How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

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Elishamod
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How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Elishamod » 2011-07-21, 6:30

I would like to know how people who learn Hebrew as a foreign language pronounce the ע.

In Israel most of the native speakers pronounce it like א (Alef) but some (especially immigrants from Arabic-speaking countries) pronounce it 'correctly', like the arabic Ayin.

I usually pronounce it like א, it's more natural for me.

So how do you pronounce it? Please also write what is your native language.
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby لنا » 2011-07-21, 18:13

I usually pronounce it like ع in Arabic (my native language is Arabic), but it turns to א when talking with natives :D

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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Chekhov » 2011-07-21, 19:29

I pronounce it like ع but only because I've studied Arabic. I think the other pronunciation is acceptable too.
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby モモンガ » 2011-07-23, 12:32

According to my textbook they are both glottal stop. hm
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Elishamod » 2011-07-23, 13:19

モモンガ wrote:According to my textbook they are both glottal stop. hm

That doesn't mean they are pronounced in the same way. "H" is also glottal, but is still pronounced differently.
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby kamanek » 2011-07-24, 2:42

שלום!!
אני מארגנטינה ואני למדתי עברית במשך כמעט 8 שנים.
ה"ע" שלי זה כמו ה"א".
ראית את זה? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igNGWEhyYEI
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby 0stsee » 2011-08-18, 0:41

When learning I'm used to pronounce ע as an ng sound just like in singer so that it's easier for me to remember when I write. :D

But when I speak I usually end up pronouncing it like א or even like Arabic ع. There's only three people I speak Hebrew with "live". One is a Jew who lived in Russia before he moved to Israel as a boy. He has been my best human teacher so far :P . One is a Christian and another a Muslim. Both of them speak Arabic which is why I learned the Arabic ع pronunciation for some words with ע.
I know other Israelis but I rarely speak Hebrew with them.
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby shprakh » 2011-08-19, 9:08

Oh, no...Not this sound in Hebrew too :x

*Shadad has left the room*

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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Elishamod » 2011-08-19, 9:47

Shadad wrote:Oh, no...Not this sound in Hebrew too :x

*Shadad has left the room*

Don't worry, it is usually not pronounced in Modern Hebrew, and you would certainly be understood when you would not pronounce it.
Actually, you will probably be more understood by natives if you don't pronounce it.
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby melachmelach » 2011-08-30, 22:51

kamanek wrote:שלום!!
אני מארגנטינה ואני למדתי עברית במשך כמעט 8 שנים.
ה"ע" שלי זה כמו ה"א".
ראית את זה? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igNGWEhyYEI
אני שונא את הקול של הע כאן חחחח
ד"ש :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

As a native speaker, I got the idea that his idea of ע is totally wrong.
phonetically, am I right? Cause even in Arabic it's not like that.

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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby KonoMichi » 2011-09-02, 4:46

As a native speaker, I ALWAYS prononuce it as a lonly strong "A".
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Anima Benedicta » 2011-09-04, 5:26

I'm an Arabic native speaker (though my English is better at this point, but anyway...) and I pretty much pronounce it like the Arabic ع 'ayn. (Similarly, I pronounce other emphatic/pharyngeal/etc. consonants like their Arabic counterparts, so ח like the Arabic ح ḥaa’, ק like the Arabic ق qaaf, etc.)

Since I've never actually conversed with Israelis in Hebrew, and since my main exposure to Hebrew has been through reading, I was wondering: would Israelis understand me when I pronounce the letters the way I illustrated above? I mean, I'm sure they'll think that I have a thick Arabic accent, but would they understand me?
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Chekhov » 2011-09-04, 15:20

I think they would. Mizrahi Jews also speak Hebrew this way and they're intelligible enough (sometimes their accent is stigmatized for sounding too Arab, but also admired for its purity).
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby qwert » 2011-09-05, 21:58

+1, Chekhov.

Here is an example of an Israeli Mizrachi Jew who speaks with a heavy accent. It does sound like an Arab accent - and it makes sense - because they came from Arab speaking countries. You can hear his ע at about 0:32. His ח is also very noticeable.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2c57dkCcnNk

Now, off the record, the heavier one's Mizrachi accent is, the more likely he is to be a low-class person. It's simply down to cultural differences; Ashkenaziד came from All parts of Europe and the Soviet Union, whereas the Mizrachim originate from Arab Countries in Asia and Northern-Africa.

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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Babelfish » 2011-09-10, 14:15

ח and ע are often enough pronounced like their Arabic counterparts. ק, however, I've never heard pronounced like ق; I think it should still be intelligible, though maybe weird (I'm not sure how many Israelis would even recognize this as an Arabic sound if they don't know it a bit).

<edit>: same for ט, and any other such letter I might have forgotten.

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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby tapuz » 2011-09-11, 19:49

Babelfish wrote:<edit>: same for ט, and any other such letter I might have forgotten.

There's a great thread on the subject in WR forums:
http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2114661
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Poiboy » 2011-09-28, 14:15

The pronunciation of ע (and ח) depends on your accent, it's mostly people from middle-eastern origin that pronounce it the Arabic way. Generally speaking, younger people who were born here tend to have much less of an accent, with even the children of middle-eastern Israelis pronouncing it like an א.
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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Www » 2016-06-22, 16:51

When speaking, like א. When praying and reading the Torah, like ع.

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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Www » 2016-06-22, 16:57

Poiboy wrote:The pronunciation of ע (and ח) depends on your accent, it's mostly people from middle-eastern origin that pronounce it the Arabic way. Generally speaking, younger people who were born here tend to have much less of an accent, with even the children of middle-eastern Israelis pronouncing it like an א.


According to the Gemara and Halakha, ע =/= א. According every Tikkun and the Sefer Yetzirah, ח =/= כ. The only way to make sense of a certain Halakha and a certain Rashi on Megilah 24b, is by saying that ה ~ ח =/= כ.

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Re: How do you pronounce the letter ע (Ayin)?

Postby Eastbury » 2016-11-30, 12:18

My native language is Arabic. However, after doing some research on the subject, I believe that the origin of Arabic language and the scriptural Hebrew language is very similar and used initially the same phonics for the letters subject of this discussion. However, these letters are very hard to pronounce for other nations from a non Semitic origin, or for those individuals or groups who were raised in Western countries, and so the letters were replaced by their nearest phonic substitutes.
1-So, letter (ע) for example is the strict equivalent of the Arabic letter ( ع). This phonic does not exist in any other language I know of (and I speak a few). So, the nearest possible substitute would be the vowel [a] to be used as a consonant.
2-A second example is the letter ( ק ) which is the strict equivalent of the Arabic letter ( ق), but because there is no other group of languages that use this phonic, it was replaced by the consonant (כ-ך ) [k].
3- A third example is the letter ( ח ) which is the equivalent of [ خ]. Fortunately, this letter exists in other languages as well such as Spanish, German, UK and Irish Gaelic, etc. If it happens that you know the singer Julio Iglesias, this phonic exists in the first letter of his first name (julio), pronounced by Spanish people (Europeans don't know how to pronounce his name at all).
Arabic as it's spoken today is just a continuation of a more ancient root such as Aramaic, Amharic, classic Hebrew, etc. These languages were truly one language with different dialects but are perceived nowadays to be different in essence because of political and religious reasons. Thus if your aim is to learn classic Hebrew, then my advice is to copy the sounds of Arabic speaking Israeli. However, if your aim is to learn modern Hebrew to get by in Israel, then it's more practical to copy the way the majority in your circle speak.
I hope this helps.


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