ALEF

א

VOICELESS GLOTTAL STOP [ʔ]

To pronounce alef, constrict/stop the flow of air low in your throat. For those familiar with Arabic, it is pronounced like the letter hamza ).

[ʔ]

א

Hidayat al-Qari

The letters אהחע have a single place of articulation. This is the throat and the root of the tongue. The Tiberians call it the ‘root of the tongue’ and the ‘place of swallowing’. This is the first place of articulation in the mouth. For this reason they are the lightest letters, as a group or individually.

Translation from Khan (TPTBH II.L.1.3.2)

EXAMPLE WORDS:

וַיֶּאְסֹר

[vaɟɟεʔˈsoːorˁ]

יָבִיאוּ

[jɔːˈviːʔuː]

מַלְאָךְ

[malˈʔɔːɔχ]

אָדָם

[ʔɔːˈðɔːɔm]

GEMINATED VOICELESS GLOTTAL STOP [ʔʔ] or [ʔː]

When alef has dagesh in the Bible, it should be pronounced with gemination (i.e., held for a longer duration).

[ʔʔ]

אּ

Hidayat al-Qari

It has been said that dagesh is placed in ʾalef in some specific places in Scripture, namely in the following four cases: וַיָּבִ֥יאּוּ ל֛וֹ אֶת־הַמִּנְחָ֥ה ‘and they brought him the present’ (Gen. 43.26), וַיָּבִ֨יאּוּ לָ֜נוּ כְּיַד־אֱלֹהֵ֨ינוּ ‘and they brought to us by the hand of our God’ (Ezra מִמּוֹשְׁבֹ֙תֵיכֶ֜ם תָּבִ֣יאּוּ ׀ ,( 8.18 ‘from your dwellings you shall bring’ (Lev. 23.17), וְשֻׁפּ֥וּ עַ֝צְמוֹתָ֗יו ל֣אֹ רֻאּֽוּ ‘and his bones, which were not seen, are laid bare’ (Job 33.21).

Translation from Khan (TPTBH II.L.1.3.2)

EXAMPLE WORDS:

רֻאּֽוּ

[ʀ̟uʔˈʔuː]

תָּבִ֣יאּוּ ׀

[tʰɔːˈviʔʔuː]

וַיָּבִ֨יאּ

[vaɟɟɔːˈviʔʔuː]

וַיָּבִ֥יאּוּ

[vaɟɟɔːˈviʔʔuː]

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

Khan, Geoffrey. 2020. The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Cambridge: Cambridge and Open Book Publishers. §I.1.1.

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