The most important Hebrew feature Faithlife (Lexham) could ever have

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Posts 161
David Roberts | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Jan 28 2015 3:46 AM

For pronunciation that is...

Have a look at Genesis 2:15 in Logos...

How do you pronounce/transliterate the last two Hebrew words? Most beginners would say, "l'avda ulshamra." Now take a look at the same verse as published by Machon Simanim in Israel. (Click on the photo below to see it in high resolution)




Now the Hebrew student would say le'ovdah ulshomrah.
Some would say these kinds of distinctions are 'unnecessary' because if one studies all the rules and becomes an expert, they wouldn't need helpful guides like this, but is the Hebrew text in Logos only supposed to be for experts who only all the rules? Or to be accessible and open to those who are new to the language?

The approach of Logos software (and of Lexham with their high definition NT and interlinears) is to make everything as user-friendly and helpful as possible to the non-academic. Of course this doesn't mean scholars don't adore Logos, but that the software is incredibly useful and not limited in scope for scholars only, but is open to the everyone. It is for this very reason that I believe having a Hebrew text like this for students would perfectly fit with the approach of Faithlife.

The next objection the nay sayers will raise is, 'this kind of visual distinction is not that common,' but that's not true at all. Apart from Simanim who publishes ChumashimTanakhsand Siddurim, numerous other Jewish publishers produce 'Tikkun' editions and Siddurim like this, such as:

The Koren Sacks Siddur: A Hebrew/English Prayerbook

Hebrew Daily Prayer Book

And that's not even including Jewish software like 

TropeTrainer™ or Tefillah Trainer™

But the gold standard for pronunciation is Simanim.

They have visual distinctions for whether דגש is קל or גדול,
and numerous other features.

It's an essential and must have feature for every Hebrew student in my honest opinion.

It is my hope that Lexham would consider upgrading their Hebrew Tanakh to have these features in the future sometime...
If they needed help, I have experience with upgrading existing fonts to allow for these possibilities, but the team at Faithlife are so great at what they do, that I doubt they would need any assistance.

Thank you for your consideration.

David R.

Posts 51
David E Haeuser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 28 2015 4:04 AM

I think most beginning grammars will point out that qamets is a long a in open or accented syllables, and short o in unaccented closed (consonant vowel consonant) syllables. When the pointing was developed, one symbol was adopted for two different sounds, but that simple rule will tell you which pronunciation a word with qamets requires.

Posts 161
David Roberts | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 28 2015 4:34 AM

David E Haeuser:

I think most beginning grammars will point out that qamets is a long a in open or accented syllables, and short o in unaccented closed (consonant vowel consonant) syllables. When the pointing was developed, one symbol was adopted for two different sounds, but that simple rule will tell you which pronunciation a word with qamets requires.



And that simple rule is the only thing necessary to recite Hebrew correctly?

Pronounced: Ḥakhema (Here's the word from the BHS/WIVU: חָכְמָ֑ה)

Pronounced: Ḥokhma (Here's the word from the BHS/WIVU: חָכְמָֽה)

As you can see, both words are accented on the last syllable:

חָכְמָ֑ה & חָכְמָֽה

And the beginner will not always know whether the first syllable is open or closed,
but even when the simple rules work, learners forget them all the time.

This is why having the text reinforce those rules is so incredibly beneficial.

Posts 161
David Roberts | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 28 2015 5:55 AM

Here's a further example: Exodus 28 (click to see in HD)

If I were to transcribe ואתה & תדבר from that text, they'd come out as: wə'attɑ & təðabber,
with doubled consonants as a result of the דגש חזק (which are visually different from a דגש קל),
so students never get confusedAlso see Ḥokhma (with the blue line above it). It has a silent שוא with קמץ קטן before it.

But if we look at Zechariah 9:

The Jews are not known for being unintelligent. Israel is known as the start-up nation with incredible advances in medicine and technology. There's a reason so many Jewish publishers have adopted these kinds of distinctions, because it achieves instant results in accurate pronunciation. So students can read the text quickly without having to pause in the middle of a sentence and think, now what's the rule for reading this word? Is there another rule which cancels out this rule? When you're reciting long portions of text in front of your congregation in real-time, there's no time for thinking about rules. Our brain's cpu is already working overtime on the consonants, vowels and accents and trying to keep the flow going.

