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Grammar of Biblical Hebrew


Wolfgang Schneider

Although Wolfgang Schneider’s Grammatik des biblischen Hebräisch: Ein Lehrbuch serves primarily as an introductory textbook to biblical Hebrew, it makes an invaluable contribution to the text-linguistic study of Hebrew Bible. Schneider’s understanding of narrative syntax and discourse linguistics continues to influence such grammarians as Niccacci and Talstra, through whom his work is validated. His discussion of clauses and text syntax remains pertinent to Hebrew students and professors alike. With this English translation, Schneider’s work may now make a worldwide contribution to biblical studies by clarifying for the student the contribution of text grammar to the reading of the biblical text.
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08 Character and Vocalization of Syllables


08.1 Basic Rules

Every syllable begins with a single consonant. There is no syllable beginning with a vowel,1 in the same way that two consonants are not at the beginning of a syllable.2

Two vowels do not stand immediately next to one another inside of a syllable.3

08.2 Open Syllables

Open syllables end with a vowel. With this counts also the syllable where a vowel letter stands at the end, e.g.: לֹא or בָּרָא.

Long Vowel

As a rule, open syllables have a long vowel, e.g.: תֹּהוּ וָבֹהוּ. The large number of open syllables with short vowels are almost always originally closed syllables that have only been opened secondarily and at the same time have kept their short vowel (→ e.g. § 06.1, § 09: Virtual Doubling and Broken Syllables, § 18: Segolates).

Open syllables with a half vowel (Schwa mobile or Chatéf-vowel) are suggestive syllables.

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