A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

n8an
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby n8an » 2020-03-20, 0:32

eskandar wrote:Much more than 1% of Israelis pray in Hebrew according to a liturgical pronunciation that differs from how they actually speak Hebrew. Plenty of people learn to read the Torah with these sounds. Iranian Jews (who pronounce ק like ق when reciting from the Torah) alone are 2-3% of the population, to say nothing of the much larger number of Jews from Arab countries.


Okay, my experience again (and I can't generalise beyond that for this case)...

...in Israeli synagogues, Israeli Hebrew seems to predominate. Again it's an age-related issue, so older religious people sometimes do stick to traditional pronunciations in Israeli synagogues (though I feel this is more common with Ashkenazic than Sfaradi?). Other than very old people, I've only ever heard Ashkenazic and Sfaradic promunciations of Hebrew in Australian synagogues (I've never been to a synagogue outside of Australia and Israel).

You still hear "gut shabbes" in the Jewish diaspora but also among Israelis of all backgrounds (though it's usually said as a joke by younger people, Ashkenazi, Mizrahi and others alike).

Well, here's the problem. You and are I talking about different things. You're talking about how things are pronounced today. I'm interested specifically in how things were pronounced and taught in the early 20th century, and why/how we got the pronunciations that are common today.


Ahhhh. I thought we were discussing whether some people today still use pharyngeal ח and ע. My apologies.

Again, not just old people if we include liturgical pronunciation...


For sure, I haven't heard every religious person reading. But in my experience Ashkenazi pronunciation is a lot more common; most Mizrahim stick to the Israeli Hebrew in synagogue.

I think France would be a good community to get experience with this. The Israeli community is all under the influence of Israeli modern Hebrew - Mizrahi and everyone else alike - so traditional pronunciations sadly will probably die out there first. France is more of a North African Jewish hotspot without so much modern Israeli influence.

And predictably so. Poll your friends and ask if any of them speak Circassian. Chances are many of them haven't even heard of it, so using your methodology, we can conclude that no one in Israel speaks it. Yet there are ~4000 speakers in Israel - they just happen to be limited to a couple of villages and unlikely to be represented among your circle of friends.


Of course, I'm not saying that nobody does it, but pronouncing ח and ע as pharyngeals is extremely rare among native Jewish Israeli Hebrew speakers under a certain age (I'd say 50-60) to the point that I and none of my friends have heard it. The Circassian analogy is a bit different given that they really do live in villages that isolate from the rest of Israeli society, but Israeli Jews don't have such a system.

The absolute hardest word in the Hebrew language for me to pronounce is אהלן . It's not even a pharyngeal 'h' that's the problem. It's just so hard for me to not say اهلا and to get it to come out like [a:lan] with no 'h' at all.


Agreed, it's weird. The same goes for "ahbal", though "ahabal" is a common pronunciation of that.

It's sad that traditional pronunciations are dying out, and annoying that Israelis laugh when I tell them how the "h" in Ahlan is pronounced in Arabic - some people genuinely think the following: it's SUPPOSED to be a 7 ح, but since Israelis can't pronounce that letter, it's omitted altogether.

On the same note, when I lived in Tel Aviv, I had this conversation with my friend and mentioned the name "Mehdi" (Iranian friend). He laughed and told me it was supposed to be pronounced with a 7; he couldn't accept that Arabic has all three sounds of h, 7 and kh.

Tbh, all this is cringeworthy as hell. Israelis are supposed to learn at least basic Standard Arabic and there's no reason they should not be able to pronounce these letters. It was one of the official languages of the state until a few years ago. I guess aversion towards all things related to Arabic is still not decreasing.

I know Israel is not unique in this case, but it really pisses me off when countries don't try hard enough to preserve anything at least in recorded form. I know that everybody eventually blends into the same way of speaking in a small area, and I understand that this is natural, but it would be great if we could have some more recorded evidence of how people used to speak.

I prefer not to get into personal details on here, but I've gone a few times now.


Fair enough. Congrats though - hope you had a nice time and I hope you're still keeping up with the Hebrew studies.

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eskandar
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-20, 18:38

n8an wrote:Ahhhh. I thought we were discussing whether some people today still use pharyngeal ח and ע. My apologies.

No worries, that's where the discussion started :)

I think France would be a good community to get experience with this. The Israeli community is all under the influence of Israeli modern Hebrew - Mizrahi and everyone else alike - so traditional pronunciations sadly will probably die out there first. France is more of a North African Jewish hotspot without so much modern Israeli influence.

Definitely, it would be really interesting to see to what degree the traditional pronunciations are alive in French synagogues. Though I worry they'll die out there as well, the same way a lot of American Jews traded the traditional Ashkenazi pronunciation for modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation over the past half-century.

I know Israel is not unique in this case, but it really pisses me off when countries don't try hard enough to preserve anything at least in recorded form.

I agree. I wish we could find this stuff on Youtube!

