Two consonants are not allowed to stand together at the beginning of a word,; hence vowels are frequently inserted or prefixed, e.g.
The consonants are for the most part reproduced pretty distinctly, but not the vowels as yet in an equal degree."
Agglomerations of consonants are often met with as initials, giving the appearance of telescoped words - an appearance which historical etymology often confirms. IVlany of these initial consonants are silent in the dialects of the central provinces, or have been resolved into a simpler one of another character.
In order to avoid the uncertainty arising from the lack of vowels to distinguish forms consisting of the same consonants (for the vowel-points were not yet invented), the aramaising use of the reflexive conjugations (Hithpa`el, Nithpa`el) for the internal passives (Pu'al, Hoph`al) became common; particles were used to express the genitive and other relations, and in general there was an endeavour to avoid the obscurities of a purely consonantal writing.
In view of all this, the first requisite for a critical treatment of the text of the Old Testament is to consider the consonants by themselves, to treat every vowel-consonant as possibly not original, and the existing divisions of the text into words as original only in those cases where they yield a sense better than any other possible division (or, at least, as good).
The only consonants are k,1, m, n and p, which with the gently aspirated h, the five vowels, and the vocalic w, make up all the letters in use.
In the modern pronunciation the principal differences are between the Ashkenazim (German and Polish Jews) and the Sephardim (Spanish and Portuguese Jews), and concern not only the vowels but also certain consonants, and in some cases probably go back to early times.
Flexional consonants are almost always marked by phonograms, except in very early times; as when the feminine word z.t, cobra, is spelled ~ Also, if a sign had more than one value, a phonogram would be added to indicate which of its values was intended:
The consonants, b, d, f, k, I, m, n, p, r, v, z, are as in English; g = Eng.
In some respects the value of the consonants varies from that usual in the Latin alphabet.
He denotes quantities by the letters of the alphabet, retaining the vowels for the unknown and the consonants for the knowns; he introduced the vinculum and among others the terms coefficient, affirmative, negative, pure and adfected equations.
He follows Vieta in assigning the vowels to the unknown quantities and the consonants to the knowns, but instead of using capitals, as with Vieta, he employed the small letters; equality he denoted by Recorde's symbol, and he introduced the signs > and < for greater than and less than.
The site of the sacred oak has been sought at two places: one called El-'Amud, " the column" - where is "Joseph's tomb"; and the other at Balata (a name containing the consonants of the Semitic word for "oak"), near Jacob's well.
" Jehovah " is a modern mispronunciation of the Hebrew name, resulting from combining the consonants of that name, Jhvh, with the vowels of the word ¢donay, " Lord," which the Jews substituted for the proper name in reading the scriptures.
The number is precisely that of the total numerical value of the consonants of the name "Eliezer" (Gen.
According to the Hebrew consonants it might simply be read "the king" (melek), an appellation for the supreme deity of a Semitic state or tribe.
The Siamese alphabet consists of 44 consonants, in each of which the vowel sound" aw "is inherent, and of 32 vowels all marked not by individual letters, but by signs written above, below, before or after the consonant in connexion with which they are to be pronounced.
A complication is caused by the fact that the consonants are grouped into three classes, to each of which a special tone applies, and consequently the application of a tonal sign to a letter has a different effect, according to the class to which such letter belongs.
The coeval origin of consonants and vowels had indeed been questioned or denied by the earliest reformers (Luther, Zwingli, Calvin), but later, in the period of Protestant scholasticism and under the influence of one school of Jewish Rabbis, Protestant scholars in particular, and especially those .of the Swiss school, notably the Buxtorfs, had committed themselves to the view that the vowels formed an integral and original part of the text of the Old Testament; and this they maintained with all the more fervency.
This change consisted in the insertion into the original text of certain consonants which had come to be also used to express vowel sounds: e.g.
For reasons suggested partly by the study of Semitic inscriptions, partly by comparison of passages occurring twice within the Old Testament, and partly by a comparison of the Hebrew text with the Septuagint, it is clear that the authors of the Old Testament (or at least most of them) themselves made some use of these vowel consonants, but that in a great number of cases the vowel consonants that stand in our present text were inserted by transcribers and editors of the texts.
The consonants, 30 in number, which are deemed to possess an inherent sound a, are the following: ka, k'a, ga, nga, ea, ca, ja, nya, ta, t'a, da, na, pa, p'a, ba, ma, tsa, ts'a, dza, wa, z'a, za, 'ha, ya, ra, la, s'a, sa, ha, a; the so-called Sanskrit cerebrals are represented by the letters ta, t'a, da, na, s'a, turned the other way.
Many of these old soft initial consonants which are now hardened in the modern dialects are preserved in classical Tibetan, i.e.
Soon afterwards, when the language was extended to the western valleys, many of the prefixed and most of the important consonants vanished from the spoken words.
The ancient Arabic alphabet was very imperfect; it not only wanted marks for the short and in part even for the long vowels, but it often expressed several consonants by the same sign, e.g.
The invention of vowel-signs of diacritic points to distinguish similarly formed consonants, and of other orthographic signs, soon put a stop to arbitrary conjectures on the part of the readers.
Many remarkable In the articles referring to matters of Egyptology in this edition, Graecized forms of Old Egyptian names, where they exist, are commonly employed; in other cases names are rendered by their actual equivalents in Coptic or by analogous forms. Failing all such means, recourse is had to the usual conventional renderings of hieroglyphic spelling, a more precise transcription of the consonants in the latter being sometimes added.
The latter acquired the Semitic language imperfectly from their conquerors; they expressed the verbal conjugations by periphrases, mispronounced the consonants, and so changed greatly, the appearance of the vocabulary, which also would certainly contain a large proportion of native nonSemitic roots.
