarks, and propose that if we transpose all Hebrew grammar rules into different graphic symbols, where a dagesh chazak or dagesh kal, are two different symbols or codes, and same for patachs x 2 = 2 different codes etc., then create GSUB rules, every shvah-na can be accurately replaced, and perhaps others as well.

This is major endeavor, and would require a grant of sorts.

Eli, is this what you did?

I would prefer to reinvent the wheel, because I see the logic of these GSUBs could definately have commercial applications in security-sensitive fonts for security-sensitive environments, and I doubt that you would release your source code.

I agree that the 3 views come after everything, for they simply differ on how the rules are applied.

Clearly, my major hurdle is finding out in English a systematic definition of all the rules. I need a compact portable David, ie David in an iPod :) - perhaps, it's Chomsky's book on the Radak (RAbbi DAvid Kimchi zatzal) - although it was so poorly written.

First GSUBs: replace all nikkud and dagesh with two different codes, referring to GyphGroups - all vowels
Then 2nd group of GSUB: applying different Hebrew grammar rules, and replacing those strings with new strings which insert shvah-nas

Everything is in the nikkud: P. Dotan meant that the two forms of dagesh are also nikkudot (it's a dot, not a dim, Eli, right?).

Is it soup, yet?

gohebrew's picture

I think it would make a great looking font.

All nikkud and dagesh have 3 similar graphic forms:

regular - as is
kal - hollow
chazal - outlined

Raphael, whaddya thnk? Very intuitive.

Typograph's picture

Congratulations Gohebrew, you are finaly starting to talk my language.
So now its to to Talk in Volt Terms.

I am going to open a new thread anf try keeping it around Fontlab And Volt.

gohebrew's picture

Why not Fontographer?

Has anyone used Fontographer and gone there to Volt skipping FontLab?

I tried once and it generated an arror.

John H., what am doing wrong? Did Pyrus put a bug in to keep us using FontLab?

Typograph's picture

I uses FL5 & FG5 (the new vertion, its great fore some stuff)
Personaly i use Mainly Fontlab.

But that dos't matter.
Gohebrew: I'v creadet a new topic, you will see eventualy

Syndicate content Syndicate content