Greek for Cherubim?

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Keenir
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Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Keenir » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 06:42

How did the word cherub/cherubim change - if it did change - from its original Hebrew pronounciation, to its Septuagint Greek pronounciation?

I'm planning to make a short story this week, and I want one character's title/name derived from the later pronounciation which had been adopted by the naming lang I'm making for the story. Even if the naming lang doesn't progress much, I will share it and the story here.

thank you.

wikipedia says
A cherub (/ˈtʃɛrəb/;[1] also pl. cherubim; Hebrew: כְּרוּב‎‎ kərūv, pl. כְּרוּבִים‎, kərūvîm; Latin cherub, pl. cherubin, cherubim; Syriac ܟܪܘܒܐ) is one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different roles; their original duty having been the protection of the Garden of Eden.[2] Angelic status is not attributed to cherubim in the Old Testament (at least not explicitly);[3] only in later sources such as De Coelesti Hierarchia are they identified as a hierarchical rank of angels.[4]
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Ahzoh » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 07:54

It comes from the palatalization of velars, often before front vowels or sometimes just because (unconditional palatalization). Consider the history of the words shirt and skirt (this comes from the Northumberland dialect which did not undergo palatalization at the time), fish (as opposed to a more Latinate pesc- or Germanic fisk), and church and Kirk (also from Northumberland).
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Keenir
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Keenir » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 08:45

Ahzoh wrote:It comes from the palatalization of velars, often before front vowels or sometimes just because (unconditional palatalization). Consider the history of the words shirt and skirt (this comes from the Northumberland dialect which did not undergo palatalization at the time), fish (as opposed to a more Latinate pesc- or Germanic fisk), and church and Kirk (also from Northumberland).
ah, okay; and the IPA pronounciation at the wiki site - is that the palatalized Greek or the unpalatalized Hebrew? (something can always be made more palatalized, yes?)

thank you.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Ahzoh » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 09:16

Keenir wrote:
Ahzoh wrote:It comes from the palatalization of velars, often before front vowels or sometimes just because (unconditional palatalization). Consider the history of the words shirt and skirt (this comes from the Northumberland dialect which did not undergo palatalization at the time), fish (as opposed to a more Latinate pesc- or Germanic fisk), and church and Kirk (also from Northumberland).
ah, okay; and the IPA pronounciation at the wiki site - is that the palatalized Greek or the unpalatalized Hebrew? (something can always be made more palatalized, yes?)

thank you.
Hebrew is the original, so palatalized Greek.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Ànradh » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 09:19

I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kʰeruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Frislander » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 10:47

Ànradh wrote:I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kʰeruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Indeed: palatalisation of velars is not a Greek feature: it must have occurred after the word was borrowed into Latin, where it would be palatalised on the way to the daughter languages. The fact that the initial consonant is a postalveolar affricate would suggest that in English it is an ecclesiastical borrowing from Italian-influenced mediaeval Latin.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by shimobaatar » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 11:26

Frislander wrote:
Ànradh wrote:I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kʰeruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Indeed: palatalisation of velars is not a Greek feature: it must have occurred after the word was borrowed into Latin, where it would be palatalised on the way to the daughter languages. The fact that the initial consonant is a postalveolar affricate would suggest that in English it is an ecclesiastical borrowing from Italian-influenced mediaeval Latin.
Just to clarify… I'm pretty sure velars are palatalized before front vowels in at least Modern Greek, although not to the degree that they were in Latin's descendants.

I'm pretty sure you're right about it being a borrowing from a Romance language, though.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Lambuzhao » Mon 05 Jun 2017, 11:54

Ànradh wrote:I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kheruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Frislander wrote: Palatalization not a feature
It is pretty well night absolutely NOT a feature of the Greek of Septuagint time. However the frication of the /k kh/ or the fortitionof the /v b/ are easily explained by diachronic (and synchronic) pronunciational variants of Hebrew.


