How or why words are pronounced in certain ways.

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Why are all pronunciations of each letter voiced or voiceless?

There are differing m'soros (religiously significant traditions) about the right way to pronounce various letters of the alphabet when praying or reading the Torah. (There are even more ways that the ...
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49 views

Intentionally mispronouncing lashon hakodesh in religious services

With regard to written texts, a Torah is invalidated if the same character is written for what should be distinct letters (e.g. כ and ב). However, with regard to the spoken language and people who are ...
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28 views

What is the origin of the Chassidish pronounciation of hebrew? [duplicate]

If I am not mistaken initially there were Ashkenazic Jews which later on branched off into Chassidim via the leadership of the Baal Shem Tov. Does this mean that prior to the Baal Shem Tov all ...
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5answers
271 views

רָקִיאַע or רָקִיַע

The מנחת שי at the beginning of בראשית (on "יהי רקיע") cites a מחלוקת whether the word 'רָקִיעַ' (and likewise for other words with a פתח גנובה) is pronounced as רָקִיאַע or as רָקִיַע, that is, with ...
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1answer
384 views

How do people daven so quickly, and what's the support for it?

I learned that one must clearly enunciate every word of tefila. At the least this would include Shemoneh Esreh and Shema, but one might presume it includes the entire prayer service. This question ...
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56 views

Pronunciation of אַשְׁרֵי

אַשְׁרֵי in Psalms 1:1 is pronounced with 3 syllables in Mechon-Mamre's mp3 file t2601. It is pronounced with 2 syllables in the last verse of Psalms 2 in Mechon-Mamre's mp3 file t2602. My question ...
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1answer
136 views

May one mix-and-match to create their own Hebrew pronunciation?

In the introduction to his siddur (down the bottom of the linked page), Rabbi Yaakov Emden emphasises the strict importance of a proper Hebrew pronunciation when davening. In particular, he ...
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3answers
477 views

Were our symbols for trope and nekudos created by the Masoretes, or transmitted by them?

It is commonly said in secular sources that the shapes of the trope and nekudos we use today were invented by the Masoretes (7th to 11th Century CE), but I cannot find any source in our mesorah to ...
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1answer
87 views

Source for the story about the Satmar Rebbe

I remember a story about a maskil who approached the Satmar Rebbe, and who lamented the fact that Hungarian Jews don't differentiate between the samekh (ס), the sin (שׂ) and the sav (ת). The Satmar ...
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Hebrew being Lashon HaKodesh, is the inclusion and exclusion of certain phonemes and sounds in the language significant?

For instance, the English sounds of "J", "W","Th", and "Ch" are for the most part unused in Hebrew. Although as an exception, I've seen a Yemenite Chazan use some of these sounds while reading the ...
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27 views

How to pronounce the name שימי

There's an amora (or at least one) in the Bavli named שימי. I think I've always heard this pronounced with an initial letter sin. However, I saw recently that the Koren-Steinsaltz edition has a ...
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31 views

Rava and Rabbah? Differentiating between two (?) amoraim

Inspired by this question, I have often heard people pronounce the name רבא as Rava and the name רבה as Rabbah. Is there a basis for this differentiation? Does anybody know where it comes from?
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0answers
40 views

Are all hiriqs the same or is there a distinction if a yud or other silent letter follows?

For example, what would be the difference in pronunciation of the hiriq in these two words: נִקּוּד and תִּינוֹק? What about רִאשׁוֹן? Is it "Rishon" similar to "pit" or "Reeshon" similar to ...
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3answers
150 views

Have any of you ever heard anyone pronouncing ayin as “ng”?

I have read historically the letter ayin was pronounced by some Dutch, Portuguese, and Italian Jews as a velar nasal consonant (ng as in sing). Reference to this can be found here, here, and here. I ...
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2answers
67 views

How do you pronounce numbers 248, 365, and 613 in the siddur?

