A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

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A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby squee100 » 2020-03-14, 23:45

https://ketab3.files.wordpress.com/2014 ... pes-qu.pdf, pp. 556–557

1. Are there any Israelis who would rather use one of these pronunciations in their day-to-day conversation than the colloquial standard? If so, why don't they?

2. As I prefer to study liturgical Hebrew, am I allowed to use any of these pronunciations?

3. Is there active effort to keep these pronunciations alive for liturgical Hebrew? If not, why not?

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-15, 0:26

I'm not Israeli, so take my outsider's perspective for whatever it's worth:

1. In my experience, yes some of these pronunciations are used in everyday conversation, but only by very specific populations, for example:
  • Older (60+ years old) Jews from the Arab world who are first generation Hebrew speakers sometimes maintain some of the pronunciation of their liturgical tradition.
  • Some Hebrew-speaking Palestinians pronounce Hebrew similarly to the above group, in particular with ayin and het.
  • Some ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews who live in particularly cloistered Yiddish-speaking communities use some of the Ashkenazi pronunciations when speaking Hebrew. As far as I've noticed, this isn't always consistent and involves a good deal of code-switching between standard Israeli pronunciation and Yiddish-inflected Ashkenazi pronunciation.
One thing all three groups generally have in common is bilingualism, with either Arabic or Yiddish as a mother tongue. I think there are exceptionally few Israelis today who are natively monolingual in Hebrew (that is, excluding those who are natively bilingual in Hebrew and Arabic/Yiddish) but don't speak with the standard Israeli pronunciation.

2. You're allowed to use whatever pronunciation you like. Who's going to stop you? But if you don't apparently belong to one of the communities whose pronunciation you're trying to use when speaking Hebrew (eg. if you're speaking with an Ashkenazi pronunciation but aren't dressed like an Orthodox person, or are speaking with a Yemenite pronunciation but don't appear to be Mizrahi) people will probably think it's funny, and might think you're being weird or mocking them. (Sort of comparable to a white person in the US speaking AAVE).

3. I don't know. It does seem like some synagogues maintain these pronunciations for liturgical Hebrew even when their congregants generally speak standard Israeli Hebrew in daily life.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby squee100 » 2020-03-15, 0:42

eskandar wrote:I'm not Israeli, so take my outsider's perspective for whatever it's worth:

1. In my experience, yes some of these pronunciations are used in everyday conversation, but only by very specific populations, for example:
  • Older (60+ years old) Jews from the Arab world who are first generation Hebrew speakers sometimes maintain some of the pronunciation of their liturgical tradition.
  • Some Hebrew-speaking Palestinians pronounce Hebrew similarly to the above group, in particular with ayin and het.
  • Some ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews who live in particularly cloistered Yiddish-speaking communities use some of the Ashkenazi pronunciations when speaking Hebrew. As far as I've noticed, this isn't always consistent and involves a good deal of code-switching between standard Israeli pronunciation and Yiddish-inflected Ashkenazi pronunciation.
One thing all three groups generally have in common is bilingualism, with either Arabic or Yiddish as a mother tongue. I think there are exceptionally few Israelis today who are natively monolingual in Hebrew (that is, excluding those who are natively bilingual in Hebrew and Arabic/Yiddish) but don't speak with the standard Israeli pronunciation.

I mean the entire liturgical tradition, not just a few consonants and/or vowels.

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-15, 0:49

squee100 wrote:I mean the entire liturgical tradition, not just a few consonants and/or vowels.

In that case no, no one speaks Hebrew like that as far as I'm aware.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby squee100 » 2020-03-15, 0:58

eskandar wrote:In that case no, no one speaks Hebrew like that as far as I'm aware.

Do you think there are any Israelis who would like to speak like that? If so, why don't they?

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-15, 1:12

squee100 wrote:Do you think there are any Israelis who would like to speak like that? If so, why don't they?

