Tiberian Hebrew vav is pronounced like English "v".



Kitab Jamiˁ al-ˀAlfaz

תּוֹלָ֥ע וּפֻוָּ֖ה (Gen. 46.13): name of a man. The accent is on the vav and it is read rafe. The pronunciation of the vav in it is like the way the Palestinians (pronounce the letter in words) such as הֱוֵ֤ה ‘be!’ (Gen. 27.29), דָוָּ֗ה ‘ill’ [fs.] (Lev. 20.18, etc.), הִרְוָ֣ה ‘it watered’ (Isa. 55.10) ... Its pronunciation (i.e. the vav of פֻוָּ֖ה), like every (consonantal) vav in our (reading tradition), both light (i.e with rafe) and with dagesh, is between the upper teeth and the lower lip. Examples with dagesh are: יָ֘צָ֤א קַוָּ֗ם ‘their speech went out’ (Psa. 19.5), צִוָּֽם ‘he commanded them’ (Gen. 50.12, etc.), כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה ‘as he commanded’ (Gen. 7.9, etc.), אֲשֶׁ֨ר יְצַוֶּ֜ה ‘that he commands’ (Gen. 18.19, etc.). Examples with light (vav) are: הוָֹ֤ה עַל־הוָֹה֙ ‘disaster upon disaster’ (Ezek. 7.26), הוֶֹ֤ה לָהֶם֙ לְמֶ֔לֶךְ ‘(you) be for them a king’ (Neh. 6.6), וְרָוַ֤ח לְשָׁאוּל֙ ‘and Saul was refreshed’ (1 Sam. 16.23), לֹֽא־יֵבֹ֖שׁוּ קוָֹֽי ‘those who wait for me will not be put to shame’ (Isa. 49.23). Now, תּוֹלָ֥ע וּפֻוָּ֖ה (Gen. 46.13) is like this.

Translation from Khan (TPTBH I.1.6)










Hidayat al-Qari

The sixth type of case that breaks the rule is mappiq vav. This is because every vav at the end of a word is pronounced according to the view of the Palestinians as a bet rafe, which breaks the rule of the א̇וי̇ה, as in חֲצֵרֹתָ֥יו בִּתְהִלָּ֑ה ‘(enter) his courts with praise’ (Psa. 100.4), אֵלָ֥יו פִּֽי־קָרָ֑אתִי ‘I cried aloud to him’ (Psa. 66.17), and similar cases.

Translation from Khan (TPTBH II.S.2.8)


In some instances, vav is pronounced as the labio-velar semi-vowel just like English "w". When the conjunction -ו 'and' precedes the consonants בומף or a consonant with a shewa and is thus written as -וּ, it is pronounced as [wu-].



Treatise on the Shewa

When the vav is next to these three letters, namely ב̇מ̇ף, it should not be pronounced in this way (i.e. like bet) and it is not pointed with shewa, but rather with one point in the body of the vav, as in וּבָנָ֞ה ‘and he will build’ (Josh. 6.26, etc.), וּבֵ֣רֵאת֔וֹ ‘and you will clear it’ (Josh. 17.18), וּבָרָ֣א ‘and he will create’ (Isa. 4.5), וּבִינַ֥ת ‘and the discernment of’ (Isa. וּבַ֗ר ,( 29.14 ‘and clean’ (Job 11.4), וּפֶן ‘and lest’ (Deut. 4.9, etc.), וּפָנָ֞ה ‘and he will turn’ (Deut. 31.20, etc.), וּפ֥וּט ‘and Put’ (Gen. 10.6), וּפִֽי ‘and the mouth of’ (Exod. 39.23, etc.), וּפ֥וֹל ‘and beans’ (2 Sam. 17.28), וּפְחִ֛י ‘and breathe’ (Ezek. וּמֶ֥לֶךְ ,( 37.9 ‘and king’ (Gen. 14.2, etc.), וּמַלכוּת (cf. וּמַלְכוּתָהּ֙ ‘her royal office’ Esther 1.19), וּמֹשֵׁ֖ל ‘and the ruler’ (Gen. 45.8, etc.), וּמַקְל֖וֹ ‘and his staff’ (Hos. 4.12), וּמֵעַ֥ל ‘and from upon’ (1 Sam. 6.5, etc.), וּמָעַל ‘and he acted treacherously’ (cf. מָ֤עַל Josh. 22.20). Nothing of this category is found that is pointed or read וְמָשַׁל ,וְבָנה, or וְפוּט, because these three letters are different from the other letters in this respect. When they read them (i.e. these words), it is not pronounced bet, I mean the vav in them is not pronounced bet, as the aforementioned cases that have shewa. Rather, you read their vavs as if you are pronouncing אוּ, as if you are saying אֻפָנָה אֻמָלַךְ, אֻבָרָא, אֻבָנָה. You should read all of them in this way. You need not read with a pure ʾalef, for an ʾalef does not appear in them, but I have only compared it (to ʾalef) by way of approximation. … And if the second letter of the words has shewa, then it is always pointed and read with a point in the body of the vav and it is not read as bet, I mean with shewa, rather it is read as a pure vav, as in וּלְלֵוִ֣י ‘and regarding Levi’ (Deut. 33.8), וּשְׁמַ֥ע ‘and hear’ (Exod. 23.21, etc.), וּדְבַ֥ר ‘and the matter of’ (Num. 23.3), וּקְרָא ‘and call’ (Ruth 4.11, etc.), וּרְד֞וּ ‘and have dominion over’ (Gen. 1.28, etc.), and other cases.

Translation from Khan (TPTBH I.1.6)











In some instances, vav is pronounced as the labio-velar semi-vowel just like English "w". When shureq וּ or ḥolem precedes furtive pataḥ in words like רוּחַ 'spirit' or נִיחוֹחַ 'soothing', a semi-vowel [w] is inserted between the [uː] and [a] vowels.





Kitab Jamiˁ al-ˀAlfaz

Some of the teachers have made a mistake by reading it (like the vav in) ר֤וּחַ ‘spirit’ and נִיח֤וֹחַ ‘soothing’. This is because whenever the accent is on the letter before a vav, its pronunciation is light, between the lips, as in ר֤וּחַ ‘spirit’ and נִיח֤וֹחַ ‘soothing’, יְהוֹשֻׁ֤עַ ‘Joshua’, לָנ֖וּעַ ‘to sway’ (Jud. 9.9, etc.), שָׁמוֹעַ ‘to hear’, יָדֹעַ ‘to know’, נֹחַ ‘Noah’, מֹחַ ‘brain’.

Translation from Khan (TPTBH I.1.6)











Khan, Geoffrey. 2020. The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Cambridge: Cambridge and Open Book Publishers. §I.1.6.

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