Re: upsilon (and Hebrew vav/waw)

From: David Moore (
Date: Sun Feb 04 1996 - 15:21:00 EST

On Sun, 4 Feb 1996, Noam & Joan Hendren wrote:

> > David Moore wrote:
> > >On Fri, 2 Feb 1996, Stephen C Carlson wrote:
> > >> As for DAUID, Greek at the time did not have a 'v' sound, so upsilon
> > >> (or beta) would be the closest sound to represent it. This does not
> > >> necessarily imply that upsilon had that sound, just that it was the
> > >> closest.
> > >
> > > It is probably good to note that the Hebrew waw, which figures in
> the
> > >Hebrew of "David," may not have originally represented the "v" sound.
> > >Gesenius, in his grammar, classifies the waw as "sonant" rather than
> > >labial or labio-dental (p. 35).
> >
> > Waw was probably a sonant, or else the plene spelling in Hebrew will make
> > little sense, as well as the sound of the digamma. The only issue, of
> > course, is when waw came to be a vav, so to speak, and I have no > > >
> additional information about that...
> >
> > Stephen Carlson
> > - --
> Yemenite Jews of today continue to pronounce the vav as waw. Whether this
> is a holdover from ancient pronunciation due to the community's relative
> isolation or simply an influence from Arabic pronunciation (waw not vav), I
> am not aware. I understand that classical Arabic has remained relatively
> stable over the centuries; perhaps the Yemenite Hebrew has followed suit.
> Noam Hendren <>

        That is interesting information. It would be especially
interesting to look at some of the transliterations of Hebrew into Greek
letters that were made in the first centuries A.D.

        Also, that the holem and shurek have the purely vowel sounds "o"
and "u" respectively, may be an indication that, at least at the time
these developed, the waw had no (contact) labial or labio-dental value.

David L. Moore Southeastern Spanish District
Miami, Florida of the Assemblies of God Department of Education

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