I really couldn't say. I doubt there are any. If there are, they don't talk like because it would sound absurd to most, if not all, of their interlocutors.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby squee100 » 2020-03-15, 1:57

I'm not a native speaker and, like I said, more interested in liturgical Hebrew, but glido or jălidho for גלידה "ice cream" doesn't sound absurd to me at all, nor does isoin or ʿithön for עתון "newspaper."

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby Drink » 2020-03-17, 8:00

squee100 wrote:I'm not a native speaker and, like I said, more interested in liturgical Hebrew, but glido or jălidho for גלידה "ice cream" doesn't sound absurd to me at all, nor does isoin or ʿithön for עתון "newspaper."

It doesn't sound absurd to you because you're not a speaker of Modern Hebrew and have very little exposure to Israelis. The absurdity is not in-and-of-itself. It's absurd in context.

PS: עתון has a dagesh in the ת.

As for your three questions:

1. Only ע and ח are common in certain segments of the population. If you go to Israel, you will hear them. I've seen written that there are also a some people who pronounce ק as [q] and even fewer that pronounce צ as emphatic [s], but I've never heard these two among ordinary people. Other aspects of traditional pronunciations are virtually-nonexistent.

2. It doesn't make sense to ask "am I allowed to?" if there is no one allowing or not allowing you to do anything?

3. Yes. Liturgical pronunciations are still common in liturgy and people definitely study how to improve their pronunciations. Not everyone, of course. Also, there are always hobbyists who just enjoy pronouncing things that way.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-17, 17:47

Drink wrote:1. Only ע and ח are common in certain segments of the population. If you go to Israel, you will hear them. I've seen written that there are also a some people who pronounce ק as [q] and even fewer that pronounce צ as emphatic [s], but I've never heard these two among ordinary people. Other aspects of traditional pronunciations are virtually-nonexistent.

That's been my observation as well. I've always wondered why it is that specifically ע and ח have been preserved and not the other pharyngeal pronunciations. I think I did notice ק as [q] occasionally in the speech of the Moroccan father in the film שחור.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby squee100 » 2020-03-18, 16:39

So why do people who say bereishis boro not say glido and zloiles (זללת "junk food"), and people who say băreshith boro not say jălidho and zălölath? I assume it only sounds absurd because no one does it.

I will admit that I think they should.

My original question was not if any Israelis do so, but if there are any who would prefer to if it didn't sound absurd.

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby n8an » 2020-03-19, 3:16

There is a tendency of some people to believe that ancient Hebrew pronunciation = modern Arabic pronunciation 100%. That particular group of people sometimes Arabises their Hebrew speech in order to overcompensate for this. Ironically, they usually Arabise according to whichever dialect of Arabic they're vaguely familiar with, resulting in different pronunciations.

Btw, that group of people is like 0.0001% of the population - I've met two in my whole life, and neither of them were native Hebrew speakers.

eskandar wrote:That's been my observation as well. I've always wondered why it is that specifically ע and ח have been preserved and not the other pharyngeal pronunciations. I think I did notice ק as [q] occasionally in the speech of the Moroccan father in the film שחור.


Pronunciation of kuf as quf is extremely uncommon. I don't think I've ever heard it actually.

There is a tendency in Hebrew education to "know" that ח and ע are "traditionally" pronounced pharyngeally, even though nobody does it as a native speaker. I think they maybe tell us as kids and then ignore it? Lol.

I partly wonder if this is due to the fact that we know they are pronounced differently at the end of a word, eg: שמח, שומע etc are pronounced "same'Akh" and "shome'A".

I honestly think the maintenance of ע and ח as pharyngeals as opposed to ק probably has something to do with the fact that almost all people who pronounce ח and ע as pharyngeals are native Arabic speakers who apply their accent from Arabic to Hebrew; and in most Arabic dialects, ق is not pronounced as q.

