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I have heard that the reason that many siddurim print משיב הרוח ומוריד הגשם with a segol is because it is more common for גשם with an etnachta to be vocalised that way, rather than with a kamatz.

Is there any statistical analysis on the commonality of one vocalisation vs. the other in Tanach when accented with an etnachta? In other words, which form is more common?

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  • I don't understand the comparison. There are no trope notes in the Siddur (other than brachot for Haftarah). Please explain your question.
    – DanF
    Feb 29 '16 at 2:20
  • @DanF, as a general rule, an etnachta is roughly equivalent to a semi-colon, being a pausal marker, while a sof-passuk is a period. Since in the siddur (while it's not often written this way) we should render mashiv haruach as מ”ה”ו הגשם; מכלכל וכ׳ rather than גשם. מכלכל Feb 29 '16 at 2:31
  • The word is a segolete, and should (academically) properly be pronounced as a kamatz IF it is at the end of a phrase. The reverse issue surrounds Kiddush Levanah, where we invert the possuk "Tipol aleihem..." to place "ka'aven" at the start, where it should properly be pronounced "Ka'Even" Feb 29 '16 at 16:04
  • @IsaacKotlicky, I'm well aware of "Ka'aven," considering that some of the folks in my kehillah discuss it every month. FWIW, I sometimes pronounce the segol, rather than the kamatz. Feb 29 '16 at 16:17
  • @NoachmiFrankfurt, I think you're actually thinking of something that was said about 'morid ha-tal' - why editors who choose non-pausal 'geshem' nonetheless use pausal 'tal' with a kamatz.
    – paquda
    Feb 29 '16 at 19:47
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The word גשם occurs at an etnachta only in Prov 25:23, where it has a kamatz. It occurs at a sof pasuk four times (1 Kings 18:41, 18:44, Zech 14:17, Eccl 12:2), each time with a kamatz. All occurrences of גשם on lesser disjunctives are with a segol (Gen 7:12, etc.).

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