[Avodah] Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew

elazar teitz emteitz at mail.gmail.com
Wed Sep 1 14:24:01 PDT 2021

[I had to change letters to translitrations of their names for the
digest to get anything but collections of "?". REMT may not agree with
my transliterations of those names. -micha]

I find it ironic that RDYLevine cites as a proof of the probable
correctness of the Ashkenazic pronunciation the fact that "It has
the difference between beis and veis, sof and tof," since the sof
pronunciation of the last letter of the alphabet is demonstrably an

As we know, the letters are divided into five categories, depending on
which part of the mouth is used to pronounce them: guttural (alef hei,
ches, ayin), labial (pei, mem vav, beis), palatal (quf, kaf, yud, gimel),
lingual (tav, nun, lamed, tes, daled) and dental (zayin, samech, tzadi,
reish, shin). Since the sof is from a different part of the mouth than
the sin and the samech, they obviously cannot represent the same sound. I
think it is obvious that the sof pronunciation is a result of German
not possessing a th sound, either that of the word "think" or that of
the word "that," which accounts for the mispronunciation, respectively,
of a tav rafa and a daled rafa.

(Despite the above, I pronounce the letter as sof in davening and leining
because [minhag avosai beyadai] (or should I say [befi]?) )


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