Pronunciation of "ق" in Arabic dialects:

Egyptian/Lebanese/Syrian/most Jordanian/most Palestinian: 2 (glottal stop)
Other Jordanian/other Palestinian/Bedouin: g
Falla7i Palestinian: K
Iraqi: sometimes g, sometimes k, sometimes q - all in the same dialect (Baghdadi, for example, has all 3 sounds)
Gulf: sometimes g, sometimes dj (in the same dialect)
Moroccan: sometimes q, sometimes g (depending on dialect)
Algerian/Tunisian/Libyan: mostly g
Sudanese: g (I think)
Yemen: g

That being said, there are variations in some countries.

So "q" is quite a rare pronunciation in Arabic, though some of the countries where Jews migrated to Israel from do use it.

Further complicating my theory (and maybe disproving it, haha), Jewish dialects in all of the above regions were different to Muslim (and Christian) dialects, so "q" actually was used by many Iraqi Jewish dialects. I can't say for sure, but it was probably used in Jewish Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian dialects, since they tend to be pre-Hilalian dialects (I think). I cannot speak with certainty for Jewish Yemeni Arabic, but I do believe they use "g".

However, many Jews (not all!) in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia had switched to speaking primarily French by the time they migrated to Israel. I know many Moroccan Jewish grandparents who can only speak French and Hebrew.

Fun fact: the much-maligned "r" sound of modern Hebrew is often criticised for being Yiddish in origin, but Iraqi Jews used it in Baghdad Jewish Arabic, as do non-Jews in Mosul :D

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-19, 3:37

n8an wrote:I honestly think the maintenance of ע and ח as pharyngeals as opposed to ק probably has something to do with the fact that almost all people who pronounce ח and ע as pharyngeals are native Arabic speakers who apply their accent from Arabic to Hebrew; and in most Arabic dialects, ق is not pronounced as q.

I don't think this is the reason. As you mentioned, pronunciation of ق is a lot more varied than your list makes it seem. There's the additional complication that most Arabic speakers (from any country) pronounce the ق as [q] when reading/speaking fuS7a, so they do have the sound in their phonemic inventory. Furthermore, if they were influenced by the pronunciation of their native dialects, we'd expect to find the Hebrew letter ק pronounced variously as a glottal stop, [g], etc., but that doesn't seem to have been the case. Also, it wouldn't explain why no one pronounced the ט pharyngeally despite the presence of ط in Arabic which is realized pharyngeally regardless of dialect.

Takhles, at most the fact that Arabic-speakers had ح and ع in their phonemic inventory partly explains why they kept these sounds in Hebrew, but there's a lot more to the story that I don't think that explains.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby n8an » 2020-03-19, 3:57

eskandar wrote:I don't think this is the reason. As you mentioned, pronunciation of ق is a lot more varied than your list makes it seem.


It's definitely not the only reason, but I think it might be one of the main ones. It's totally marked as being an older person in Israel (or an "ars" from decades ago) if you use it; it's how people lovingly imitate an old Temani grandmother.

But "q" really isn't very common in Arabic today; the list that I put up is generous at best, because from what I understand, in some of the pre-Hilalian dialects q is merging with g. It's also not the most common pronunciation in Iraq (I think it is in Maslawi, but in Baghdadi "g" is definitely more common). So it's really only some Moroccan dialects that use it very consistently, and it's marked as such by speakers of other dialects (my Emirati friend jokingly mocks the Moroccan dialect with the "q q q" sound as though said by a chicken).

The Jewish Iraqi and North African dialects of Arabic can't really be counted in any meaningful way imho.

There's the additional complication that most Arabic speakers (from any country) pronounce the ق as [q] when reading/speaking fuS7a, so they do have the sound in their phonemic inventory.


For sure they can do it, but speaking fus7a (or Classical Arabic) is very very rare for any reason other than reading Quran. Even at school, fus7a is only read. Class discussions seem to basically never be in fus7a. It's a sound they can produce, but don't do so 99.99% of their lives.

Furthermore, if they were influenced by the pronunciation of their native dialects, we'd expect to find the Hebrew letter ק pronounced variously as a glottal stop, [g], etc., but that doesn't seem to have been the case. Also, it wouldn't explain why no one pronounced the ט pharyngeally despite the presence of ط in Arabic which is realized pharyngeally regardless of dialect.


