By Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher
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Additional resources for A History of the Hebrew Language
E. Kahle. E. were, in effect, language reform ers. They did not try to preserve BH as they inherited it from their predecessors. On the contrary, they introduced changes that amounted, in fact, to a language reform. Kahle adduced two proofs for this revolutionary theory. The first was the pronunciation o f the gutturals, the second, that o f the /b , g, d, k, p, t/ (cf. §30). Kahle maintained that in the Hebrew of the M asoretes the gutturals were not pronounced at all. How did he know? G oing back to the transliterations of the Hexapla (cf.
B. G uttural (Laryngal and Pharyngal) and Emphatic C onsonants §7. There are two consonantal series in Hebrew which have no counterpart in IE (except for /h/, sec §8): the gutturals (pharyngals and laryngals) and emphatics. I. The Laryngals ה,( אΓ, h /) §8. While the phoneme /h / is to be found in several IE languages, they 7 HEB R EW AS A SEMITIC L A NG UA G E [§§8 -1 2 lack the phoneme / ’/. To be sure, English, for example, does have this consonant, but employs it as a word marker only, c fr a n ice man as against a nice man.
This ingenious solution seems plausible, but as R. M arcus pointed out, the assum ption that the /s / o f ^ ל תgoes back to a proto-Sem itic / t / rests on a very shaky foundation. Y. Kutscher] that this foundation did not exist at all since the alleged attestation o f the Proto-Sem itic root tbl turned o ut to be the product o f medieval scribes. J. Finkelstein and M. Λ. Speiser, Philadelphia 1967, pp. 1 43-150 (= B A S O R 85 11942], pp. Y. K utscher in H ebräische W ortforschung: Festschrift zu m 80.