In the meditations before putting on the tallit and tefillin in the morning, there are three numbers — 248, 365, and three instances of 613. They’re written out in standard Hebrew letter notation in ...
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1answer
909 views

Relationship between Samekh and Sin

What is the relationship between the letters samekh and sin? Did they ever have distinct sounds? Why do they exist as separate letters?
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Wordplay concerning the Ayin and the Aleph in Gemara

I remember hearing about some interesting statements made about those that fail to distinguish pronunciation between the ayin and the aleph. An example was given in gemara about why such a distinction ...
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6answers
477 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
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4answers
448 views

Yisgadal or Yisgadel?

I've noticed that some people, when reciting kaddish, pronounce the first words as "yisgadal v'yiskadash" with a patach under the dalet of both words, while others say "yisgadel v'yisgadesh" with a ...
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How to pronounce “nechamasa” in kaddish?

In most siddurim I've seen, the word "ונחמתא" in kaddish is written "וְנֶחֱמָתָא," with a סגול ("eh" sound) under the ח. However, someone recently told me that a certain (very trustworthy) rabbi ...
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Pronunciation of “Two”s in Hebrew

Thomas O. Lambdin calls out the words שְנַיִם and שְתַּיִם as exceptions to "shewa as the initial vowel in a word is always vocalized," i.e. it is "shtayim" and "shnayim". That's a secular expert's ...
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1answer
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Why is there a dagesh in second camocha, but not in first?

In "Mi chamocha ba'elim H', Mi camocha nedar bakodesh" (from the Az Yashir song by the sea, but also between the shma and the amidah in the morning, and elsewhere): מִֽי-כָמֹ֤כָה בָּֽאֵלִם֙ ...
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91 views

A child's tendency to skip words corrected/prompted by an instructor

When I am helping my young child say Birkat Hamazon or other prayers, I sometimes correct her pronunciation of a word or prompt her when she forgets what the next word is. In these situations, she ...
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3answers
497 views

Meaning and pronunciation of יישר כחך

What is the exact meaning of the phrase "יישר כחך", and what is the gramatically-correct way to pronounce it?
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2answers
64 views

How to pronounce a mapiq (Sephardic)?

Looking for the Sephardic way of pronouncing a mapiq in a heh at the end of the word. Either: it's a "h" sound as if it was in the middle of the word ("virishta h") it takes the sound of the ...
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3answers
211 views

Kol Nidre vs. Kal Nidre

Is the prayer we recite on Yom Kippur night pronounced "Kal Nidre" (with a kamatz) or "Kol Nidre" (with a חולם)? I've heard in the name of one of the Posekei Hador, Harav Bension Musafi, that it ...
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1answer
98 views

The lack of “ch” sound in Hebrew

As far as I know, there is no tradition of Lashon HaKodesh pronunciation in which there is a sound that matches the "ch" (IPA: t​͡​ʃ) of English. Is there any significance to this ...
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2answers
143 views

Are there any letters that do not have a distinct pronunciation?

Are there any two letters which do not have a distinction between their pronunciation in any tradition of pronunciation? To ask the inverse, is there at least one tradition of pronunciation for each ...
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What is the proper hebrew pronunciation of Rav Hirsch's first name?

Among the Modern Orthodox I hear Rav Hirsch's name only said in its English form ("Samson"). Amongst the Yeshivish I hear the form "Shamshon." My question is, was his Hebrew name Shamshon or Shimshon? ...
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3answers
196 views

Are you yotzei through accented pronunciation?

The shatz in shul seems to have been taught a different pronunciation from what I learned. I learned that the word "קדוש" is pronounced ka-dosh and he said it as "kadoysh." In fact, he inserted a yod ...
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4answers
98 views

Do we read zeicher, zecher, or both during Ki Teitzei?

For parshat Zachor, many have a minhag of saying both timche et zeicher amalek and timche et zecher amalek (different vowels on זכר). What are the customs regarding this word during parshat Ki ...
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1answer
71 views

How does one read words with a “yud” in Targum?

While doing "Shenayim Mikrah" I encounter many words that have a "yud" as second to last letter. For example the word "cities" is "קִרְוָיךְ". Is the yud pronounced during reading? I.e. is this read ...
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3answers
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What is the correct pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton?