Would it really though? Just because some traits transfer, does it necessarily extend to all traits? I also feel like a glottalised pronunciation of ق makes sense when developed over time independently of written language, but I somehow feel like Hebrew teachers teaching it as a second language would not TEACH "ק" to have a glottal pronunciation.

Takhles, at most the fact that Arabic-speakers had ح and ع in their phonemic inventory partly explains why they kept these sounds in Hebrew, but there's a lot more to the story that I don't think that explains.


Of course. Just a theory; but I really do think it carries some weight.

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby Drink » 2020-03-19, 5:52

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.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby n8an » 2020-03-19, 6:08

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).

In honesty, when I was last in Israel and I met up with my Palestinian friend called "A7med", all my Israeli friends were dying of laughter that I pronounced it with a pharyngeal ח instead of "Akhmed" as they all do.

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.

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.

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.

EDIT: I am going to be a big annoying nerd, since I have all this free time in quarantine, and ask my Israeli (Mizrahi) friends to record themselves saying some words in Hebrew with ח and ע to see how prevalent the pharyngeals are. I'll be back in a day (or maybe a few) when I get responses.

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby Golv » 2020-03-19, 18:16

I grew up in a predominantly Mizrahi town (mainly Moroccan, but all groups were represented).

I had Mizrahi teachers, Mizrahi neighbours and Mizrahi friends, and beside perhaps a marginal number of incredibly old people, I have never met a person who pronounced ח or ע.

On the durability of of ח and ע as opposed to other phonemes - As far as I know these sounds still characterized
the Hebrew of Sephardic Jews, whose pronunciation of Hebrew was considered prestigious.

Whether true, at least for a while ח and ע were selectively endorsed by radio while much of the Semitic phoneme inventory was ignored.

Up to the 60's it was possible to hear ח and ע on radio, and much later still by some radio presenters who took pride in their ability to reproduce Sephardic pronunciation (Dan Caner is a famous example).

By the time Hebrew television came to be, ח and ע were dropped as well.

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-19, 18:39

n8an wrote:
There's the additional complication that most Arabic speakers (from any country) pronounce the ق as [q] when reading/speaking fuS7a, so they do have the sound in their phonemic inventory.


For sure they can do it, but speaking fus7a (or Classical Arabic) is very very rare for any reason other than reading Quran. Even at school, fus7a is only read. Class discussions seem to basically never be in fus7a. It's a sound they can produce, but don't do so 99.99% of their lives.

But all of that was true of Hebrew as well for the Arabic-speaking Jews we're discussing here, at least until after 1948. The point is that for the first generation of Hebrew learners from Arabic-speaking backgrounds, both Hebrew and standard Arabic were at one point learned second languages you didn't speak in everyday life. They pronounced ق as [q] when reading Arabic, and may have pronounced ק as [q] when praying in Hebrew, so I think it's not so simple as to say that "they didn't have [q] in their spoken dialect so they didn't use it when speaking Hebrew." Again, to me it seems there's more to the story.

Furthermore, if they were influenced by the pronunciation of their native dialects, we'd expect to find the Hebrew letter ק pronounced variously as a glottal stop, [g], etc., but that doesn't seem to have been the case. Also, it wouldn't explain why no one pronounced the ט pharyngeally despite the presence of ط in Arabic which is realized pharyngeally regardless of dialect.


Would it really though? Just because some traits transfer, does it necessarily extend to all traits?
The question then becomes, why continue pronouncing some letters according to your liturgical tradition (ע and ח) in a way that sets your speech apart from that of Hebrew-speaking Ashkenazim, but change the way you pronounce other letters (eg. ק and ט)? Especially considering that ط did not have the variations in pronunciation that ق had for Arabic-speakers.

n8an wrote:I am going to be a big annoying nerd, since I have all this free time in quarantine, and ask my Israeli (Mizrahi) friends to record themselves saying some words in Hebrew with ח and ע to see how prevalent the pharyngeals are. I'll be back in a day (or maybe a few) when I get responses.

