Re: Hebrew Vav Holam

From: Ted Hopp (
Date: Wed Jul 30 2003 - 23:15:16 EDT

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    On Wednesday, July 30, 2003 7:09 PM, Peter Kirk wrote:
    > On 30/07/2003 15:28, Ted Hopp wrote:
    > >Where is a kholam attached to the right of an alef?
    > >
    > Well, for a start in every occurrence of ro'sh "head", lo' "not", zo't
    > "this (f.)", vayyo'mer "and he said" and several other common words in
    > the Bible. And I understood these (not the last) were modern Hebrew
    > spellings as well. But just as with holam and vav, the shift takes place
    > only when there is no other point or following vowel with the alef, so
    > e.g. not on bo'u "come! (pl)" (Genesis 45:17 etc).

    Oh dear. That's what I was afraid you meant. In all those cases, I believe
    the correct interpretation is that the kholam is attached to the left of the
    preceding consonant (resh, lamed, zayin, yod, etc.), not to the alef. That
    the point appears to be over the alef is a typesetter's (or font designer's)
    decision based on aesthetics, or just irregular typography. It should
    certainly not be coded that way. (What I mean is: if we had a "right kholam"
    vowel that combined with its *preceding* base character on the right
    side--like shin dot--it would still be wrong to encode rosh as
    <resh-alef-right kholam-shin-shin dot>.)

    Consonants without vowels may be less common, but alef in particular occurs
    quite often that way. (The name Issachar is spelled with a vowel-less shin.)
    Certain words just have irregular spelling.

    Also, if I may ask, where is an example of a medial meteg in a khataf vowel?


    Ted Hopp, Ph.D.
    ZigZag, Inc.

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