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A nagging grammar/pronunciation/BIBLE issue/question:

This concerns a final vowel in a word such ruach/רוּחַ (spirit). WHY am I taught to say ruach not rucha? It seems to me with the "rule" that final vowels such as these being pronounced before the consonant instead of after makes dipthongs in Biblical Hebrew, I have never yet seen a rational explanation given for this rule. I wonder if there are any ancient transliterations of the Hebrew Bible into other languages that may shed some light on this.

closed as off-topic by Double AA Jan 4 '16 at 16:11

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  • 1
    Try saying it without the vowel at all. Like the word יְהוֹשֻׁע Yehoshu'. It's difficult. The "patach" there is not a full vowel, but just a half-vowel to help in saying the guttural final letter (ה or ח or ע). – Double AA Jan 4 '16 at 16:12
  • It is a diphthong. – Seth J Jan 4 '16 at 16:22
  • @DoubleAA can you cite a source that says that? Not that I dont believe you, ive just never heard that before – Aaron Jan 5 '16 at 3:34
  • כִּי-אָז אֶהְפֹּךְ אֶל-עַמִּים, שָׂפָה בְרוּרָה, לִקְרֹא כֻלָּם בְּשֵׁם יְהוָה, לְעָבְדוֹ שְׁכֶם אֶחָד. צְפַנְיָה – jahhouse Jan 7 '16 at 0:30
  • I am not saying I am right or wrong one way or the other, just something I would like to understand because of Zephaniah, and the Masoretic text, among other things. For the example of יְהוֹשֻׁעַ This could be said either way since the Ayin is actually pronounced by Mizrahi jews as the Arabic ع. This sound uses the epiglottis/pharyngeal region of the throat, like a vocalized swallowing. Now this throat constriction modifies the vowel sound, this order can be two ways 1. vowel-> constriction, or 2. constriction->vowel. – jahhouse Jan 7 '16 at 0:50

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