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Questions for Abudar
Shlomo akh Keefo,

I was looking over the Syriac lessons on your website, and have a few questions about Maronite pronunciation which may be of interest to other forum users too.

1. Vowels.
Could you be more precise on how you actually pronounce the vowels? For example, the English letter ???A??? can represent the sound of ???a??? in ???father,??? or the ???a??? in ???about,??? or the ???a??? in ???at,??? or the ???a??? in ???cake,??? as well a several other distinct sounds. While I realize that English equivalents can only be approximate, something like the following would be very helpful:

??? zqopo = the ???oa??? in ???coal.???
??? ???soso = the ???oo??? in ???moon.???
??? Hvoso = the ???i??? in ???machine.???

I am especially interested in how you pronounce pthoHo and rvoSo.

Also, how do you pronounce the unwritten schwa sound? Is it a single sound like in most grammar books, or multiple semi-vowels like in Hebrew?

2. Vocalized Consonants.
On page 6 of lesson 2 you transliterate the sounds of gomal + rvoSo as ???gue??? and gomal + HvoSo as ???guee.??? Does the ???u??? represent a glide sound, or something else?

3. What About Diphthongs?
For example, in lesson 4 page 1 you transliterate ???heavens as??? shma-yo. Isn???t pthoHo + yud pronounced something like ???eye,??? making ???heavens??? shmeye-yo? Most grammars list a number of diphthongs for western Syriac. What diphthongs does the Maronite Tradition use?

4. Consonant Doubling.
In eastern Syriac, the vowels pthaHa and zlama psheeqa borrow the following consonant, and always form closed syllables. Do any of the Maronite vowels act like this, or can all of them stand in an open syllable?

5. Stress.
Many Assyrians say there are no fixed rules for determining the stressed syllable in multi-syllable words. Some grammars say that the stress should be on the next to the last syllable, except for some two syllable words. What about in the Maronite pronunciation?

6. Cluster Mutations.
In addition to the sound changes in the six ???soft??? or aspirated consonants, some eastern Aramaic grammars give letter clusters which cause pronunciation changes in the leading consonant. For example, here are some of the sound clusters Alan Aldawood gives on his Assyrian Aramaic Language website:

??? zayn + vowel + kof or quwf + vowel makes zayn sound like semkath,
??? semkath + vowel + beyth or gomal + vowel makes semkath sound like zayn,
??? semkath + vowel + pe makes semkath sound like Sode.

Does Maronite Syriac have similar sound changes?

7. Alternate Maronite Pronunciation?
In the mid 1990???s I had a chance to talk to a retired Maronite priest, the late Father Joseph Joseph. He told me that there were different ???accents??? among the Maronites, in both Arabic and Syriac, depending on what region of Lebanon the speaker came from. He further said, if I understood correctly, that he pronounced zqopo like the ???a??? in ???raw.??? This pronunciation is also testified to in Robinson???s Paradigms and Exercises in Syriac Grammar where it is specifically stated to be a Maronite pronunciation. John Healey???s First Studies in Syriac also uses this pronunciation. Do you know anything about this pronunciation? If so, how does this affect the pronunciation of pthoHo?

John Marucci

Messages In This Thread
Questions for Abudar - by AramaicScribe - 03-27-2004, 06:19 PM
Re: Questions for Abudar - by abudar2000 - 03-28-2004, 12:19 AM
[No subject] - by AramaicScribe - 03-28-2004, 05:39 PM
[No subject] - by abudar2000 - 03-28-2004, 08:26 PM
[No subject] - by AramaicScribe - 03-30-2004, 07:11 PM
[No subject] - by abudar2000 - 04-01-2004, 08:00 PM
[No subject] - by abudar2000 - 04-01-2004, 09:05 PM
[No subject] - by Paul Younan - 04-01-2004, 11:14 PM
[No subject] - by AramaicScribe - 04-02-2004, 07:26 PM
[No subject] - by abudar2000 - 04-05-2004, 02:45 PM
[No subject] - by AramaicScribe - 04-05-2004, 05:49 PM
[No subject] - by abudar2000 - 04-05-2004, 07:27 PM

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