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Re: Rafe (was RE: Yiddish spelling)

From:Dan Sulani <dnsulani@...>
Date:Wednesday, January 26, 2000, 9:41
    On 26 Jan, Steg wrote:

>On Tue, 25 Jan 2000 16:56:35 -0600 raccoon@ELKNET.NET writes: >> Ok, I've held my tongue long enough. What's rafe? >> >> Eric Christopherson >> >. > >It's a Hebrew script diacritic that looks just like a macron on top of >the letter, but in handwriting commonly comes out more like a raised, >45-degree angled apostraphe. It's used to mark softened consonants and >non-Hebrew consonants. For instance, the letter _pei_ /p/ can be [p] or >[f] depending on place in the word. Usually in Hebrew a _dagesh_, a dot >inside the character, would be used to specify the [p], but in Yiddish >and Ladino a _rafeh_ is used to specify the [f]. It has other uses in >Modern Hebrew and Ladino usage, also, to mark non-Hebrew consonants such >as /dZ/ (gimel), /Z/ (zayin in Israel, shin in Ladino), /tS/ or Arabic >/d<A>/ (tsadi), /G/ (`ayin). From what i've seen, besides the Israeli >usage for /dZ/, /tS/ and Arabic sounds, rafeh is used most commonly in >vocalized texts in order not to mark a soft consonant but to mark a _shva >na`_, /@/, which is indistinguishable from the vowelless sign (they look >like {:}) if you don't know complicated grammatical rules. > > >-Stephen (Steg) > "...meanwhile the song plays!" >
FWIW, my Yiddish-English, English-Yiddish dictionary does use the raphe; words with and without are listed separately. This was compiled by the linguist and Yiddish scholar Uriel Weinreich. (1968). _However_, just to add to the confusion, in the books I have in Yiddish, for example by Sholom Aleichem (published in the US in 1918) or Y. L. Peretz (published in the US in 1920), there is no use of the raphe. Where Weinreich would use a raphe, these books use the Hebrew letter without the dagesh (dot in the middle). Where Weinreich uses a dagesh, so do these books. In the Yiddish books I have, which were printed in the late 1970's - early 1980's, here in Israel, sometimes they use the dagesh and the raphe, sometimes they use neither. Dan Sulani -------------------------------------------------------------------- likehsna rtem zuv tikuhnuh auag inuvuz vaka'a. A word is an awesome thing.