A History of the Hebrew Language by Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher

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By Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher

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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.

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