Episode 138: Genesis, Note to the Reader 3

In which we discuss sex three ways ... oh, yes, and Hebrew.
Genesis, Note to the Reader 3
(download or listen via this link)
Book Information
  • This book is in under copyright. Forgotten Classics has been granted the non-exclusive right to read Robert Alter's translation of Genesis and his commentary. This book is published by WW Norton. Please contact Mr. Alter or his agent for any permissions. Many thanks to Robert Alter and Georges Borchardt for their graciousness in allowing us to read this book.
  • If you are enjoying this reading, please buy Genesis. It comes to life even more when you are able to see and ponder the words.
  • Story rating: R for adult situations and commentary.
  • I will do my best to properly pronounce any Hebrew words but cannot promise accuracy. Biblical words may be pronounced using this guide.
Podcast Highlight
Other Links
My Huffduffer feed


  1. Hi Julie,

    There are several problems with this issue.
    After 24 mins a disturbance and sudden jump in the middle of the sentence and after 46 mins a sudden silence mid-sentence and then the end-tune of the reading.

    It pains me to hear you struggle with the Hebrew. The Hebrew pronunciation guide is not helpful?


  2. The disturbance in my recording was at 34 minutes; 24 minutes from the conclusion.

    Much of the Hebrew was workable. I can understand why you'd choose to spell letter by letter of words such as me'or or others where the syllable break is between vowels; still, it makes me stop and re-assemble the word in my head, and by the time I'm ready, you are far ahead... Don't worry, I'll manage! ;)


  3. Let me check it out ... my proofing didn't have that so I wonder if I uploaded the wrong version. Thanks for the heads-up on that.

    Pirvonen ... thank you for your understanding about the difficulties with Hebrew.

    Anne ... that guide is for Biblical words only, not for general Hebrew, which I have been unable to find a general pronunciation guide for.

  4. The pronunciation rules for Hebrew are pretty easy - can I offer my help again?

  5. Anne, you are very kind to offer.

    However, ironically it is my past experience with your German (etc.) pronunciation assistance that leads me to just forge ahead. It took much extra time to listen to your kind assistance and then to attempt it myself. As you, yourself, reported in a subsequent review ... I was unable to produce tolerable German.

    I do not know how Hebrew would be any different.

    It pains me to hoist you on your own petard, but I have only so much time and clearly very little talent in this area ... so why would I waste your time and mine on something that would fail?

  6. because with Hebrew it IS different. German has many fine distinctions that make you sound very awkward if you do not get them right.
    Hebrew can be simplified to sounds that you are familiar with in English. You can wreck a lot without sounding really bad. But sometimes if you get the sound wrong, the meaning changes, so that makes it important.
    How easy is it? For example, Hebrew has only 5 vowel sounds:
    a as in art,
    e as in when,
    i as in beat,
    o as in cloak and
    u as in book.
    They are never longer nor shorter, just these five.
    And they are almost always transliterated as the letters I gave you, although i may also come up as y.
    And if you see a combination, then you can assume they are repeated. Like 'NAAR' would be "na-ar"; 'PEER' would be "pe-er"; 'LEAN' would be "le-an" etc.
    In addition, stress in Hebrew is mostly on the last syllable.
    Then there is no 'th' in Hebrew, so if you see t and h together they are just t, or you might have two syllable, one that ends in t and one that commences with h.

    I can give you a little bit more, but this is just to let you in on some of the straightforward stuff.

  7. You know, I just checked two names with the guide at betterdaysarecoming and you pronounced them exactly as this guide indicates.
    I am beginning to understand that this guide is not telling you how to pronounce the names in some Hebrew proximity, but rather according to some English tradition.
    That explains a lot. I am sorry to have pestered you so much about the pronunciation.

  8. Aha! That does explain a lot! Especially if you were HEARING me not even getting basic names right, no wonder you were having a hard time.

    Thank you for taking that extra step to dig deeper. :-)


I can't hear you ...