Italian Hebrew

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Italian Hebrew or Italki Hebrew refers to the pronunciation system for liturgical Hebrew traditionally used by Italian Jews.

Features[edit]

The Italian pronunciation of Hebrew is similar to that of conservative Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Distinguishing features are:

  • beth raphe is pronounced [v];
  • he is often silent, as in the family name "Coen";
  • vav is normally [v] as in most Hebrew dialects, but can become [w] in diphthongs (as in the family name "Anau"). Thus, in construct masculine plurals with male singular possessive suffix יו-, the pronunciation is not [-av] but [-au];
  • zayin is often pronounced [dz] like Italian voiced "z";
  • ayin is pronounced [ŋ] (like English "ng" in "sing"). In some dialects, like the Roman, this sometimes becomes [ɲ], like the Italian combination "gn";
  • final tav is pronounced [d];
  • speakers in communities south of the La Spezia isogloss, and Jewish communities transplanted north of this, pronounce dagesh forte as a true geminate sound, in keeping with the pronunciation of double letters in Italian.[1]

This pronunciation has in many cases been adopted by the Sephardi, Ashkenazi and Appam communities of Italy as well as by the Italian-rite communities.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elia S. "La pronuncia dell'ebraico presso gli Ebrei di Italia." in Scritti in memoria di F. Luzzatto. Rassegna Mensile di Israel 28 (1962): 26-30.