There is a different thread that said the Ashkenazi pronunciation does not have an “oh” sound for the kamatz katan. Is that correct? I suppose it would make sense given the difference in how they pronounce the kamatz and patach. That said, if that is true, how do they pronounce words like קָרְבַּן and קָדְשֶׁךָ? Would they be kaw-r-ban rather than korban and kaw-d-shecha?

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    Some people may be uneducated on the kamatz katan, but it is certainly pronounced by many Ashkenazim just as you say: “oh”.
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 17:01
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    @ezra that doesn't make it classically an ashkenazi phenomenon. Most people don't pronounce Hebrew like their great grandfathers did.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 18:27
  • @DoubleAA it’s not exclusively an ashkenazi issue tho
    – ezra
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 21:57
  • @ezra what isn't?
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 22:01
  • I have never heard a difference in quality and quantity between kamatz katan and gadol in classical Ashkenazi pronunciation, both are pronounced as "o" (IPA: ɔ) or "u" (IPA: u). Hence: korban and kodshecho (or kurban and kudshechu).
    – Argon
    Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 14:24

1 Answer 1


it's more like an "uh." Also, Yemenites have preserved the Kamatz pronunciation. Sephardim haven't.

*** EDIT ***

When I wrote "Sephardim" I meant moreso Israeli "Sephardim" that speak modern Hebrew. Modern Hebrew/pronunciation is great in that it combines everyone into a single unified tongue, but a lot gets lost.

That said, the Mizrachi Sephardim have variances with "Ah," and for a Kamatz (Is there a tradition to pronounce kamatz katan as "a"?):

  1. a kamatz katan as a fairly closed, back, round vowel, something like o; and

  2. a kamatz gadol as a fairly open, central, unrounded vowel, something like a (as in black).

  3. is interesting because Arabic shares that. Salaam has the "aah" sound at the end as well.

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    Rav Ovadia Yosef would like a word with you. As would Moshe Chabusha. Many Sepharadim who are not careful do not distinguish between Patach and Kamatz. But some are careful to distinguish, but the difference is much more subtle compared to Ashkenazim. Rav Ovadia Yosef writes that it is a mistake to think that in the Spharadi pronunciation a “Kamatz” and a “Patach” are identical- there is a subtle difference (Shu”t Yabiya Omer VI Orach Chayyim 11 (4))
    – Aaron
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 17:53
  • So it is true it is not pronounced “oh” in words like קָרְבַּן? It would be kuh-r-ban rather than korban? There seems to be some contradictory view points in the comments. Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 18:52
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    @Asher it's hard to know exactly what you mean by oh aw and uh. English and Hebrew phonemes need not map to each other one-to-one, and English speakers from different regions may pronounce things differently from each other.
    – Double AA
    Commented Sep 24, 2021 at 20:13
  • I suppose a more simple question would be do they use the normal sound they use for the Kamatz with these words rather than the “oh” sound of the kamatz katan? Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 5:43
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    @Asher The Ashkenazim (at least those ones I met) don't differentiate between the kamatz gadol and katan. Commented Sep 26, 2021 at 8:04

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