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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 is why the pronunciation difference and if there is a difference in the meaning of the word due to the difference.

  • I don't hear a difference in the recordings nor know of a reason why there would be one. – Double AA Apr 15 '15 at 3:18
  • @DoubleAA - I haven't listened to them, but my guess is that it might have something to do with the teamim: perhaps by trying to stress both the first syllable and the third syllable of אשרי in Tehillim 2:12, the one reading has inadvertently given it a sheva na? – Shimon bM Apr 15 '15 at 3:48
  • I concur with @DoubleAA's perception. Both instances sound like "osh-ray" (two syllables, no schwa between) to me. Welcome to Mi Yodeya! I hope you'll look around and find other content of interest, perhaps starting with some of our our 120 pronunciation questions. I suggest that you edit your profile and give yourself a name. See you around! – Isaac Moses Apr 15 '15 at 14:06
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I do not hear a difference in recordings. However, note that in the case of Psalms 1, אַ֥שְֽׁרֵי has a shewa gaʿya and is therefore naʿ.‪ In fact, massorah holds that it should be pronounced as a full vowel.

"The Karaite transcriptions into Arabic indicate that shewa gaʿya was pronounced as a long vowel, since they represent it with a mater lectionis, e.g., باناحلا בְֽאנַאחְלָ֔א (בְּֽנַחֲלָ֔ה bə́-naḥălå̄́ ‘as an inheritance’ Josh. 13.6, BL Or. 2547), كاموخام כְֽאמוֹכֶ֗אם (כְּֽמוֹכֶ֗ם kə́mōḵέm ‘as you’ Job 12.3, BL Or. 2552), عاطيشوثاو עְַֽאטִישׁוֹתָאו (עְַֽטִישֹׁתָיו ʿăṭīšōṯå̄́w ‘his sneezings’ Job 41.10, BL Or. 2552)." (Gaʿya, G. Khan, Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics).

In Psalms 2 this is not the case: אַ֝שְׁרֵ֗י.

See also https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0013_0_13385.html

  • The Tunisian minhag (or at least for Jerba island) is to pronounce the cheva gaya "a". Like in the first Psalm Acharei or in parashat Shelah' Lekha "Salah' na" and also in Zechariah ( haftarat behaalotekha) "Chama na" – allced Jan 12 '17 at 8:33
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  • Simanim writes the gaya but labels it as a sheva nach – Heshy Jan 13 '17 at 21:28
  • @Heshy The do not necessarily follow Masoretic rules. – Argon Jan 14 '17 at 23:43

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