Strong consonants gave place to weak consonants (as t.3 has done to), in the modern Arabic of Egypt), and then the weak consonants disappearing altogether produced biliterals from the triliterals.
Much of this must have taken place, according to the theory, in the prehistoric period; but the loss of weak consonants, of y, and of one of two repeated consonants, and the development of periphrastic conjugations continued to the end.
Egyptian roots consist of consonants and semi-consonants only, the inflexion being effected by internal vowel-change and the addition of consonants or vowels at the beginning or end.
The Egyptian system of writing, as opposed to the Coptic, showed only the consonantal skeletons of words: it could not record internal vowel-changes; and semi-consonants, even when radicals, were often omitted in writing.
In the third place, some signs may be transferred to express another root having the same consonants as the first: thus ~, the ear, by a play upon words can express not only .f4m, hear, but also fdm, paint the eyes.
The phonetic values of the signs are derived from their word-sign values and consist usually of the bare root, though there are rare examples of the retention of a flexional ending; they often ignore also the weaker consonants of the root, and on the same principle reduce a repeated consonant to a single one, as when the hoe ~, tinn, has the phonetic value bn.
(It seems as if the two values y and s were obtained by choosing first one and then the other of the two semi-consonants composing the name.
They are of the Mongol family; their language belongs to the so-called Turanian group, is polysyllabic, possesses an alphabet of 11 vowels and 14 consonants, and a script named En-mun.
Ferant); (6) -au- before (at least some) consonants becomes -a- (Basta, earlier f3aiivrra).
The use of double consonants which has been already pointed out in the Messapian inscriptions has been very acutely connected by Deecke with the tradition that the same practice was introduced at Rome by the poet Ennius who came from the Messapian town Rudiae (Festus, p. 293 M).
They have the chief characteristics of the Polynesian, with Malay affinities, and peculiarities such as the use of suffixes and inseparable pronouns and, as in Tagal, of the infix to denote changes in the verb; in the west groups there is a tendency to closed syllables and double consonants, and a use of the palatals ch, j, sh, the dental th, and s (the last perhaps only in foreign words), which is alien to the Polynesian.
The Phoenician alphabet was an alphabet of consonants only, but all Greek alphabets as yet known agree in employing A, E, I, 0, Y as vowels.
The Greek aspirates were not the sounds which we represent by ph, th, ch (Scotch), but corresponded rather to the sound of the final consonants in such words as lip, bit, lick, the breath being audible after the formation of the consonant.
- (1) Between two vowels, or a vowel and a liquid, the seven consonants p, t, c, b, d, g, in, became respectively b, d, g, f, dd, -, f, where "-" represents the lost voiced spirant y.
A series of consonants often disappear in the spirant; thus Old Persian or Zend.
Hard consonants were, and indeed still are, very difficult for her to pronounce in connection with one another in the same word; she often suppresses the one and changes the other, and sometimes she replaces both by an analogous sound with soft aspiration.
It is more nearly related to modern Siamese than to modern Shan, but possesses many groups of consonants which have become simplified in both.
1 The vowels, which are ten in number (a a e e i i o o u u), were, as usual in the Semitic languages, indicated only partially by the use of consonants as vowel-letters 2 and by means of certain diacritical points, so long as Syriac remained a living language.
Where the same root exists in Arabic, Syriac and Hebrew, its fundamental consonants are usually the same in all three languages.
It may seem at first that so many as 44 consonants can scarcely be necessary, but the explanation is that several of them express each a slightly different intonation of what is practically the same consonant, the sound of" kh,"for instance, being represented by six different letters and the sound of" t "by eight.
The vowel signs have no sound by themselves, but act upon the vowel sound" aw "inherent in the consonants, converting it into" a," i," o," ee," ow,"&c. Each of the signs has a name, and some of them produce modulations so closely resembling those made by another that at the present day they are scarcely to be distinguished apart.
Again, and for similar reasons, it is probable that in many cases, if not in all, the original texts were written without any clear division of the consonants into words.
" With the papyrus paper," says Professor Breasted, 2 " the hand customarily written upon it in Egypt now made its way into Phoenicia, where before the 10th century B.C. it developed into an alphabet of consonants, which was quickly transmitted to the Ionian Greeks and thence to Europe."
The other Aryan consonants seem generally to have remained.
As ~ards consonants, it is noticeable that the older I (soft s) still mserved in Zend passes into da rule that still holds in New rsian; compare Sanskrit.
The following simple rules, laid down by a Committee of the Royal Geographical Society, will be found sufficient as a rule; according to this system the vowels are to be sounded as in Italian, the consonants as in English, and no redundant letters are to be introduced.
None of them, in point of fact, has held its ground, and even his proposal to denote unknown quantities by the vowels A, E, I, 0, u, Y - the consonants B, c, &c., being reserved for general known quantities - has not been taken up. In this denotation he followed, perhaps, some older contemporaries, as Ramus, who designated the points in geometrical figures by vowels, making use of consonants, R, S, T, &c., only when these were exhausted.
The tongue is so serviceable a member (taking all sorts of shapes, just as is wanted),--the teeth, the lips, the roof of the mouth, all ready to help, and so heap up the sound of the voice into the solid bits which we call consonants, and make room for the curiously shaped breathings which we call vowels!
The naval officer spoke in a particularly sonorous, musical, and aristocratic baritone voice, pleasantly swallowing his r's and generally slurring his consonants: the voice of a man calling out to his servant, Heah!
The consonants of the word to be substituted are ordinarily written in the margin; but inasmuch as Adonay was regularly read instead of the ineffable name Jhvh, it was deemed unnecessary to note the fact at every occurrence.
Final consonants are almost :irely wanting.
In such cases of substitution the vowels of the word which is to be read are written in the Hebrew text with the consonants of the word which is not to be read.