Cool! Though I wouldn't be surprised if your friends reply with bog-standard Israeli Hebrew pronunciations, depending on the context in which you ask them. As far as I understand, native Hebrew speakers tend to use the pharyngeals in situations where they want to emphasize their Mizrahi identity. An example (from Words and Stones: The Politics of Language and Identity in Israel):
Image
So they might not necessarily use the pharyngeals with you, but that wouldn't necessarily mean they never use them at all. Will be curious to see what kind of responses you get!

Golv wrote:beside perhaps a marginal number of incredibly old people, I have never met a person who pronounced ח or ע.

I've heard these pronunciations plenty of times in Tel Aviv, though exclusively from fairly old people. I was always listening actively for the pharyngeals since it's something that interests me, so I might have noticed it more often than people who aren't paying attention to phonetics.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-19, 19:27

You can hear the Yemenite pronunciation with pharyngeal het and 'ayin in the first guy's speech here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRYbbgCJrDA
He seems to be in his 60s.
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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby n8an » 2020-03-19, 21:43

Golv wrote:I grew up in a predominantly Mizrahi town (mainly Moroccan, but all groups were represented).

I had Mizrahi teachers, Mizrahi neighbours and Mizrahi friends, and beside perhaps a marginal number of incredibly old people, I have never met a person who pronounced ח or ע.


Exactly my experience.

Never have I heard it from anybody under the age of about 60.

It's true that some Mizrahit singers do it in songs, but in interviews their accent is 100% standard Israeli. This includes people like Eyal Golan.

I feel like Margol does actually speak with pharyngeal ח and ע, but again - she's in her 70s. Her ח and ע are trademarked to her charm, I feel.

Even other Mizrahit singers like Shlomi Shabat do not use it (if I recall correctly); he has a "Mizrahi" accent, but not ח and ע; this coincides with my theory that it's more of a trait of Arabic speakers (Shlomi is a Turkish speaker).

I am so confused as to where all of these people are who supposedly pronounce ח and ע as pharyngeals. It is just so weird to me that these people are supposedly out there but I've never met or heard them.

On the durability of of ח and ע as opposed to other phonemes - As far as I know these sounds still characterized
the Hebrew of Sephardic Jews, whose pronunciation of Hebrew was considered prestigious.

Whether true, at least for a while ח and ע were selectively endorsed by radio while much of the Semitic phoneme inventory was ignored.

Up to the 60's it was possible to hear ח and ע on radio, and much later still by some radio presenters who took pride in their ability to reproduce Sephardic pronunciation (Dan Caner is a famous example).

By the time Hebrew television came to be, ח and ע were dropped as well.


Also what I thought.

eskandar wrote:But all of that was true of Hebrew as well for the Arabic-speaking Jews we're discussing here, at least until after 1948. The point is that for the first generation of Hebrew learners from Arabic-speaking backgrounds, both Hebrew and standard Arabic were at one point learned second languages you didn't speak in everyday life. They pronounced ق as [q] when reading Arabic, and may have pronounced ק as [q] when praying in Hebrew, so I think it's not so simple as to say that "they didn't have [q] in their spoken dialect so they didn't use it when speaking Hebrew." Again, to me it seems there's more to the story.


I just don't think q is part of how people are taught Hebrew at all. At least we know that ח and ע were traditionally pronounced pharyngeally; but I honestly doubt that 99% of Hebrew speakers know that ק was once pronounced with a q. It's like...not a thing.

[/quote]The question then becomes, why continue pronouncing some letters according to your liturgical tradition (ע and ח) in a way that sets your speech apart from that of Hebrew-speaking Ashkenazim, but change the way you pronounce other letters (eg. ק and ט)? Especially considering that ط did not have the variations in pronunciation that ق had for Arabic-speakers.[/quote]

Again, I really feel like q is not a thing in Hebrew education. Of course, I can't go back in time and explain how it was taught in the early 20th century or whatever, but the fact that most Hebrew speakers know ח and ע but I don't think anyone knows about q really does say something to me.