While it may occur in one or another modern :ell: dialect, the pronunciation with the /tʃɛ/ in the :eng: words most certainly came from:

1) a Medieval borrowing-cum-pronunciation from either French, or (Ecclesiastical) Latin (cf. chapel, chaplet, chattle, champagne, charnel, chase, etc)

2) a sound-change inherent in English itself (Cf. church, ~chester, chalk, cheese, etc [ironically, I think these are all paulo-post-basolect loanwords from :lat: (!)... oh, mebbe church is not, if you accept the :got: kelikn as an East Germ. thumbprint of an earlier :grc: kyriake yadda yadda yadda] ) ]

3) Both :ita: and :esp: (and quite possibly~certainly other Romance dials) retain a hard [k] .
Cf.
:ita: cherubino
:esp: querubín

4) The :lat: orthography /ch/ is absolutely NO indication of an affricated pronunciation during Latin or later times. Sometimes it was spelled /h/
E.g.
mihi or michi 1SG.DAT
*[mi.hi]
*[mi.khi]
*[mi.χi]
And I have even heard suggested simply *[mi.Ɂi] or [mi:]

[cross] [cross] [mi.tʃi] {though, if I recall correctly, German and Polish Ecclesiatical :lat: pronunciations of /ch/ are [tʃ] (?!?) }
[:)]
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Shemtov » Tue 06 Jun 2017, 20:54

Ànradh wrote:I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kʰeruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Sumelic » Tue 06 Jun 2017, 21:06

Shemtov wrote:
Ànradh wrote:I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kʰeruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
As far as I know, we don't know that for certain. If Greek aspirates had already been lenited to fricatives at the time of the translation, it is harder, although not impossible, to explain why φ θ χ were used to transcribe Semitic stops.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Shemtov » Tue 06 Jun 2017, 21:17

Sumelic wrote:
Shemtov wrote:
Ànradh wrote:I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kʰeruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
As far as I know, we don't know that for certain. If Greek aspirates had already been lenited to fricatives at the time of the translation, it is harder, although not impossible, to explain why φ θ χ were used to transcribe Semitic stops.
Semitic non-emphatic stops, in the Jewish languages of the period at least (ie. Hebrew the various dialects of Judeo-Aramaic) had /f θ x/ as allophones. We find, for example, that Chi is consistently used for Kaf (Chaldee is the example that comes to mind) and Kappa is used for Quf (Habakkuk would be an example, as would Ezekiel). And it goes the other way- the Talmud transcribes "Lukos" with a Quf and my real name, Kalman, is of Greek origin, being originally the short form for Kalonymous (Good name- thus my handle) and I write it in Hebrew with a Quf, and ancient sources for Kalonymous transcribe it with a Quf.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Sumelic » Tue 06 Jun 2017, 21:58

Shemtov wrote:
Sumelic wrote:
Shemtov wrote:
Ànradh wrote:I'm reasonably certain it's just Χεροὺβ /kʰeruːb/ in the Septuagint, unless I'm very much mistaken, in which case there's been no palatalisation here.
Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
As far as I know, we don't know that for certain. If Greek aspirates had already been lenited to fricatives at the time of the translation, it is harder, although not impossible, to explain why φ θ χ were used to transcribe Semitic stops.
Semitic non-emphatic stops, in the Jewish languages of the period at least (ie. Hebrew the various dialects of Judeo-Aramaic) had /f θ x/ as allophones. We find, for example, that Chi is consistently used for Kaf (Chaldee is the example that comes to mind) and Kappa is used for Quf (Habakkuk would be an example, as would Ezekiel). And it goes the other way- the Talmud transcribes "Lukos" with a Quf and my real name, Kalman, is of Greek origin, being originally the short form for Kalonymous (Good name- thus my handle) and I write it in Hebrew with a Quf, and ancient sources for Kalonymous transcribe it with a Quf.
The Semitic non-emphatic stop phonemes (both voiceless and voiced) had fricative allophones used in coda position and intervocalically, but it is difficult to view the existence of these fricative allophones in Judeo-Aramaic as an adequate explanation for the use of [f θ x] in Greek word-initially, after other consonants, and as the second elements of "geminates" like Σαπφείρη, Ματθίας, and Ζακχαῖος (thanks to Lambuzhao below for that last example), since as far as I know the fricative allophone of a non-emphatic stop was never used in Semitic directly after another consonant or in a geminate consonant.
Last edited by Sumelic on Tue 06 Jun 2017, 22:54, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Lambuzhao » Tue 06 Jun 2017, 22:51

Though the Pali/Sanskrit loanword σάκχαρον saccharum 'sugar' leapt to mind, a more Semitic example in the velar neighborhood includes Zaccheus Ζακχαῖος.

