Re: DATZ and SATZ Families from Mogilev-Podol'sk #ukraine


When the sound of a letter changes, the members of a language community have a choice. They can keep the original spelling and accept the change in sound or they can respell words including names to retain, as nearly as possible, the original sound. It is not unusual for both of these processes to occur.

In 1950 at the time of my bar-mitzvah, the conservative and reform congregations in the USA made a political decision to adopt Israeli pronunciation. Most Ashkenazi orthodox congregations did not do this. Among conservative and reform Jews, the sound of the Hebrew letter sof became T and the name of the Sabbath became shaBAT. Among most of the orthodox it remained SHAbos.

In ancient times, the Hebrew letter shin had a dental D/T-sound. The Hebrew word SHeN (tooth) is cognate with Latin dent- and Greek δόντι (dónti). The Hebrew word LaSHoN (tongue) is cognate with the word "Latin", the "tongue" of the Romans.

So, when the sound of the letter shin changed to S or SH, some families kept the original spelling and accepted the new sound. Others changed that letter to a dalet to retain the original dental sound .

You are correct about Shatz also being a phonetically related name.

For a more extensive (but still not complete) list of ancient sound changes to Hebrew letters, see the attached SoundChangeHandOut file. You may treat this material as public domain except for the graphic (which I did not make) in the attached Word docx file.

Israel "Izzy" Cohen

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