Tuesday, January 2, 2024

From the Children of the Hebrews

וַתֹּאמֶר מִיַּלְדֵי הָעִבְרִים זֶה

It would seem that the pronunciation of the word מילדי is quite crucial. Obviously, when pronounced correctly, it means "from the children of the Hebrews." However, suppose it were to be erroneously pronounced מְיַלְדֵי. Wouldn't that mean "the midwives?" (or, midhusbands, per Michael's comment.) Admittedly, that wouldn't make much sense in context and perhaps need not be corrected. But certainly something to be mindful of.

See the comments.


Michael Koplow said...

Wouldn't it actually mean "midhusbands" (so to speak)?

Shtikler said...

Ah, you mean because it is מילדי as opposed to מילדות. Good point.

Anonymous said...

That depends if you pronounce the יל syllable as a closed syllable or not. If you pronounce it as a closed syllable, there is a big difference, because the word for midwives is מְיַלְּדֵי with a dagesh in the ל.

Shloime said...

Not much of a difference in the reading, because the Minchas Shay (Ma'amar Hama'arich) says that a shevo before a yud is read as a Chirik anyway.

MG said...

IMHO it's the dagesh chazak in the yud that's important, and would make the difference between the two meanings, especially in light of Shloime's comments.
I know, I know: most people are not makpid on dagesh chazak. But then again, most people are not makpid on dikduk. I would hope that those who read this blog do indeed care.

ELIE said...

לפי מה שאני שומע
זה בדרך כלל הפוך
יש קוראים בעיקר אם באו מארצות הברית שקוראים חירק במקום שווא
למשל במלה מֵעַל
עלולים לקרוא
מייאל MIYAL
אבל אם קרא מילדי בשווא במקום חירק
אינני בטוח שצריך להחזיר אותו
אלא אם כן המתקן עומד ליד הקורא
ומתקן אותו בשקט

Art Roth said...

I don't believe the premise that a correction is not necessary when the error doesn't make sense in context. By that argument, the more nonsensical the error, the less need there would be to correct it. Would anyone argue, to make an absurd example, that you wouldn't correct someone who said, "Vayashkeim Par`o babaqar" (instead of baboqer)? Note that there's is a disagreement between the Gr"a and others about a case where the word (in a vacuum) means something different from what's intended, but the whole phrase cannot be interpreted in an incorrect way even if context is ignored, i.e., the error is a different form of the same word (e.g., s"mikhut vs. non-s"mikhut). The most widely accepted practice as I understand it is to be maxmir l"khatxila and meiqil b"dieved. But I don't think there's any disagreement about something like מילדי, where the two possible meanings have no connection to each other at all.