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Sunday, August 07, 2005

Taf Luck




For some reason, the comments on my last post got off on a tangent about the pronunciation of the Hebrew letter "Taf". Some pronounce it in the Ashkenazic way of "Saf" when there is no dot in the middle. Others pronounce it as "Taf" regardless of the dot, as the Sephardim do. This may be confusing to my non-Jewish or non-Hebrew speaking readers.

Here's a cute cartoon on the subject: Taf to pronounce

9 comments:

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Don't forget that Yemenites pronounce the dotless ("soft") form as thaf (like "thing", not like "the"), and Italkim pronounce it as daf.

I have an Italki friend who goes by the Hebrew name Matisyahu (in the Ashkenazic pronunciation), but i keep on bugging him to call himself Matidjahu as a proper Italki would! ;-)

Irina Tsukerman said...

Who are Italkim?

Stacey said...

This reminds me of when I was in 3rd grade in Sunday School and Mrs. Mendelsohn taught us the Sephardic ("t") pronunciation. My father about had a cow. He went in and had a talk with her about it.

PsychoToddler said...

Irina: My guess would be Italian.

My uncle David was a Holocaust survivor from Galicia (Poland), and he had the most horrendous accent (which, surprisingly, I hear more often now as the Chassidishe kids in Milwaukee come back from school in NY). When we bentched (said the blessing) after the meal on Shabbos I would sit on his lap and try to correct him.

"You're saying it ALL WRONG!! It's not BOOREECH ATOO, It's BARUCH ATAH!!"

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Italkim are *native* Italian Jews. Today most Jews from Italy are Ashkenazim or Sefardim.

Jack's Shack said...

My father would smile if he read this post.

PsychoToddler said...

Jack: Why? Is your dad Polish? or Italian? or Taf?

rabbi neil fleischmann said...

A Conservatively educated worker in the camp I work in asked me recently if the T sound for that letter is the Ashkenazic way, she thought it was because her school and community is Ashkenazic and pronounces it that way. I tried to explain that I think it has something to do with zionism. More likely than always pronouncing it that way, they probably do ashkesfard, that's what the schools I went to did. My students in HS are all used to the T, even though it's an Ashkenazic crowd. When I say braisa it drives them nuts. But what self respecting man who spent any time in yeshiva can say braiTa?

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

rabbi fleischmann:

my first Gemara teacher was horrible. he made me hate gemara for almost three years, until the subsequent influence of good teachers overcame my initial bad experience. he also happened to have a very traditional Ashkenazic way of reading Talmud.

my second Gemara teacher was the first one to turn me around and point me towards liking the subject. he's Syrian, and so i still automaticly learn Talmud (and read Aramaic in general) with a very Syrian-influenced pronunciation.