Talk:Yemenite Hebrew

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Short and useless[edit]

I found this horribly short and useless but thats just me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Knockout27 (talkcontribs) 00:21, 22/May/06

What information would you like to see added to it? It is only a stub article.--EhavEliyahu 16:25, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


It would be nice to get some IPA in this article. Can anyone find a source that gives IPA? Mo-Al 05:03, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Is possible for Arabic speakers to Understand?[edit]

Is possible for Arabic speakers to Understand? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:50, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

No. The pronunciation may sound familiar, but it is still a different language. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 08:25, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Suggestion for transliteration?[edit]

Actually there's more then one dialect of Yemenite Hebrew, thus there's more then 1 way to transliterate it. Here's a highly respected transliterated system. In Yemenite Hebrew the re's also strong 'he.

א ’A′leph ’ (In Hebrew ’a′leph is not a vowel but a consonant and has no true equivalent in English. It is transliterated in writing by a raised comma (’). As pronounced in Hebrew it is the softest of guttural sounds (that is, sounds pronounced in the throat) and is like the slight guttural sound given to the silent “h” at the beginning of the English word “hour,” or like with the second “o” in “cooperate.”)

? Behth b

ב v (It has a labial sound similar to the English “b” when a dot is placed in the middle of this Hebrew character to harden the letter’s pronunciation. Without the dot it has a softer sound close to “v,” as in the word “vine.”)

? Gi′mel g (corresponds generally to the English “g” when it has within it the point (daghesh lene); but without this point it is pronounced softer, more down in the throat. (Yemenite Hebrew of Shar'abi is J, Ji'mel)

ג gh

? Da′leth d

ד dh

ה He’ h’ (Medium guttural- guttural sound somewhere between the softer ’a′leph and the harsher chehth. It thus corresponds generally to the English “h” and is similar to the sound of “h” in the word “behind.”)

ו Waw w (In pronunciation this letter corresponds generally to the English “w,” as in “wine”; at times, however, in modern Hebrew it is given the sound of English “v.” In this work it is transliterated as “w” (ו), “u” (?), and “oh” (ו). It is rarely used as an initial letter, usually being substituted for by the letter yohdh (י). )

ז Za′yin z (It corresponds generally to the English letter “z”)

ח Chehth ch’’ (This letter is the harshest of the guttural sounds and is similar to the sound of “ch,” as in the Scottish word loch or the German ach. In the Hebrew, in the eighth section of Psalm 119 (vss 57-64) every verse begins with this letter.

In this work it is transliterated as ch to denote strong aspiration.)

ט Tehth t (The sound represented by the letter corresponds to an emphatic English “t,” produced by pressing the tongue strongly against the palate. Its sound differs from that of the letter taw [ת] primarily because of its lack of aspiration after the “t” sound. In the original Hebrew, it appears at the beginning of each verse of Psalm 119:65-72.)

י Yohdh y (The name of the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet, i·o′ta, evidently is akin to the Hebrew yohdh.)

? Kaph k (The 11th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In sound kaph corresponds to kh when not having the point (daghesh lene) in it; but with this point in it (?), it becomes hard like the English “k.” In )

כ Final: ך kh (Soft)

ל La′medh l (La′medh corresponds generally to the English “l.” )

מ Final: ם Mem m

נ Final: ן Nun n

ס Sa′mekh s

ע ‛A′yin ‛ (It represents a peculiar guttural sound pronounced at the back of the throat and has no equivalent in English. It is transliterated as ‛.)

? Pe’ p

פ Final: ף ph/f

צ Final: ץ Tsa·dheh′ ts (It has a strong hissing sound similar to the sound of “ts” in English.)

ק Qohph q (The sound is stronger than that of the letter kaph [כ] and is pronounced farther back in the throat, as a strong English “q” formed at the back of the palate. In Shar'abi it is a deep g.)

