How or why words are pronounced in certain ways.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

18
votes
2answers
1k 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?
17
votes
6answers
592 views

Silent letter in Yisachar

Why don't we pronounce the second ש in יששכר?
17
votes
2answers
634 views

Where did the sing-song chant that Jews often use while contrasting points come from?

I am having a very hard time coming up with a good way to describe the phenomenon that I am thinking of, but many people will recognize it. I am talking about the kind of singing rhythm that people ...
16
votes
2answers
998 views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
16
votes
2answers
430 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
354 views

Whispering prayers?

Can one whisper t'fila (prayer)? I'm thinking of obligatory t'filos like sh'mone esre and "Sh'ma". I know one can speak t'fila quietly, even very quietly; in fact, sh'mone esre is said quietly. I'm ...
15
votes
2answers
289 views

Why doesn't Chabad differentiate between Ches and Chaf, and Ayin and Aleph?

The Previous Lubavitcher Rebbe writes that the Shabbos before the great debate in Minsk, the Alter Rebbe served as the chazzan and baal koreh for his minyan. Furthermore, although the Alter Rebbe used ...
14
votes
1answer
136 views

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 ...
14
votes
3answers
583 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
521 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
321 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
172 views

What does it mean to pronounce לו as opposed to לא

Maseches Sofrim 6:5 [4] says that there are 3 places where the word is written as לא but read as לו. This seems to mean that there is a difference in how the word would be pronounced if it were לא as ...
12
votes
3answers
805 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?
12
votes
1answer
365 views

Kubutz and shuruk in Polish/Hungarian pronunciation

What is the origin or basis of the Polish and Hungarian prevalence for pronouncing "oo" vowels as "ee"? The variants of other vowels are easier to understand in the context of phonological shifting, ...
11
votes
8answers
513 views

How do you extend the sound of a daleth in Shema?

How does one extend the sound of the daleth in the echod of the shema as prescribed in OC 61 (6)?. The letter as we say it does not seem to allow extension. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalet ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
386 views

Should I say “amen” to a malformed bracha?

If I hear somebody substantially mispronounce a bracha, should I say amen anyway (recognizing the intent) or remain silent? I'm not talking about nuances like pronouncing 'ayin or distinguishing ...
10
votes
37answers
2k views

words often mispronounced [closed]

What are some words commonly mispronounced? (Not by elision/reduction (like ה׳‎→אדְני‎) or assimilation (like תזכרו‎→תשׂכרו‎), but rather words that are pronounced wrong ...
10
votes
4answers
779 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
521 views

Disparity between male and female pronunciation of Cholam

In many Yeshivish communities in the US, the male segment of the population vocalizes the cholam as "oi," while their female counterparts vocalize it as a long "o". How did this come about? Does the ...
10
votes
1answer
259 views

Prounciation - IM vs YIM? with ים ending

I've read that ידים is to be pronounced ya- DAI - im, yet שמים is to be pronounced sha-MAI-yim. Both end the same, but are pronounced differently. (This was from a text purporting to teach "Biblical ...
10
votes
1answer
123 views

Pronunciation of God's Name in the Bach

The Bach, writing on the Tur OC 5:1, says that when pronouncing the tetragrammaton (שם הויה) as the שם אדנות, some people say the first vowel as a patach and some as tending toward tseirei. His ...
9
votes
1answer
767 views

Why so many vocalized shvas in Siddur Tehillat Hashem?

I prayed using a Siddur Tehillat Hashem the other day, and I noticed that many more shvas were marked with an asterisk above, indicating that they should be vocalized, than I'd expect. In particular, ...
9
votes
2answers
416 views

מרדכי = Mord'chi?

When learning with Jews of the Syrian community, I noticed that they pronounced מרדכי (the name of the halachic commentary on the g'mara) as "mord'chi", as if the final vowel were a chirik. Why is ...
9
votes
2answers
260 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
503 views

Why shin and sin?

Why does Hebrew use the same letter to represent two different sounds: shin and sin? As far as I know, with the exception of when using a dagesh kal, no other Hebrew letter has this property.
9
votes
1answer
176 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
286 views

Is the bracha pronounced “ha-MO-tzee” or “ha-mo-TZEE”?

The blessing we say on bread, "hamotzee lechem min ha'aretz" -- on what syllable is the stress in the word "hamotzee"? Is the bracha pronounced "ha-MO-tzee" or "ha-mo-TZEE"? In Psalms 104:14 we find ...
8
votes
2answers
97 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
337 views

A Lubavitch custom of reciting zecher and zeicher in “Ashrei”?

