How do you say that in Hebrew like a Hebrew?

When I was a French teacher in the 1970s at the Catholic St George’s College in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), my pupils were very bad at French pronunciation. For example, Bonjour Monsieur became either “Bonjews MooseEar,” or “Bonjewer Monsewer.” No surprises there; most English-speaking learners of foreign languages are linguistic klutzes. When, though, I find pronunciation on a par with my French pupils on the BlueletterBible site – this time, Hebrew – I get a little more critical. I often consult the BlueletterBible site for the Hebrew and Greek of the biblical text. I was reading Ex. 31:15a about the sabbath rest, the shabbat shabbaton.Six days may work be done; but in the seventh [is] the sabbath of rest (Hebrew – shabbat shabbaton), holy to the LORD” (Exodus 31:15a). שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים יֵעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה וּבַיֹּום הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתֹון קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָה שבת shabbath שבתון shabbaton – sabbath of rest I stress the last syllable /ton/ on shabbaton because there is something wrong with Blueletterbible’s pronunciation of שבתון shabbaton. Click on the loudspeaker on the right side of “of rest” and listen to the pronunciation of שבתוןshabbaton. The “t” (tet) is pronounced “th” to give “shabbathone.” The /th/ sound exists in Greek but not in Hebrew. The /thown/”in “shabbathown” is the American pronunciation 0f /ton/. I wish that BlueletterBible would find someone who knows how to pronounce Hebrew; but not a liberal or reconstructionist Jew, because he would probably know less Hebrew than the person BlueletterBible’s got doing the job now. If, though, BLB does employ someone who speaks proper Hebrew, they must ensure he doesn’t speak with a lithp. And if they persist in digging in their heels, wouldn’t they be bibically better off running a B&B? I have to say that when it comes to Hebrew, I’m no fountain of wisdom1I once mixed up my Hebrew “ems”– my mems: the final Mem םwith the lower case מ. I told everybody, who all happened to be very fruM Jews – that my confusion was a pure case of meMory loss. “Yeah right!”

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One thought on “How do you say that in Hebrew like a Hebrew?

  1. Reblogged this on OneDaring Jew and commented:

    Chave a chappy Hanuka

    One of things I like about Christ Rosebrough, besides his hilarious biting critiques of “Believe in your vision” preachers is that he pronounces Hebrew like a Hebrew. For example, English mother-tongue speakers, including rabbis, pronounce the Hebrew “ch/kh” consonant (Scottish “ch” as in Loch) as an “h”. So “Chanukah” is wrongly pronounce Hanuka and “Chesed” ( lovingkindness) is wrongly pronounced as “hesed.” How charming it is to hear Rosebrough say “chesed.” Chave a chappy Hanuka.

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