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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Ànradh » Thu 08 Jun 2017, 03:16

Shemtov wrote:Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
Entirely possible, but I couldn't find a solid answer on that, so I defaulted to the more conservative pronunciation. I even saw suggestions of /xeruːv/.
Sin ar Pàrras agus nì sinne mar a thogras sinn. Choisinn sinn e agus ’s urrainn dhuinn ga loisgeadh.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Rheddie » Sat 10 Jun 2017, 23:28

The English pronunciation might even be a spelling pronunciation. I don't know. Loads of other languages seem to have /k/. /k/ in Latin would have regularly given /s/ before /e/ in French, not /ʧ/. Does anybody know how it is actually pronounced in French? It is spelled with ch but that is sometimes /k/ in Greek loanwords.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Shemtov » Sun 11 Jun 2017, 07:57

Rheddie wrote:The English pronunciation might even be a spelling pronunciation. I don't know. Loads of other languages seem to have /k/. /k/ in Latin would have regularly given /s/ before /e/ in French, not /ʧ/. Does anybody know how it is actually pronounced in French? It is spelled with ch but that is sometimes /k/ in Greek loanwords.
IIRC, at the time of the Norman invasion <che> was pronounced /ʧe/.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Astraios » Sun 09 Jul 2017, 14:10

Ànradh wrote:
Shemtov wrote:Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
Entirely possible, but I couldn't find a solid answer on that, so I defaulted to the more conservative pronunciation. I even saw suggestions of /xeruːv/.
Actually it’s not possible at all, most obviously because the plain stops were never allophonically fricatized in initial position. We know this not only from Greek transliterations of Hebrew, but also because they are not fricatives in that position in Aramaic, in any tradition of liturgical Hebrew, or in Latin transliterations of Punic.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Sumelic » Mon 10 Jul 2017, 20:19

Astraios wrote:
Ànradh wrote:
Shemtov wrote:Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
Entirely possible, but I couldn't find a solid answer on that, so I defaulted to the more conservative pronunciation. I even saw suggestions of /xeruːv/.
Actually it’s not possible at all, most obviously because the plain stops were never allophonically fricatized in initial position. We know this not only from Greek transliterations of Hebrew, but also because they are not fricatives in that position in Aramaic, in any tradition of liturgical Hebrew, or in Latin transliterations of Punic.
Presumably Shemtov was talking about the Greek pronunciation, not the Semitic pronunciation. As I mentioned earlier, Greek transcriptions/transliterations of Hebrew obstruents actually aren't, at least in their later standardized forms, based on begadkefat spirantization at all: chi, theta and phi are usually used to transcribe kaf, tav and pe even in word-initial and post-consonantal position.
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Re: Greek for Cherubim?

Post by Shemtov » Tue 11 Jul 2017, 02:17

Sumelic wrote:
Astraios wrote:
Ànradh wrote:
Shemtov wrote:Wouldn't it have been /xeruːb/ in the time that the LXX was translated?
Entirely possible, but I couldn't find a solid answer on that, so I defaulted to the more conservative pronunciation. I even saw suggestions of /xeruːv/.
Actually it’s not possible at all, most obviously because the plain stops were never allophonically fricatized in initial position. We know this not only from Greek transliterations of Hebrew, but also because they are not fricatives in that position in Aramaic, in any tradition of liturgical Hebrew, or in Latin transliterations of Punic.
Presumably Shemtov was talking about the Greek pronunciation, not the Semitic pronunciation. As I mentioned earlier, Greek transcriptions/transliterations of Hebrew obstruents actually aren't, at least in their later standardized forms, based on begadkefat spirantization at all: chi, theta and phi are usually used to transcribe kaf, tav and pe even in word-initial and post-consonantal position.
In other words, The voiceless Beged Kefeth letters were being trnslated by phi, theta and chi, while Teth and Quf were being represented by Tau and Kappa. I gave an example that this works the other way too: my real name "Kalman" comes from Greek, and the first letter was a Kappa. But in Hebrew it's written with a quf, so it doesn't become /xalman/ after YHAW letters.
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