ר Rehsh r

ש Sin s (More hissing like is comparsion to sa'mekh)

? Shin sh (More hissing like is comparsion to sa'mekh)

? Taw t

ת th

Full Vowels

ָ (long) Qa′mets a as in awl

ַ Pa′thach a as in father

ֵ (long) Tse′reh e as in they

ֶ Se′ghohl e as in men

ִ Chi′req i as in machine

ֹ (long) Choh′lem o as in no

ָ Qa′mets Cha·tuph′ o as in nor

ֻ Qib·buts′ u as in full

ִ Shu′req u as in cruel

Half Vowels

ְ Shewa’′ e obscure, as in "average"; or silent, as in "made"

ֲ Cha·teph′ Pa′thach a as in hat

ֱ Cha·teph′ Se′ghohl e as in met

ֳ Cha·teph′ Qa′mets o as in not

Special Combinations

י ָ = ai י ִ = i

י ַ = ai ו = oh

י ֵ = eh  ? = u

י ֶ = ey וי ָ = av

(Information for those who know Spanish sounds)

א ’Á·lef ’

? Behth b

ב v

? Guí·mel g (gu, antes de e o i)

ג gh

? Dá·leth d

ד dh

ה He’ h’

ו Waw w

ז Zá·yin z

ח Jehth j

ט Tehth t

י Yohdh y

? Kaf k

כ Final: ך kj’’

ל Lá·medh l

מ Final: ם Mem m

נ Final: ן Nun n

ס Sá·mekj s

ע ‛Á·yin ‛

? Pe’ p

פ Final: ף f

צ Final: ץ Tsa·dhéh ts

ק Qohf q (Shar'abi es g)

ר Rehsch r

ש Sin s

? Schin sch

? Taw t

ת th

Vocales plenas

? ָ (larga) Qá·mets a

? ַ Pá·thaj a

? ֵ (larga) Tsé·reh e

? ֶ Sé·ghohl e

? ִ Jí·req i

? ֹ (larga) Jóh·lem o

? ָ Qá·mets Ja·túf o

? ֻ Qib·búts u

? ִ Schú·req u

Vocales muy breves

? ְ Schewá’ e indistinta o muda

? ֲ Ja·téf Pá·thaj a

? ֱ Ja·téf Sé·ghohl e

? ֳ Ja·téf Qá·mets o

Combinaciones especiales

י? ָ = ai י? ִ = i

י? ַ = ai ו = oh

י? ֵ = eh  ? = u

י? ֶ = ei וי? ָ = av -- (talk) 23:15, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't find this table very helpful: it mixes up Yemenite with Sephardic pronunciations. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 08:32, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Please explain--Standforder (talk) 22:50, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

The sounds it gives for the beghadhkephath letters are Yemenite. The sounds it gives for the vowels (especially segol and holam) are Sephardi and not Yemenite (in Yemenite, segol is æ and holam is either ö or ē). The sound it gives for sheva na is Ashkenazi and Israeli. As a whole, with the exception of qamatz it corresponds with the reconstructed Hebrew pronunciation in classical Hebrew grammars such as Davidson, which is not used in any community. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 14:25, 8 December 2008 (UTC)

Standards of transliteration[edit]

I heard that Yemenite Hebrew is the standard for use in transliteration and terms like Beth (beys in Ashkenazic, beyt in Sephardic) and Sabbath (Shabbos/Shabbat) Mitzvoth (Mitzvas/Mitzvot), etc... come from Yemenite hebrew. Can anyone find any confirmation for this. I also heard that Yemenite Hebrew is the closest thing we may have to ancient spoken Hebrew Valley2city 06:03, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I don't think that's true. I'm pretty sure the transliteration comes from biblical Hebrew. It's true that Yemenite Hebrew resembles it, but there are differences (for example gimel/jimel). Mo-Al 06:07, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
As Mo-Al has stated Yemenite Hebrew is not considered "the" standard for transliteration. For the most part there is no exact standard for transliteration. There are some more common methods used for certain groups and individuals, but calling them standard isn't really a case. There are about three dialects that have elements of some periods of Ancient, Mishnaic, etc. Hebrew. That would be Iraqi Jews, Persian Jews, Yemenite Jews, and Samaritan. All languages evolve and Hebrew is no different. We can only assume that certain communities are close because we don't have any recordings of what Hebrew sounded like several thousand years ago. Also, there are some Yemenites who don't pronounce the Gimel as Jimel, or the Qoof as Goof.--EhavEliyahu 21:48, 14 December 2006 (UTC)
There seem to be several schemes for transliteration: British Sephardic pronunciation was used for a large number of books originally translated in England, and published by Soncino Press. These transliterations are notable for their use of things like the th sound. More recently, publishers have been using either modern Israeli transliteration (such as Conservative Movement and the Reform Movement), or Ashkenazi pronunciation (Orthodox publishers like ArtScroll). 20:55, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
The old British convention of using "th" for tav rafe was partly influenced by the system in Christian Bibles (originally derived from the use of θ in the Septuagint). It was kept in the interests of neutrality, so that everyone would know what letter was meant, and pronounce it as they liked (Sephardim as t or d, Ashkenazim as s, Iraqis and Yemenites as th): it does not reflect any actual British use of a "th" pronunciation. You will find this convention in old scholarly works, such as Zimmels, Buchler, Louis Jacobs etc., but it is now considered very old-fashioned and I do not know of any living author who uses it. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 12:42, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

