Vocalization (writing)

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Vocalization, or vocalization, is the process of adding vowel characters to a consonant script .

The scripts of the Semitic languages initially only consisted of characters for consonants . The root inflection , which is particularly pronounced in these languages , means that the meaning is changed by changing the vowels while maintaining the consonants. In order to make the texts more clearly legible, dots and lines were introduced above and below the consonants to denote the vowels from the Middle Ages.

Hebrew script

The Hebrew alphabet initially only contained characters for consonants. Long before the Masoretes, the consonant signs Alef (for a), Waw (for o and u), Jod (for e and i) and He at the end (for a) were used as mater lectionis for long vowels. However, the usage is irregular and it is no longer clear in every case whether a sign should be pronounced as a consonant or a vowel. The vocalization of the Hebrew scriptures went hand in hand with the work of the Masoretes , who worked on the most precise possible transmission of the sacred texts. Therefore, the consonants were supplemented by dotting with vowels. These are different dots and lines, partly below (infralinear), above (supralinear) or in the letters of the square script .

Various puncturing systems, some of which are interdependent, were used:

  • the babylonian system (supralinear)
  • the Palestinian system (supralinear)
  • the Tiberian system (infralinear).

Ultimately, the Tiberian system of the Masorete family Ben Ascher prevailed, see Aaron ben Mosche ben Ascher .

The choice of vowels was problematic and sometimes controversial to this day, since the Hebrew language was hundreds of years away from the language of the consonant text at the time of the vocalization.

Modern New Hebrew ( Ivrith ) is usually written without punctuation , but uses punctuation called Nikud mainly for poetry as well as religious and children's literature.

Arabic writing

The Arabic alphabet also initially only contained characters for consonants, some of which were even identical in terms of the typeface (see History of Arabic script ). For the Koran in particular, this resulted in many extremely disturbing ambiguities in the interpretation.

Initially, the semi-consonants Alif (for a), Waw (for u), Ya (for i) were used as symbols for the long vowels and the Hamza was added to mark the original consonant pronunciation (', w, j). Later, the short vowels were also marked by a system of red dots: a point above = a, a point below = i, a point on the line = u, and double points denoted a nunation . However, this was very tedious and easily confused with the diacritical black dots to distinguish the letters. Therefore, the current system was introduced around a hundred years later (in the 7th century AD).

For the short vowels in modern Arabic there are various diacritical marks for the vocalization, which in Arabic are called Tashkil or Harakat.

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Vocalization  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: vocalization  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations