User talk:Msh210/Archive/עם

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עַם vs. עָם[edit]

Hi msh210,

Do you know the difference between a people with a kamats and a people with a patakh? he:עם gives it with a patakh, but then one of the inflected forms it gives is הָעָם — which is the only I entry I've ever seen where it bothers to list the singular definite — and the quotation uses לְעָם, which is indefinite but has a kamats. I don't know what to make of it.

Thanks in advance!

RuakhTALK
13:18, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

AFAICT after a couple of searches, Tanach has it with a patach in construct form (e.g., Esther 3:6) and with a kamatz otherwise (e.g., Numbers 23:9).​—msh210 16:08, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I've edited our inflection line and hewikt's header accordingly.​—msh210 16:10, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps I acted too soon. There are examples of עַם אֲשֶׁר and הִנֵּה עַם יָצָא מִמִּצְרַיִם, neither of which (especailly not the latter) seems like a construct form. Perhaps the difference is actually one of which cantillation symbol is used, with the kamatz form being used on a pause-type and the patach on a continuing-type. I'll have the inspect the cites more carefully to determine whether that possibility is actually correct, which I don't have time for at the moment. For the mean while, I'll undo my edits to the entries.​—msh210 17:22, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Isaiah 1:4 and Isaiah 30:5 have it with a patach on a pausal word. So the only thing I can think of is that only words with pausal cantillation of a certain strength and up (but, as in Esther 3:8, not only the end-of-verse and end-of-half-verse ones) get the kamatz form. Unfortunately, I don't know the relative pausal strengths of the different cantillation symbols (there are something like four levels). I'll ask about am on a listserv I'm on, devoted to such matters, and see if anyone knows.​—msh210 15:17, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! It seems weird that he.wikt (and Even-Shoshan — I'm guessing you probably saw my twice-deleted comment mentioning that Even-Shoshan presents it the same way) would indicate a pausal pronunciation at all, let alone by giving it as part of the definite form; but maybe am's unusual behavior in pausa in the Tanakh led later writers to use patakh when indefinite and kamats when definite, or something like that? Anyway, I'll wait to hear back from you. Thanks again. :-)   —RuakhTALK 15:33, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
In my Ashkenazic pronunciation that distinguishes kamatz and patach, haam sounds right only with a kamatz. Likewise, haaretz sounds right (and AFAIK is right) only with a kamatz, not a segol. I don't know what's going on there, but it can, I suppose, be that am generally has a patach (like eretz has a segol except in pausal form where it has a kamatz) and has a kamatz in the definite anyway. I'll respond here if I get a reply by e-mail.​—msh210 15:37, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Good point about ha'árets. I never noticed before that it doesn't make sense. FWIW, Even-Shoshan presents ha'árets the same way as it does ha'ám. —RuakhTALK 17:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Someone on the listserv responded that it has a patach normally and a kamatz when with pausal cantillation. More specifically, it has a patach normally and a kamatz when it has זקף,‎ אתנחתא, or סוף־פסוק cantillation, except for seventeen times in Tanach it has a kamatz despite not having one of those pausal cantillation marks, which seventeen are listed in the masora magna (to Esther 3:8) as exceptions. I'll edit our entry accordingly.​—msh210 05:07, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Nice work with im, by the way! I don't see the difference between its first two senses, though.​—msh210 05:56, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks! But as I wrote in my edit summary, I really just took the content from he:עם. I don't see the difference there, either. —RuakhTALK 17:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Any objection to combining them, then?​—msh210 17:26, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Be my guest. :-)   —RuakhTALK 19:35, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Will do. I've also added a usage note at [[ארץ]] and [[עם]] indicating the vowelization of the definite form, but perhaps there should be an optional parameter in {{he-noun}} instead, to be used only when the definite form is weird, like these cases. OTOH, perhaps that template is bloated enough as it is: each of those words lists five forms on its inflection line already. What do you think?​—msh210 19:38, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
I think the usage note is best. Someone seeing the special definite form listed in the inflection line is probably going to be just as confused by it as I was. :-P
By the way, the other day, while looking for something else entirely in this book, I came across this in the "In Pause" section, page 313:
  1. The following nouns, when preceded by the definite article, undergo vowel changes:
    אֶרֶץ‎ — ‎הָאָרֶץ‎ ,‎עַם‎ — ‎הָעָם‎ ,‎הַר‎ — ‎הָהָר‎ ,‎חַג‎ — ‎הֶחָג‎ ,‎פַּר‎ — ‎הַפָּר
    (the bull).
and indeed, for each of those, Even-Shoshan agrees. If it weren't for this conversation, I would not have understood why Blumberg put this in his "in pause" section. Actually, even as it is I don't totally understand that, but at least I have some idea.
RuakhTALK 23:56, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
Re usage note, all right then. Re Blumberg, thanks for the info. I guess the entries for har, chag, and par need usage notes, too. I wonder why he translates par and not the others: perhaps there's a homograph par with another meaning (which word I'm unfamiliar with) that has a normal definite form?​—msh210 03:44, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
The book contains a number of short vocabulary lists, as well as a glossary at the back containing all the words that appeared in any of the lists, and par is the only one of those words that doesn't appear there; so I believe that's the (only) reason he translates only par. Even-Shoshan does not give any homographs for par. —RuakhTALK 10:20, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
I've added the usage note to par and har. We don't have a chag entry to add it to, and I'm not sure how many distinct definitions it should have or what they should be, so haven't added it.​—msh210 15:33, 10 June 2011 (UTC)
Great, thank you! —RuakhTALK 17:11, 18 May 2011 (UTC)