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 30 2015 11:38 PM

Transcriptions are pronounced differently, depending on the speaker's own language. Thus I would prefer audio.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 1:19 AM

Veli Voipio:

Transcriptions are pronounced differently, depending on the speaker's own language. Thus I would prefer audio.

Which is why I'd like to see a move towards use of the International Phonetic Alphabet ... but I understand why the ambiguous legacy transcriptions dominate.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 161
David Roberts | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 4:55 AM

MJ. Smith:

Which is why I'd like to see a move towards use of the International Phonetic Alphabet ... but I understand why the ambiguous legacy transcriptions dominate.

In my Hebrew classes I use traditional transcriptions for consonants, but the IPA for vowels.

I'm teaching teenagers so I don't really want confuse them with θ instead of th, ʃ for sh, j for y.

But I love the IPA personally.

Posts 9946
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 6:52 AM

David Roberts:

MJ. Smith:

Which is why I'd like to see a move towards use of the International Phonetic Alphabet ... but I understand why the ambiguous legacy transcriptions dominate.

In my Hebrew classes I use traditional transcriptions for consonants, but the IPA for vowels.

I'm teaching teenagers so I don't really want confuse them with θ instead of th, ʃ for sh, j for y.

But I love the IPA personally.

You would do better to teach them to read the Hebrew script without transliteration of any kind.  Are we supposed to suspend our disbelief and accept that transliterating it into Latin characters somehow makes it simpler?

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 9:04 AM

Transliteration is not that bad if you can hide it.

But currently the right-click and the Bible Word Study show the transliteration and as far as I know I cannot turn it off

Gold package, and original language material and ancient text material, SIL and UBS books, discourse Hebrew OT and Greek NT. PC with Windows 8.1

Posts 9946
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 9:16 AM

Veli Voipio:

Transliteration is not that bad if you can hide it.

But currently the right-click and the Bible Word Study show the transliteration and as far as I know I cannot turn it off

And torture isn't so bad if you don't feel it.  Use a plain Hebrew text rather than an interlinear and there will be no transliteration.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 9:23 AM

George Somsel:
Use a plain Hebrew text rather than an interlinear and there will be no transliteration.

I think it's the morph tagging which provides the transliteration - and you can get this outside of interlinear resources - or I could be missing the point totallySmile

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Veli Voipio | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 10:14 AM

Yes, the plain text like BHS does not help. Sad

Actually, I sometimes use a paper which I've cut to a suitable form to hide the transliteration.Cool

Or if I use the pronunciation tool as such it does not have any transliteration and I hope nobody in FL gets the idea to do it there. Smile

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Posts 433
Vincent Setterholm | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 12:35 PM

Thanks for the suggestion, David. I think these kinds of editions are interesting. I've consulted them on occasion - when I'm unsure of where the accent falls on a word with a post-positive or a pre-positive accent (where the position of the accent doesn't necessarily tell you the normal stress syllable) or to find out what a metheg is doing (metheg being a symbol that has a wide variety of uses - these editions don't codify the metheg uses, but you can see what effect, if any, they have on nearby qametses and shewas). Despite the fact that they may represent a reading tradition that is relatively modern (or at least post-Masoretic), it's still useful to get a native speaker's read on some words.

The main problem with producing an edition like this in Logos is that there's no way to represent these texts using Unicode. You'd need two code points for shewa, for instance - one for vocal, one for silent. You'd need two dagesh code points as well. You'd probably end up needing an extra code point for the quiescent alef (assuming that the wide alef code point is being used for something else, like the rare alef-mappiq combo or other places to ensure the glottal stop is pronounced where someone might be tempted to treat it as a matres lectionis). Unicode does already have two code points for qamets and for holem. Some editions would have additional challenges: for example the one on my desk marks the accent syllable, if it differs from the pre-positive or post-positive accent, by repeating the accent in light grey (to show it isn't in the text) over the expected letter. In Unicode, a single glyph covers the combination of a consonant and all the combining marks on that consonant, so introducing a color change (like black to grey) between a consonant (or vowel) and an accent would break the glyph look-up, so the marks would be positioned wrong - possibly with additional dotted circles inserted into the text, depending on the text rendering engine/platform used to display the text. Perhaps one could work-around these limitations, but the most obvious work-arounds would involve more Unicode code points for the pre-positive and post-positive accents (for example giving the extra pashta a slightly different shape instead of a grey color). Someone really clever with font design chops could use a custom font with code points from the combining diacritical range to accomplish MOST of what is needed, but then the resulting text would only function with one, non-standard font, and wouldn't index/search as expected - and would require non-standard keyboards to encode text or type out search strings - all of which defeats (some of) the points of using Unicode.

