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On Mar 16, 2005, at 11:55 AM, Chris Bates wrote:
> I know nothing about Hebrew. Is the uvular r of some speakers a german
> borrowing?

It seems to be influence from German/Yiddish and/or other Central and
Eastern European languages.  Some theorize, however, that Classical
Tiberian Hebrew also had a uvular R, due to its inclusion in the
category of _gutterals_.  However, unlike the pharyngeal consonants,
/r/ doesn't 'drag vowels with it' to be /a/, which is why i'm more of a
fan of the theory that /r/ was originally a dental/alveolar flap/tap or
trill.  The main quality of 'guttural' consonants in Hebrew is their
resistance to being geminates, which in the case of a flap/tap or
trilled front R also makes sense.


-Stephen (Steg)
  "...i took the cane from a blind man,
   i tasted the fruit in the garden of eden -
   when i walk out of here, you know i'll stand clear;
   but the taste in my mouth still remains, still remains..."
      ~ 'eden' by guster