Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Why is a chet with a patach at the end of a word pronounced "ACH" and not "CHA"? Example: מָשִׁיחַ

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by HodofHod, msh210 Sep 10 '12 at 3:53

Questions on Mi Yodeya are expected to relate to Judaism within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
As noted in an answer, this is not quite worded correctly. Also, the title should specify that you are referring to the end of the word. –  Seth J Sep 10 '12 at 2:38
    
@SethJ "a chet with a patach at the end of a word" ? –  b a Sep 10 '12 at 2:40
1  
@BA, "the title should specify..." –  Seth J Sep 10 '12 at 2:59
2  
Does anyone think this is in scope? –  Double AA Sep 10 '12 at 3:11
    
Astonishing, I think, that questions pertaining to the Hebrew language and to Israelite history are considered tangential to Judaism. I've read the FAQ, I'm just saying. –  Shimon bM Sep 10 '12 at 6:35
add comment

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Actually, the question is why it is spelt differently, and not why it is pronounced differently at all. If you wanted to say meshicha, you certainly could. That would be a different word, of course, though a related one. It would be spelt משיחה.

For words that end in -ach, orthographic convention has us conclude them with the chet. This is also the case for words ending in -'a (such as רקיע) and in -ah, where the final ה is consonantal (such as אלוהּ).

The reason for all of these is that the final vowel/consonant combination is not preceded by a phonological alef, but by a rounding off of the previous vowel. Hence, mashi(y)ach, raqi(y)a and elo(w)ah.

share|improve this answer
    
Not all agree with your last paragraph judaism.stackexchange.com/q/2313/759 –  Double AA Sep 10 '12 at 3:18
    
@doubleaa, that may be, but Shimon is correct. –  Seth J Sep 10 '12 at 4:00
    
Actually, it doesn't matter if I'm wrong: the issue isn't how people pronounce alefs and elided vowels today vs. how they did in the past, but that people did (and do) differentiate between them, that such a differentiation is manifested here, and that its represented orthographically. That last line was really just by way of an example, though different communities pronounce things in different ways. –  Shimon bM Sep 10 '12 at 4:49
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.