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From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu> Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 19:12:09 -0400 (EDT) Subject: agesh in yud Eliyahu Shifman asks WHY the Yud in Eliyahu is Degushah (v28n101) Similarly Shlomo Godick asks about Yud pronunciations in Polish. Although the subject of pronunciation is complicated and subject to much controversy here is a brief idea from the RDQ that may shed light. Hebrew vowels are classified as SHORT and LONG. The difference between the SHORT and LONG vowels is that the LONG vowels have an extra hidden letter For example: SEGOL (EH) is a short vowel while TZARAY (AY) is the corresponding long vowel. The RADACKs point of view (mentioned in Michlol) is that the TZARAY can be perceived as a SEGOL FOLLOWED BY A YUD. To see this clearly try pronouncing MEM-YUD with a SEGOL under the MEM You will end up pronouncing MAY (as if it had a tzaray). In a similar manner the short vowel CHIRIK (as the "i" in "in") differs from the long vowel CHIRIK (as the "ee" in "bee") in that the long vowel chirik is SHORT CHIRIK + YUD. This explains the YUD DEGUSHAH in Eliyahu. WIthout the DAGESH the word would be pronounced with short vowel chirik (E Li Ya Hoo). With a Dagesh it is pronounced with a long vowel Chirik (E Lee Ya Hoo). The phonetic reason for placing the dagesh is because (in general) short vowels that are not accented tend to link up with the following syllable to make the pronunciation smoother (E Lee Ya Hu is easier to pronounce then E Li Ya Hoo). Russell Hendel; rhendel@juno.com; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/