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What is the correct way to pronounce the א (aleph)? Are there variant traditions? Is there an academic/linguistic opinion on how it was most likely pronounced from the time of the giving of the Torah to the writing of the Talmud?

  • In all variants I've seen/heard/studied, the aleph is the only letter without ANY distinct pronunciation, unlike the gutteral swallow of the ayin, for instance. AFAIK, it's always pausal/unenunciated. – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 1 '15 at 4:19
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    @IsaacKotlicky No, it's a glottal stop – Double AA Jun 1 '15 at 4:20
  • @DoubleAA Yes. However, it often appears without a nekudah, e.g. בְּרֵאשִׁית, in which case it really is silent. Even when it has a vowel, the glottal stop is frequently skipped, e.g., וְיַאְדִיר – Ypnypn Jun 1 '15 at 4:23
  • @Ypnypn Then it's not a consonant and is essentially omitted from pronunciation just like every other matres lectionis. I'm referring to when it's a consonant. – Double AA Jun 1 '15 at 4:24
  • @DoubleAA Correct. I was just pointing out that א is very often used non-consonantly, and a good answer should elaborate on this. – Ypnypn Jun 1 '15 at 4:26

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