Thursday, June 14, 2012

A trup tutorial: kadma vs. pashta

Summary: How to distinguish between the melech and mesharet. Why the pashta will sometimes be repeated in a word. And in an interesting instance, where the pashta is not repeated, what that means in terms of stress. I argue with Chelek HaDikduk. Or perhaps I don't.

Post: Here is a quick lesson on trup. There are two trup symbols which look alike. One is a connective trup symbol, and is called a kadma. The other is a separating trup symbol, and is called a pashta. They both appear over the word, as a curved line: ר

In the pasuk below (Bemidbar 15:3), there is a kadma on the first word, vaasitem. And there is a pashta on the word laHashem, at the end of the first line.

How can we distinguish between them, if they appear orthographically identical? The answer is in the placement of the symbol. If it appears over the last letter, then it is a pashta. If it appears elsewhere, then it is a kadma.

When it is a kadma, the symbol is placed over the location of the stress. Since vaasitem is stressed on the last syllable, it is placed over the ת. What about the pashta? Since it must be placed on the last letter, it does not grant us any information about where to stress the word, mile'eil or milera. Luckily, most words in Hebrew have stress on the last symbol.

However, sometimes -- I don't think consistently across all manuscripts and in all places -- the pashta symbol is repeated. This does NOT mean that one should try to sing the melody of pashta twice on the word. Rather, the masoretes are helping out by indicating the place of stress. The first pashta indicated where the stress lies, while the second, over the final letter of the word, indicates that we are dealing with a pashta rather than a kadma.

In the pasuk above (15:3), see the dual pashta on neder and on nichoach. This is because the words are to be stressed as NEder and niCHOach.

However, Minchat Shai notes:
 נִיחֹחַ ־ בפשט האחרון לבד בס״ס

"Nichoach: With only the last pashta in sefarim sefardiim."

So too Or Torah:
נִיחֹחַ ־ בפשט האחרון לבד

The Teimanim maintain this in their texts (we might as well -- I didn't look):

Note the last pashta only. And so too later, in 15:24, when the word recurs with a pashta.

But Chelek HaDikduk says something pretty weird and ridiculous (IMHO) regarding this, unless I am totally misunderstanding him -- certainly a possibility I will grant:

"The word re'ach nichoach is with a single pashta, and it is milera. And so too in Yerushalmiim {manuscripts}. And this is the position of Rabbi Menachem Lunzano {=Or Torah}."

It seems as if he is saying that, since there is only one pashta, it is the default pronunciation, which is milera. And so the stress is not where you would place it were we to have that second pashta, namely mile'eil, on the cho syllable.

The reason this would be ridiculous is two-fold.
  1. First, the /ach/ at the end of the word is not really a syllable. Gutturals, such as chet, ayin, and (mapik) heh are difficult to pronounce. So, when we have certain closed syllables which would be hard to end with this guttural letter, we insert a little patach glide. It is not pronounced as a full patach. Try saying nichoח, pronouncing the chets correctly, like a Yemenite Jew would. Similarly, my name. Yehoshuע, is difficult to pronounce. So, it becomes nichoaח and yehoshuaע. If so, of course it is pronounced milera. But pronouncing it milera means that the stress would be on the cho, not on the ach. And that is likely why the masoretes did not bother putting that second pashta in place.
  2. Indeed, we see elsewhere in the parsha, in between these two nichoachs with pashta, another nichoach. See 15:10, where it appears with a single tipcha, and the stress is just where it should be, on cho.
In defense of Chelek HaDikduk, all I can say is that I am most likely misreading it, and (1) is precisely what Chelek HaDikduk intended. See the text above and see how this can be read into his words.

1 comment:

AA said...

What happens when the last syllable is one letter long, has the accent, and it has a pashta/kadma? How can one tell them apart


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