So the first step to doing something like this would be having someone write a formal proposal for the set of new code points needed and their behavior and shepherd it through the Unicode committees. Since there is a well established publishing history for editions like this, it strikes me as possible to get changes like this approved, but sometimes I'm surprised by what Unicode won't consider. Then you'd have to wait for the changes to be implemented by the software vendors who support Unicode and get the work done in the relevant fonts to support this representation. Of course, we'd also need to be able to license one of these texts (probably before we bothered to put any work into the technical solution), and that has all the normal challenges of forming a new relationship with a print publisher we haven't worked with before. I do actually like the idea, but it does feel a long way off. Alternately, if one didn't care about searching, you might be able to do some of print replica that was basically just images of each page with some work put in to help navigate to the right verse. We're not really set up for those kinds of resources at present, but if we ever do have a decent solution for facsimiles, I'll refloat this idea.

Posts 990
John Goodman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 1:14 PM

Personally I really want to purchase a Hebrew Audio Bible from Logos - I love using one already but I would find it handy in Logos.

גַּם־חֹשֶׁךְ֮ לֹֽא־יַחְשִׁ֪יךְ מִ֫מֶּ֥ךָ וְ֭לַיְלָה כַּיּ֣וֹם יָאִ֑יר כַּ֝חֲשֵׁיכָ֗ה כָּאוֹרָֽה

Posts 161
David Roberts | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 4:43 PM

George Somsel:

And torture isn't so bad if you don't feel it.  Use a plain Hebrew text rather than an interlinear and there will be no transliteration.

I'm talking about introductory lessons where they need to make a mental connection to the sound of the Hebrew letters and vowels for the first time.

Of course, we should quickly move off transliterations to the Hebrew text.

To me any sort of transliterations are like training wheels which should be removed as soon as the individual has the strength to stand.

Posts 9946
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 5:06 PM

David Roberts:

George Somsel:

And torture isn't so bad if you don't feel it.  Use a plain Hebrew text rather than an interlinear and there will be no transliteration.

I'm talking about introductory lessons where they need to make a mental connection to the sound of the Hebrew letters and vowels for the first time.

Of course, we should quickly move off transliterations to the Hebrew text.

To me any sort of transliterations are like training wheels which should be removed as soon as the individual has the strength to stand.

They don't need training wheels.  Right from the start have them learn the aleph-bet.  NEVER use a transliteration.  I still have trouble using a transliteration.  That's one of the problems I have with the Anchor Yale Bible commentaries.  Usually I look up the passage in my BHW.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 161
David Roberts | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 31 2015 5:11 PM

Vincent Setterholm:
 Thanks for the suggestion, David. I think these kinds of editions are interesting. I've consulted them on occasion 

They're helpful aren't they?

Vincent Setterholm:
the first step to doing something like this would be having someone write a formal proposal for the set of new code points needed and their behavior and shepherd it through the Unicode committees.

I was on the Unicode forums many years ago and they essentially said because these visual distinctions are not universal in Hebrew texts, but are limited to certain religious educational books, so consequentially Unicode will not allocate code points for them, however they did end up adding קמץ קטן years ago.

But here's the thing, Unicode does provide empty areas for miscellaneous purposes. I used that space myself to make a Font that can render what you see in the text. It's not too difficult. If I made time, I'm sure I could figure out how to do coloured/greyscale fonts as an Opentype Font.

Here's what my current font looks like which I use with my students.

She is wise with an abundance of wisdom. Ḥɑkhəmɑ bərov ḥokhmɑ


But here's what it looks like with the Logos font SBL Hebrew:

Best regards!

Posts 1
zalmen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 3 2017 8:19 PM

may i ask which fonr that making קמץ קטן are you using ? and where i can get it ?

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