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Guttural Consonants: Masoretic Hebrew
(3,052 words)

The guttural consonants א ʾ (ʾalef), ה h (he), ח (ḥet), and ע ʿ (ʿayin) have a number of distinctive properties in the medieval biblical pronunciation traditions, which are reflected by the various vocalization systems.

In the Tiberian reading tradition these consonants were clearly distinguished in pronunciation, א ʾ being a laryngeal stop, ה h a laryngeal fricative, ח an unvoiced pharyngeal fricative, and ע a voiced pharyngeal fricative. In the Karaite manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible in Arabic script they were transcribed by Arabic ʾalif, hāʾ, ḥāʾ, and ʿayn respectively (Transcrip…

Cite this page
Khan, Geoffrey, “Guttural Consonants: Masoretic Hebrew”, in: Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics, Edited by: Geoffrey Khan. Consulted online on 04 December 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2212-4241_ehll_EHLL_SIM_000565>
First published online: 2013
First print edition: 9789004176423

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