Letter: “Two Letters, Big Difference”?

To the Editor:

CU’s Spring 2019 Coloradan featured an article about Hebrew. The piece, written by Sam Linnerooth, is called “Two Letters, Big Difference.”  The title is a misnomer.

Linnerooth’s article explains how a “third gender” for Hebrew words is created by adding the “eh suffix.”  The “eh” ending, though, is a vowel sound. “Two letters” were not added.

The Hebrew example in the piece (the Hebrew word for student) shows the feminine form of the word retaining the last letter—hey–or the “h”. The vowel before the hey changed from a kamatz  ( “ah” sound typically used in the feminine form of the word) to a segol (“eh” sound typically used in the masculine form of the word). In short, the “eh” ending blends masculine and feminine endings, but the “e” is not a Hebrew letter.I hope CU’s alumni publication will clarify the issue and make a correction. (And, for the record, there should have been a dagesh (a dot) in the tav–the first Hebrew letter in the word for student.)

E. Bell, a CU graduate who used to work for Congregation Har HaShemHouston, TX

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