I like to see one very detailed chart of the different Yemenite Hebrew pronuncations including: Shar'abi pronunciation, & B'nai Ya'aqub relation to Yemenite Hebrew. I also like it written in simple understandble terms so even a kid could understand. On Wikipedia, preferably by a profession!

We know Arabic & Hebrew are sister languages. We also know they that Yemenite Hebrew preserves certain aspects which it shares with ancient classical arabic but not modern Arabic

The Shar'abi accent is well-known, but the "B'nai Ya'aqub" I have never heard of, neither in Israel among the Yemenite Jews, nor in Yemen where I lived for some time. Can you please explain what group you are referring to here?Davidbena (talk) 06:17, 24 November 2015 (UTC)

Merge request[edit]

I propose that Sanaani Hebrew language be merged into this article. The Sanaani article is very stubby, and contains no information peculiar to the Sanaani dialect, other than links which are also present in this article. It would be nice if someone more knowledgeable than me could expand the part of this article dealing with the differences between the various dialects. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 13:57, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

I see absolutely no reason for preserving the separate article: all the relevant information is already there in Yemenite Hebrew. (It would be like having a separate article on "Lithuanian Hebrew", or "Frankfurt-am-Main Hebrew", alongside that on Ashkenazi Hebrew.) Otherwise we would also have to have articles on "Adeni Hebrew language" and all the other Yemenite Hebrew sub-dialects.

What would be useful is for someone to expand "Yemenite Hebrew" to show the geographical boundaries and phonological features of all the sub-dialects (of which, according to Morag, there are five, though I have only come across two). --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) 13:02, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

User:Sirmylesnagopaleentheda, the article Sanaani Hebrew language and "Yemenite Hebrew" are actually one and the same article.Davidbena (talk) 06:21, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Now they are. They weren't in 2007, and that is why I was in favour of merging them. This has clearly since been done. --Sir Myles na Gopaleen (the da) (talk) 22:33, 8 December 2015 (UTC)
Okay. I hadn't looked at the history.Davidbena (talk) 23:07, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Jews EMIGRATED<>EXPELLED from Yemen[edit]

The Jews indeed were "semi-expelled" from Yemen. There were many riots and violence attacks against Jews because of Zionism and the Establishment of Israel, So when generally stating the situation the Jews were expelled as a result of the violence to Israel, and again, not because they only wanted to, but because they had no other choice. Many prosperous and wealthy Jews left Yemen and other Arab countries because they had no choice.Momentito 11:25, 9 August 2005 (UTC)


For those who know what the IPA is, please bare with me.

Transcription is not the same as the IPA. Transcription only replaces one visual symbol/letter for another. The IPA is a written system that references SOUNDS. The sounds are freely available by recording and phonetic description, on the internet as well as elsewhere around the world. Phonetic information is what is needed, transcription does not provide this.

