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Recently, I was talking to someone about how to properly pronounce a yod that follows a patach when it is not at the end of a word. For example, we know that words like חַי are pronounced as chai with the yod making an ie sound like “pie” but what about words like לְהַחַיוֹת , חַיֵינוּ, or וְצָהֳרָיִם? The person I spoke with insisted the the yod would create a sound exactly the same as ַי . Conversely, if we take the word חַיֵינוּ I would pronounce it cha-yeh-nu rather than chai-yeh-nu. For לְהַחַיוֹת I would pronounce it l’ha-cha-yot rather than l’ha-chai-yot. That said, one example he offered was דַיֵנּ. To provide some context, I taught myself Hebrew as an adult which makes me less confident when more experienced people talk to me about the finer details of pronunciation. It was my impression, that while both approaches sound similar in practice, there is a slight difference in that the “ie” sound only occurs when a yod appears next to a patch at the end of a word.

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  • Is the question "what is the pronunciation of that word? (If yes, please edit it in).
    – Dani
    Sep 15 at 2:23
  • That’s my perspective on דַיֵנּ too. Sep 15 at 2:33
  • I'm not sure I'm getting the question: I pronounce "pie" (the dish) the same as I pronounce "pi" (the Greek letter, or mathematical constant): as 'pa' with a 'y' sound on the end. In the examples you bring, even if that 'y' sound existed at the end of a syllable, I wouldn't pause enough for it to get noticed, and it would get swallowed into the next syllable starting with a Yud, in the flow of my pronunciation (i.e. I'd pronounce chai-yeh-nu effectively as cha-yeh-nu).
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 15 at 5:12
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    @IsraelReader Why are you ignoring the dagesh chazak in the yod of dayenu?
    – Joel K
    Sep 15 at 5:34
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    @IsraelReader do you have a source for that? I thought a dagesh chazak is always a sign of gemination.
    – Joel K
    Sep 15 at 10:58
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Generally, a syllable is closed by a consonant with a sheva na, a consonant at the end of a word, or a consonant with a dagesh chazak. Otherwise, it is an open syllable and ends in a vowel. Therefore, in your cases (in an Israeli pronunciation):

  1. וְצָהֳרָיִם = vetso-hora-yim
  2. לְהַחֲיוֹת = leha-chayot
  3. חַיֵּינוּ = chay-ye-nu
  4. דַּיֵּינוּ = day-ye-nu

For more information on syllable structure, see "Syllable structure: Biblical Hebrew."

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  • chayot should be cha-yot, no? It's.ambiguous otherwise. Or perhaps I don't understand your hyphen notation.
    – magicker72
    Sep 15 at 3:47
  • @magic it's like "hora"
    – Double AA
    Sep 15 at 3:50
  • @DoubleAA I don't understand what you mean.
    – magicker72
    Sep 15 at 11:13
  • Thank you for the answer! I will read through the article you included. So in your latter examples, the dagesh chazak (which I forgot in דַּיֵּינוּ) closes the syllable and necessitates the “pie” sound? Is so, this is why a word like לְחַיִּים would be l’chai-im rather than l’cha-yim? Sep 15 at 11:49
  • @AsherKlein I think l’chai-yim. The dagesh indicates a ‘doubling’ of the yod’s sound
    – Joel K
    Sep 15 at 12:14

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