In Tanakh, according to our mesorah from the Tiberian Masorites, a וְ prefix before a Shva or a bilabial letter is pronounced as וּ [wu].

However, the Babylonian Masorites had these cases as וִ [wi], with a Khiriq, following the same rule as other prefixes before a Shva.

The Talmud Bavli was, obviously, written in Bavel. Are there any grounds to believe that this ו was originally vocalized in the Gemara with a Khiriq?

If so, does this also applies to other aspects of Babylonian pronunciation of Tanakh (e.g. Segol and Patach merged, some words with a silent initial Shva, etc.)?


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