This impressive study analyzes the form of biblical Hebrew that was canonized by the Masoretes, Jewish religious and language scholars who were centered in Tiberias in the late first millennium C.E. The grammatical system of the Masoretes is the key to understanding the Hebrew Bible, and yet because of its tremendous complexity, the system has often been neglected. This study of Tiberian Hebrew phonology is a valuable contribution toward a fuller understanding of Masoretic grammar. The sound system of biblical Hebrew is quite distinct from that of modern Hebrew and is the most elaborate of all the attested Semitic languages. Dr. Malone's thorough analysis describes this sound system in light of both recent linguistic study (generative phonology) and his own far-ranging work on other Semitic languages. The results of his work are stated in the form of phonological rules that will assist the biblical Hebrew scholar in understanding phonology and its impact on Hebrew grammar. The reader will find much value in the elaborate charts and diagrams throughout the book, especially chapter 10, which illustrates the derivations of the first twenty verses of the Book of Genesis, and chapter 12, which presents an inventory of Tiberian Hebrew words and phrases of particular interest. A glossary and bibliography complete the book.
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