My cousin, a Lubavitcher, says both zecher and zeicher (that is, both זֶכֶר with a segol and זֵכֶר with a tzeire) in "Ashrei". I noticed this when I visited him a good few years ago, and assumed it ...
8
votes
1answer
298 views

Jewish names commonly used in a different form than found in Tanach

Some names are popularly used in a different form than the way they're spelled or pronounced in Tanach. A few that I can think of are: Nochum (נָחוּם) - is written in Tanach (Nah. 1:1) as נַחוּם ...
7
votes
1answer
262 views

How to pronounce the name of the last letter in the Hebrew alphabet?

I have heard mixed answers as to how to pronounce the letter תּ Is it taf or tav? (I'm referring to the halachic pronunciation not the common street way.) Is there a difference between Ashkenazi or ...
7
votes
2answers
225 views

Stress of הושיעה and הצליחה in Hallel

Why is הושיעה Mileel (penultimately stressed) whereas הצליחה is Milra (ultimately stressed) in Psalms 118:25?
7
votes
1answer
86 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
217 views

Why do many (most?) people call the upcoming holiday “Peysach”?

In some Ashkenazic dialects, lots of words in which the first syllable is accented and the vowel is segol are pronounced as though they had a tzeirei. Examples include "meylech," "tzeydek," and ...
7
votes
5answers
293 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
454 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
74 views

Is it Rabbeinu Bachya or Bechaye?

Whether people are referring to רבינו בחיי בן אשר or רבינו בחיי אבן פקודה, you will always find people who pronounce their names as either Bachya or Bechaye (Even Wikipedia uses both!). Is there any ...
6
votes
2answers
441 views

Pronunciation of משנה הלכות

Are R' Menashe Klein's volumes of responsa pronounced "Mishna Halachos" or "Mishaneh Halachos"? Can someone provide the grammatical explanation please?
6
votes
2answers
138 views

Why are Chazal asking if words are spelled with א or ע?

In Shabbos 77a-77b, Chazal ask about the spelling of a series of words, questioning whether the words are spelled with an alef - as in גראינין - or with an ayin - as in גרעינין. Wasn't ayin vocalized ...
6
votes
1answer
448 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
126 views

Correct Niqqud for ואטהר in Sefira Nusach

Context: In the Ashkenaz / Sefard (and possibly others) Nuschaos of Sefira, there is a prayer starting with the words "Ribbono Shel Olam [רבונו של עולם]" that is said. Towards the end of this prayer ...
6
votes
2answers
220 views

How to pronounce the name of the sefer “Bnei Yso(s)cher”

How does one pronounce the name of the sefer בני יששכר ? I've heard people pronounce both sins -- so it is Ysoscher. (There is also a common custom to pronounce the name יששכר with both sins the ...
6
votes
1answer
153 views

“Hayom yom X b'shabas” or “bashabas”?

A sidur I used this morning had the introductory line of the shir shel yom as "hayom yom sheni b'shabas". When I checked the two sidurim I trust the most for excatitude in these matters, one had ...
6
votes
1answer
119 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 ...
6
votes
0answers
509 views

מֶה, מָה, מַה - Meh, Mah, Ma - What's the difference?

What causes the difference in vowelization of the Hebrew word for "what"? In some contexts it is מֶה, in others - מָה, and in yet others - מַה. The hypothesis that an acquaintance and I converged on ...
5
votes
4answers
691 views

Did Rav Moshe Feinstein pronounce his last name “Feinstain” or “Feinsteen”? [closed]

And, as a follow-up, does having the answer to this question dictate how we should say it?
5
votes
2answers
552 views

How do we know how to pronounce God's name?

Surprisingly, I have only just realized that we pronounce the letters Yud-Hey-Vuv-Hey completely differently then how the spelling could possibly sound. I mean the pronunciation used during laning ...
5
votes
1answer
184 views

Why is it “Beiz”?

I understand the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew is that the letter 'ת' with no דגש is an 's' sound. So why do (many) Ashkenazim pronounce the name of the letter 'ב', which is normally spelled ...
5
votes
3answers
536 views

How do you pronounce Hashem's name when there is a prefix?

When you have a prefix, such as a lamed, before the name YKVK people pronounce it la | donai instead of la | a | donai. Why?