ט is more complicated, because ת is kind of known to have a "th" pronunciation or "s" pronunciation amongst some old people, so ט is kind of differentiated. Unpopular opinion - ט is sometimes pronounced slightly differently to ת in Israeli Hebrew. I have no way to demonstrate this, but it's just what I've noticed.

Cool! Though I wouldn't be surprised if your friends reply with bog-standard Israeli Hebrew pronunciations, depending on the context in which you ask them. As far as I understand, native Hebrew speakers tend to use the pharyngeals in situations where they want to emphasize their Mizrahi identity.


Okay, only some of my friends have responded so far. The results were as I expected; nobody (Jews, that is) pronounces ח and ע pharyngeally if they are a native speaker unless they are very, very, very old. It's a stereotypically "grandparent" thing, even more than a "parent" thing. The verdict so far is that it does not exist in Israeli speech of younger people who are native speakers.

So they might not necessarily use the pharyngeals with you, but that wouldn't necessarily mean they never use them at all. Will be curious to see what kind of responses you get!


I asked about this, and this was kind of an awkward thing to ask and didn't get great responses. I mean, it's kind of weird to insinuate that they would specifically change their accent just because I'm in the room amongst them all. I have been to engagements, bar mitzvahs, circumcisions, birthdays, funerals and still never heard it, even amongst people you'd expect to hear it from.

The one time I have heard it was when I went to a friend's house for Friday night dinner. My friend's dad is a very, very elderly gentleman who migrated from Egypt as a young adult. He had a slight pharyngeal ע at times, but not ח. Again, he is a second language speaker of Hebrew.

He did have the trilled r though, which brings me to my next point. Trilled r is something that actually can still be heard among some speakers. It's very uncommon among native first language Hebrew speakers under the age of about 50, but it exists. It's most common among Russian speakers, but you can sometimes hear it on the radio among Ashkenazim and Mizrahim too.

In my honest experience, Israelis (Mizrahim) under the age of 40 have trouble pronouncing ע and ESPECIALLY ח pharyngeally, going with "kh" instead (khabibi, akhsan, khoobi, wakhad etc). I have seen this on TV many times and in real life, when I tell my Israeli friends about my Arab friends and they invariably laugh at me for saying A7mad and Mo7ammad, saying I sound hilarious and should pronounce it "normally" like "akhmed" and "mokhammad".

I've heard these pronunciations plenty of times in Tel Aviv, though exclusively from fairly old people. I was always listening actively for the pharyngeals since it's something that interests me, so I might have noticed it more often than people who aren't paying attention to phonetics.


HOLD ON - you went to Israeli :shock: :shock: :shock: when? Sorry for getting sidetracked, but I DID NOT KNOW THIS! Omg! When?

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Re: A few questions about the traditional pronunciations

Postby eskandar » 2020-03-19, 22:26

n8an wrote:I just don't think q is part of how people are taught Hebrew at all. At least we know that ח and ע were traditionally pronounced pharyngeally; but I honestly doubt that 99% of Hebrew speakers know that ק was once pronounced with a q. It's like...not a thing.

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.

Of course, I can't go back in time and explain how it was taught in the early 20th century or whatever, but the fact that most Hebrew speakers know ח and ע but I don't think anyone knows about q really does say something to me.

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.

ת is kind of known to have a "th" pronunciation or "s" pronunciation amongst some old people

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

The results were as I expected

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.

I have seen this on TV many times and in real life, when I tell my Israeli friends about my Arab friends and they invariably laugh at me for saying A7mad and Mo7ammad, saying I sound hilarious and should pronounce it "normally" like "akhmed" and "mokhammad".

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.

HOLD ON - you went to Israeli :shock: :shock: :shock: when? Sorry for getting sidetracked, but I DID NOT KNOW THIS! Omg! When?

I prefer not to get into personal details on here, but I've gone a few times now.
Please correct my mistakes in any language.


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