Fair enough. Congrats though - hope you had a nice time and I hope you're still keeping up with the Hebrew studies.

Thanks! I still try to study Hebrew every day. It's tough because all of the pedagogical materials I've tried have had problems, so at this point I'm mostly vocabulary/sentence-mining from watching Israeli media.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby Drink » 2020-03-27, 16:10

n8an wrote:
Drink wrote:It's definitely not only those who ate native Arabic speakers who maintain ח and ע. It's become the Mizrahi sociolect, though dying off in the younger generation now. Firstly, many second-generation Mizrahim in Israel maintain ח and ע. And secondly, I've even found that even second-generation Mizrahim of Persian origin (for example) do this, and Persian does not have ח and ע.


Okay, I'm dying to know where these second-generation people** are who genuinely do it, and not the Eyal Golan-esque types who do it in songs and when they try to sound more Temani for a specific purpose but in reality speak with the general Israeli ח and ע.

**to clarify, I am speaking about second-generation people who are under the age of 50 (or even 60, tbh).

Since when did "second generation" mean "younger generation"? The only reason I mentioned second-generation is because someone claimed it was only found among native Arabic speakers. But this is NOT the case. There are plenty of second-generation Israelis whose ONLY native language is Hebrew who pronounce ח and ע, and yes, most of them happen to be older.

But not necessarily as old as some people here are claiming. I've heard it among people in their 40s and 50s.

I'm not saying they don't exist, especially since you live in Israel and I don't live there anymore, so you know better than I do. Genuinely though, I really have not encountered it and definitely not from Parsim.

I don't actually live in Israel, just was spending a lot of time there. Anyway, I went for a shabbat meal to a haredi Persian family, and the father, who did not speak very much Persian (since he's second-generation), and was in his 40s used ח and ע.

My ex grew up in Rosh Haayin, and we had a lot of friends who lived there too. Since it's stereotyped as a very Temani town, I would have expected to hear it there...but I didn't from anybody under 50. You definitely can hear it from parents.

My friends in Rosh Haayin (and the rest of the country actually) mock ars-type people from Beer Sheva who speak that way, I guess, but I have only been to Beersheva twice and I don't know if it's a real stereotype or not.

Thought this song might be relevant haha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lihsOnfCaWg (I'm referring to the very first line: אני מראש העין, מדבר בח׳ וע׳)

How common would you say it is? I couldn't guess more than 1% of native Hebrew-speaking people under 50 use pharyngeal ח and ע because - again - I've never come across it, ever, so I'd struggle to comprehend anything above that.

I have no idea. It's VERY common among the older people, and rare among the younger people.
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n8an
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby n8an » 2020-03-28, 3:08

Drink wrote:Since when did "second generation" mean "younger generation"? The only reason I mentioned second-generation is because someone claimed it was only found among native Arabic speakers. But this is NOT the case. There are plenty of second-generation Israelis whose ONLY native language is Hebrew who pronounce ח and ע, and yes, most of them happen to be older.


Well, second generation is not a synonym of younger generation, but in the context of Israel it's very common for second and third generation Israelis to be younger.

I claimed that it was mostly found (but not exclusively) among Arabic speakers, and I maintain that.

But not necessarily as old as some people here are claiming. I've heard it among people in their 40s and 50s.


Hmmm, I've absolutely never heard it from anyone who's currently in their 40s. 50s I'd believe that it does happen, but again - haven't heard it ever.

I don't actually live in Israel, just was spending a lot of time there. Anyway, I went for a shabbat meal to a haredi Persian family, and the father, who did not speak very much Persian (since he's second-generation), and was in his 40s used ח and ע.


Well, that's very unusual, and I'd be interested to know how it happened. Did you ask him?

hought this song might be relevant haha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lihsOnfCaWg (I'm referring to the very first line: אני מראש העין, מדבר בח׳ וע׳)


Omg I love this song! I forgot about it :D thanks for reminding me. This is actually a good example. Eyal Golan puts it on in songs, but when he speaks normally, his ח and ע are normal Israeli. I wonder if this guy is the same!

Rosh Haayin is an interesting place, but everyone there seems to have such a love/hate relationship with it. Actually, most of the localities in that area are like that I think.

I have no idea. It's VERY common among the older people, and rare among the younger people.


I personally haven't found it to be very common among people under 70, but above that it's a bit more common. It always feels like a "savta" thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek7vIGgSfcA

This is the kind of Yemenite Jewish person I always imagine when I think of pharyngeal ח and ע. You can hear that her grandson doesn't use pharyngeals at all, even though hers are about as strong as they come, and tbh I find this type of person extremely difficult to understand. It's such a marker of ancient Yemenite tradition in Israel, even though they aren't the only ones who do (or did) it, that it has become a total association in my mind.

I'd wager that it's much less than 0.5% amongst people under 40 and will die out fully within one (or max two) generations.


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