Re: Hebrew Vav Holam

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Thu Jul 31 2003 - 10:00:53 EDT

  • Next message: Ted Hopp: "Re: Hebrew Vav Holam"

    On 31/07/2003 06:26, Ted Hopp wrote:

    >On Thursday, July 31, 2003 12:53 AM, Jony Rosenne wrote:
    >>I have not seen an answer to my question: Is the distinction from the
    >>Masora or later.
    >I don't know if there is a definite statement from the Masorites
    >specifically about the issue, but this page from the Leningrad codex is all
    >the statement I need:
    >The last (leftmost) word on line 7 is shamoa' and contains a holam male
    >showing the dot centered above the stem of the vav (or, if you like, to the
    >left of the mem).
    >The last word on the next line is lemitzvotav and contains a vav with a
    >holam haser showing the dot well to the left of the vav.
    >Based on this, I would say that the answer to Jony's question is that the
    >distinction is from the Masora.
    >On a related topic: observe that the penultimate word on line 5, vayilonu,
    >has a holam haser dot well over the nun. However, no one would associate the
    >dot with the nun. Similarly, the holam haser is well over the alef in
    >vayavo-u on line 4, even though the alef has its own vowel. There is nothing
    >in any Hebrew grammar about a "right dot" for anything other than a shin
    >dot. If we're going to be discussing new characters, can we try to stick to
    >established terminology, namely holam male instead of "right dot",
    >"vav-holam" (or is it "holam-vav"?), etc., both in the discussion and
    >(unless there is a compelling reason) in our proposed character names?
    >Solving this problem with a "right dot" combining character may seem elegant
    >to some, but it has nothing to do with Hebrew as grammarians have understood
    >it for the last millenium.
    Thanks for this example, which is much clearer than the one I posted and
    confirms my conclusions.

    Ted, if we are to encode separately the dot in holam male, what would
    you call that dot? We can't call it holam male because that is the name
    of the combined vav and holam. But if that causes a difficulty, that
    shows what the problem is. This dot is not a different character from a
    regular holam, it is the same one positioned differently, because it
    logically precedes the character above which it happens to sit.

    I note, from the Unicode standard version 4.0 section 2.10
    (, that some combining
    characters are encoded according to their logical and pronunciation
    order although this does not correspond to their visual positioning.
    Perhaps holam should be considered as a similar special case, with vav
    as it already is with alef.

    Peter Kirk

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