The International Phonetic Alphabet is a standard for writing down pronunciation worldwide. Yemenite Hebrew dialects are known to only a few, and even fewer who know what the IPA is all about. I hereby request that people who 1. know Yemenite Hebrew dialect/s pronunciation well and 2. know or are willing to learn (it is not hard) how the IPA works (you will need to learn how the basics of how phonetics works also - also not hard, even fun!). Such individuals should then make a chart of Yemenite Hebrew pronuncation with IPA letters next to the Hebrew letters. If you can't figure out how to make Hebrew and IPA letters/descriptions here, then you could write the names/descriptions, for example,

Aleph is a glottal stop
Beth with Dagesh is a bilabial plosive
Beth without Dagesh is a bilabial fricative

continuing through the whole list and then doing a separate list for vowels

For a person who is fluent in Yemenite Hebrew to do this would be a very rare wonderful thing!

If you can't do it but know someone who might be able to, please urge them to do it.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:30, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

It amazes me that it has been over a year since I wrote the above comment. So I can easily correct/add to my comment.

I realized that I forgot to add that the Beth/Veth is voiced. This is in symmetrical contrast to Pe/Phe which is unvoiced.

The God of Hebrew is ausome.

By the way, I appreciate the update on the Hebrew using Morag (the Hebrew book) etc. that goes into the dialect differences more thoroughly. Years ago I checked out this book, but since I am not fluent in Hebrew, I couldn't read it all. His colleage Asher Laufer did informative work on the epiglottal aspect of Mizrahi Hebrew by the way. Who did the helpful edit for us non-Hebrew speaking English speakers?

By the way here is a wish: I wish someone would make a language course for English speakers (utilizing Scottish/etc. English) to learn Sharabi? Yemenite/Biblical/Classical Hebrew using the Michel Thomas method. He was a genius in his approach to teaching languages. Perhaps this could be merged somehow with the course/idea by William Rainey Harper (late 1800's Hebrew course from the University of Chicago) that basically taught Hebrew going through the first eight books of Genesis inductively. I know I have very niche tastes but that would be GREAT! By the way, King James Version interlinear course work would be helpful too.

This is not the right name in Hebrew[edit]

Who wrote that Yemenite Hebrew is תימני עברית? Probably someone who doesn't speak Hebrew. Yemenite Hebrew is עברית תימנית or הגייה תימנית (Yemenite pronunciation). And there is no difference between Yemenite and Temani in Hebrew. מתיא (talk) 20:16, 31 October 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. (You should have fixed it yourself). -- -- -- 20:50, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

Biblical Hebrew[edit]

I know most academics state that Biblical Hebrew is "reconstructed", I've heard that most academics consider the Yemenite pronunciation to be the closet in terms of phonology to Biblical Hebrew anyone have any sources or links on this that would be a good thing to add to the article as well.Historylover4 (talk) 13:32, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

The Pronunciation Chart links in External Links are broken. 20:12, 10 December 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by BradGad (talkcontribs)

Fixed. Contributor613 (talk) 20:43, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

heavily influenced by Arabic[edit]

this article states "It is believed by some scholars that its phonology was heavily influenced by spoken Yemeni Arabic" whom are these scholars? I ask because the phonology if Yemenite Hebrew is pretty much identical to reconstructed Masoretic Hebrew acourding to every thing I've seen, the only exceptions being the pronunciation of Gimmel as Jimmela nd Qaf as Gaf, but this is not shared by ALL Yemenites. Also the sentance later on in the article "Hence, pronunciation of Yemenite Hebrew was not only uninfluenced by Arabic, but it influenced the pronunciation of Arabic by the Jews, despite the Jewish presence in Yemen for over a millennium." directly contradicts this article. This Article could also benifit from IPA — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:05, 23/Nov/15

I have always wondered the same. I do not know who added that statement and I was reluctant to change anything stated by the person. I have, however, seen references by Professors Shelomo Dov Goitein and Shelomo Morag concerning some Hebrew words used in Yemen that have been influenced by the Arabic tongue spoken in Yemen, but this is by no means true for all Hebrew words, and seems to be only in rare instances. If you'd like, I can quote from their statements regarding this.Davidbena (talk) 04:03, 24 November 2015 (UTC)