Im learning with a new te'amim teacher. He mentioned that one cant rely on the atnah / etnahta symbol to show syllabic emphasis. He also said that the symbol never shows up on the end of a word. Can anyone confirm or deny this?


Among the te'amim used in the majority of Tanakh, the only te'amim that can be written not on an accented syllable are pashṭa, telisha, segol, and zarqa (additionally, yetiv is pre-posed, although it only falls on words with initial stress), as noted in Wickes' list of te'amim, and in R' Breuer's ta'amei hamiqra, א-25 and א-38.

Among the te'amim used in Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, the only te'mim that can be written not on an accented syllable are tsinnor and deḥi (and the "secondary" sign in te'amim with two signs: 'ole veyored and revi'a mugrash), as noted in Wickes' list of te'amim.

The etnaḥta can fall on the last syllable of a word, as in Gen 1:1, 1:2, 1:3, and 1:4. It can even fall on the last letter of a word, as in Gen 24:57 (although this is in some ways a cheat, as נער pronounced as נערה is a qere perpetuum).

  • When does yetiv not fall on the stressed syllable? I thought yetiv only appears when the stress is on the first syllable (either it's one syllable, or it's two syllables and mile'eil). – Heshy Oct 25 '17 at 12:46
  • @Heshy Consider שְׁ֚תַּיִם Lev 23 17 as a Yetiv not on the accented letter. – Double AA Oct 25 '17 at 14:10
  • @DoubleAA the placement for שתים can still arguably be "on the first syllable", although I agree. – magicker72 Oct 25 '17 at 14:20
  • @magicker72 It could arguably be on the first syllable but only in the sense which you aren't trying to discuss. Any other ordinary note would be marked on the Tav there, but Yetiv is different. Find whatever word works for you to describe the difference, but there is a definitely a real difference. – Double AA Oct 25 '17 at 14:20
  • This is interesting info. Do any of the sources that you list discuss WHY the rules are this way? Also, of the two sources you listed, which is easier for a "beginner" to understand. I.e., I am an experienced Torah reader, but I don't fully understand the grammar behind the trope. – DanF Oct 25 '17 at 14:38

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