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For Linguists (of The Hebrew Variety)


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Something I've always wondered....

There is no "J", nor "J" sound, in the Hebrew alphabet. The transliterated word "Jehovah" was from German-speaking scholars who used "J" because it makes a "Yah" sound in German.

So the correct way to write the name of God is "Yahweh".

EXCEPT

There is no "W" sound in Hebrew, either. There is only the "V" sound. So "Yahweh" is also incorrect. It should be "Yahveh".

Right?

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Something I've always wondered....

There is no "J", nor "J" sound, in the Hebrew alphabet. The transliterated word "Jehovah" was from German-speaking scholars who used "J" because it makes a "Yah" sound in German.

So the correct way to write the name of God is "Yahweh".

EXCEPT

There is no "W" sound in Hebrew, either. There is only the "V" sound. So "Yahweh" is also incorrect. It should be "Yahveh".

Right?

IIRC, it used to be a semi-vowel. The ancient pronunciation is different than the modern one, and as such is more accurately a "W."

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Something I've always wondered....

There is no "J", nor "J" sound, in the Hebrew alphabet. The transliterated word "Jehovah" was from German-speaking scholars who used "J" because it makes a "Yah" sound in German.

So the correct way to write the name of God is "Yahweh".

EXCEPT

There is no "W" sound in Hebrew, either. There is only the "V" sound. So "Yahweh" is also incorrect. It should be "Yahveh".

Right?

From what i have learned, you have widespread agreement.

:P

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Waw had both a 'w' and a 'v' sound combined, and would take a different sound at the beginning and end of words as a vowel letter. Beth, aspirated, sounded more like English 'v'. Yodh had a sound that was more like a cross between our 'y' and our 'j', with more emphasis on the 'y' aspect of the sound. Either way, English does have a 'J' so it does not matter when we consider the traditional English pronunciations of certain names such as Jehovah. In the old 1611 KJV Jehovah was spelled Iehovah, which was pronounced closely like Yehovah. As English evolved the name early on became written and pronounced Jehovah.

Incidentally, Modern Hebrew differs from Classical Hebrew in the pronunciation of a number of letters. The letter 'Ayin was once pronounced. Now it is not: it is just sounded the same as 'Aleph, which is a glottal stop. The letter Daleth now has the same sound regardless of its placement. Originally, it would either take the sound of 'd' or 'dh' depending on how it was being used. The letter Tau now only has one sound rather than the original two it carried in Classical Hebrew. Waw now takes on more of a 'v' sound than its original 'w' sound. I could go on but do not feel the need.

By the way, what was your point in bringing this up? Readying another volley for firing at the Book of Mormon?

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Thanks for that, MormonMason; seemed to clear things up a bit.

By the way, what was your point in bringing this up? Readying another volley for firing at the Book of Mormon?

Uh, if you're on the hunt for combative antis, I'm really not your girl. No hidden agenda here. I was just wondering why I see "Jehovah" and "Yahweh", but never "Yahveh", when it seemed that the latter was closer to correct pronunciation. I haven't studied Hebrew, but have noticed on my own that the alphabet was lacking those two consonant sounds, and wondered why they were placed in the name of God. "I am that I am" has the tetragramaton "YHVH", not "JHVH" or "YHWH".

That's all. Just curious.

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Thanks for that, MormonMason; seemed to clear things up a bit.

Uh, if you're on the hunt for combative antis, I'm really not your girl. No hidden agenda here. I was just wondering why I see "Jehovah" and "Yahweh", but never "Yahveh", when it seemed that the latter was closer to correct pronunciation. I haven't studied Hebrew, but have noticed on my own that the alphabet was lacking those two consonant sounds, and wondered why they were placed in the name of God. "I am that I am" has the tetragramaton "YHVH", not "JHVH" or "YHWH".

That's all. Just curious.

Ok. As I have shown above, Hebrew did not lack the consonant represented by 'W'. Modern Hebrew differs from Classical Hebrew in a number of characteristics. You likely got your information from a Modern Hebrew representation of the sounds of the consonants. By the way, "I am that I am" (Hebrew: 'ehyeh 'asher ehyeh) does not contain the Tetragrammaton.

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Modern Hebrew differs from Classical Hebrew in a number of characteristics. You likely got your information from a Modern Hebrew representation of the sounds of the consonants.

I have Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which has a Hebrew dictionary with every word used in the OT. That is the full extent of my exposure to Hebrew. Pretty anemic really.

By the way, "I am that I am" (Hebrew: 'ehyeh 'asher ehyeh) does not contain the Tetragrammaton.

So where does the tetragrammaton come from then? I thought it came from "I am that I am".

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I have Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which has a Hebrew dictionary with every word used in the OT. That is the full extent of my exposure to Hebrew. Pretty anemic really.

Yes, and Strong's Concordance in its newest incarnations is basing the pronunciations of the letters on Modern Hebrew to represent the sounds, which is pretty unfortunate but not entirely unexpected. Most people cannot pronounce 'ayin as it sounded, anyway. The is even the case with Jews of European descent, which is why the prounciation of the letter was dropped in Modern Hebrew.

So where does the tetragrammaton come from then? I thought it came from "I am that I am".

There has been a whole lot of speculation as to where it comes from but all of such is just that. The most common interpretation is that Yahweh is somehow derived from the Hebrew hayah, which literally means "he is" but which is commonly represented as meaning "to be." Hebrew 'ehyeh (English: "I am" or "I exist") also is derived from hayah but Yahweh is and cannot be derived from 'ehyeh, hayah being the triliteral root form. The closest to Yahweh is the Hebrew form yihyeh, but even that is not entirely close enough.

However, there is a participial form howeh and a proposed root also meaning "to become" and which is hawah. This also has been believed the source of the name Yahweh, and this would be closer but still not close enough. Some believed the name to be a doubled form modeled after the doubling appearance of the words appearing in the passage to which you alluded but nothing is fixed in stone here. I also know that the name Yahweh, and various forms thereof, actually has been found in texts predating the Hebrew Bible.

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Thanks, MormonMason, this has been really interesting.

I also know that the name Yahweh, and various forms thereof, actually has been found in texts predating the Hebrew Bible.

Right, I remember reading something about that, possibly from Karen Armstrong's book A History of God. Other Semitic peoples used the word "Yahu" or "Yehu", as I recall. It's been quite a while since I've read the book, though.

Hey, MM, are you familiar with the YHVH being found in the book of Esther in acrostic form?

http://www.theseason.org/esther/companion_...appendix_60.htm

Don't really have a point to go along with that; it's just, well, cool.

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Jehovah is a made up word (that has taken on a life of its own). In the Masoretic text, since you weren't allowed to pronounce the divine name (YHWH), when they pointed the name (added the vowels) they added the vowels for an entirely different word you were supposed to use in its place - Adonai (thus getting the vowels in Jehovah). In my early Hebrew classes, I had an old traditionalist teaching me, and whenever we came across YHWH in the text we were only allowed to say Adonai. But when this was converted to Latin and then into English, it came across as Jehovah, and has been with us ever since.

As far as the other, Waw is now the most frequently used spelling for the letter, although in older material is was often Vov. The V was also much more common in, for example, Sephardic transliterations, where it was have been spelled vauv.

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