Friday, June 10, 2011

Question that some of you may know the answer to, although everyone I've asked doesn't

Given that one should be very careful when pronouncing shem Hashem, why does the official pronunciation silence the alef when a prefix is attached? For example, why do we say "hodu ladonai ki tov" instead of "hodu la'adonai ki tov"?

Thank you.

4 comments:

lethargic-man said...

Because grammar takes precedence?

Stephen Pinker says in his book Words and Rules that every irregular construction is the remnant of a regular construction in older language...

Mike Koplow said...

I was thinking that, Michael, but I don't think that's it. I don't have my concordance with me and can't cite chapter and verse, but when I looked up "adon-" earlier, in non-Tetragrammatical contexts (I don't know if I made that up), prefixes and the alef were sometimes both pointed, and sometimes the prefix was pointed and the alef was not. So I don't think that grammar requires that it always be the latter.

Furthermore, it seems very strange that grammar would trump piety in this case.

Anonymous said...

Where the prefix is a Mem or Shin, the Alef is pronounced.

Mosheh Motzi, ve-Chalev Machnis.

Miqe Qopelow said...

Anonymous, you're right. But that doesn't answer the question. To give a concrete example of niqqud in the alef when non-Tetragrammatical context, look at the 2nd "ki le-olam hhasdo" statement of the K"LHh psalm. "Hodu la'adoney ha'adonim." "Ha'adonim" is irrelevant, since we don't talk about "Ha'Aqonai" anyway. But what about the "la"? Why do we not say "*la'Aqonai" instead of "lAqonai"?