Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Part 26 WAW versus VAV

There is a debate on whether the 6th letter ו of the Hebew alphabet is
Most of the modern day scholars claim that it is the letter vav. There are others who claim that this is not so, it is the letter waw.
If you go to Israel now you will hear the modern Israeli Hebrew, they pronounce the 6th letter ו as a V. Because so many modern teachers of biblical Hebrew have studied in Israel, this pronunciation is becoming quite common in the teaching of biblical Hebrew.
There is no real question that in biblical times the 6th letter ו was pronounced as W (as in west)
But the shift to the V pronunciation has a clear analogy. In classical times, Latin V was pronounced like English W. But as time passed,
pronunciation changed, so that in Ecclesiastical Latin it is now pronounced as V.
I prefer the classical, ancient pronunciation, and that is what you will see recommended in "A Modern Grammar For Biblical Hebrew." There is more to this than a stubborn belief that "the old is better." The 6th letter ו was used for U-class vowels ( vowels like English O and U). This makes sense when the 6th letter ו is pronounced as a labial (like W), but it
makes no sense when the 6th letter ו is pronounced as a labiodental fricative (like V). After all, U is a labial produced with rounded lips, just as W is.
The bible states that there is to be no change in the law. The law contains the name of the Almighty so it is not to be changed.
The Almighty's name in Hebrew is
(Yowd Shewa He Chowlam Waw Qametz He)
יְ ה וׇֹ ה Y E H O W A H


  1. This is very interesting because I use the Name of Yehowah as well. :) What sources did you use for coming to this conclusion?

    Thank you,
    Audrey Hayes

    1. Hi Audrey Hayes. One simple fact is that there were no V's in the Aramaic language, which is very similar to the older Hebrew language. The change from Waw to Vav is a MODERN Hebrew teaching. Here is a some links you maybe interested in.