I come from Christianity.SE, where I asked almost the same question. Isaac Moses assured me that the question would not be disrespectful and could be asked here. God's name is written as the ...
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50 views

How to pronounce נעמי? [closed]

Is it Naomi or Naami? Wikipedia says "Standard Hebrew Noʻomi, Tiberian Hebrew nåʿå̆mī"
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46 views

Targum of Elokim

The Targum uses yod yod for both Hashem and Elokim unless both are mentioned together. Should the yod yod be understood generically and pronounced Elokim when the chumash says Elokim, or should it be ...
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1answer
59 views

Davening and Krias Shema with a sore on the lip or throat

If someone has a sore on their lip or in their throat, such that it is painful to pronounce certain letters (like the letters that require putting pressure from the upper teeth onto the lower lip or ...
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1answer
115 views

Shva na after meteg on short vowel

When a long vowel has a meteg, there is a difference of opinion if the shva after it is na or nach. What about a short vowel with a meteg? Is it vayihi chen or vayhi chen? Is it tihiyeh or tihyeh? Is ...
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2answers
318 views

How to read Gen. 32:29

The general rule [citation needed] is that "holy" mentions of God's name are pronounced "Elokim;" but, where the same word is used to mean "judges" or "other gods," the pronunciation follows the ...
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4answers
545 views

How to learn Amidah, Shma and others?

I live 3000km from shul and take conversion classes remotely. I am learning from Koren Siddur. Because I do not ever hear how the words should be spoken, I sometimes wonder if it is a waste of time. I ...
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2answers
88 views

Pronunciation of Ketuba text

Can anyone recommend a source for the text of the Ketuba including nekudot, a transliteration, or a recording that could be used as a guide for pronunciation?
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2answers
224 views

Pronunciation guide by a Gerer Rebbe?

I heard from a friend years ago that one of the Rebbes from Gur (the S'fas Emes) wrote a book describing the proper pronunciation of Hebrew letters and words. I am not able to find any trace of such a ...
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1answer
73 views

קִדְשָנוּ versus קְדִשָנוּ

I've noticed a very common mistake that surfaces when people say Birchas HaMitzvos out loud. Instead of saying אשר קִדְשָנוּ במצותיו (kee-di-shu-noo) as written in all Siddurim, many people pronounce ...
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Sefardi rishonim who differentiate between Patach and Kamatz

Can anyone give me a list of sefardi rabbanim who said there is a pronunciation difference between the kamatz and patach?
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2answers
221 views

Aleph with a Dagesh

In four places in Tanakh, our text has an aleph with a dagesh: Gen 43:26, Lev 23:17, Job 33:21, and Ezra 8:18. What is the significance of this, and for the first two examples, how would you indicate ...
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0answers
77 views

Why are identical words pronounced differently at certain locations of the Shema?

Why are identical words pronounced differently at certain locations of the Shema? Or is this only for Sefardim? The two identical phrases in question are in the Veahávta and then again in the Vehayá: ...
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2answers
351 views

Inhaling prayers?

Elsewhere I ask whether it's sufficient to pray in a whisper. See there, please, for a description of whispering and how it differs from speaking quietly. Answers to that question indicate that ...
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2answers
138 views

resource for learning proper sefardi pronunciations

I learned Hebrew at an Ashkenazi school, but my heritage is Sefardi. Over the years I have tried to learn the mainstream Sefardi pronunciations (probably the way Rav Ovadia Yosef would pronounce ...
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3answers
393 views

Question about Ashkenazi pronunciation

BS"D I was at an Ashkenazi beith kneseth this past shabboth and noticed that they didn't distinctly pronounce their Shuruq's and Hholam's and instead substituted them with Hhireq's. I'm not sure if ...
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1answer
80 views

Paroh vs. Faroh in Parshat Bo

I am used to פרעה being pronounced as "Paroh" as it has been for the last few parshot, but I noticed today that in Parshat Bo (Shemot 10:11) it is to be pronounced "Faroh". What causes this change? ...
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1answer
207 views

How do I pronounce “yod” when there is a dot inside of it?

I'm trying to brush up on my Hebrew. As an American Jew, it is still important to me to be able to recite my prayers from the siddur in their original Hebrew. How do I pronounce "yod" when there is a ...