Re: Schapsel name equivalents #general

David Ziants <dziants@...>

from walmeleh@... (WAlmeleh):
.... snipped ....
Does anyone know what the Hebrew equivalent of the Yiddish
Schapsel would be?
... snipped ...

To which I replied:
Shepsel is a nickname for Shabtai, or in Ashkenazi pronunciation
The name in Hebrew is spelt: shin,bet,tav,yud .

Some of the responses transliterated the name as Shabatai, etc.,
indicating a vowel under the Hebrew letter bet. This vowel should
be a vocalised "sh'va" (a very short "e" sound), and although the
"Shabatai" transliterations are still not one hundred percent because
they give an "a" rather than an "e", they are better than the one
I (and a few other people) provided.

The reason why the "sh'va" under the bet is vocalised and not silent
is because within the Mesora (traditional rendering) where the name
apppears in the K'tuvim ("Writings", third part of Tanach=Bible) the
bet has a dagesh (dot) which implies that this becomes
a separate syllable, thus the following tav which concludes this
syllable does not have a dagesh and is pronounced softly;
(for example as an "s" in Ashkenazi pronunciation).

Thus we have Shab-besai in Ashkenazi pronunciation.

In the hypothetical situation that there was not a dagesh in the bet
we would have in Ashkenazi pronunciation Shav-tai (i.e. the bet being
without a dagesh is "v" and is now at the end of the syllable, and
the tav with a dagesh is "t" and is now starting the next syllable).
Although both Shavtai and my previous Shabtai are easier on the lips,
and often Yiddish words and names grew >from a "lazy" Hebrew, I have
no idea whether these could ever be accepted as formal Yiddish
alternatives. Maybe, I have just made up a new Yiddish name (<grin>).

Now back to correct Hebrew, and having noticed my error in my previous
posting, I looked up some English translations where the name appears
in the Tanach, for example in Nechemia 8:7. The transliteration
by Koren publications gives Shabbetay, and in an older translation I
have, this is rendered Shabbethai (note double "b" which implies a
bet with dagesh and thus a pronounced sh'va indicated by the e and a
"th" for soft tav in the older transliteration/translation).

Thank you for bearing with a posting which goes into technical grammar
details, but having noticed my imprecision I didn't want to proliferate

In today's day-to-day spoken Hebrew, it seems that many people
would forget the vocalised "sh'va" in this name and pronounce
this Shabtai but this is not accurate Hebrew, and I doubt
that it would be tolerated on the Israeli radio and TV news.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

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