Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Grammar Teaser

Over the High Holidays, and Sukkot, we had many oppritunities to say the word 'fokdenu', meaning 'remember us' or 'count us'. It appears in the Ya'aleh V'yavo prayer for festivals.

This word is vowelized with a kamatz katon under the 'p' in the Rinat Yisrael Siddur. This seems to be correct, because it is a kamatz on an unaccented syllable ending with a shwa. (Admittedly, this is one of the hardest rules in Hebrew grammar to pin down, and I would not be taken aback if it were broken.)

If so, then the shwa under the 'q' (kuf) is a shwa nach, as it is a shwa after a 't'nuah k'tanah'. This also seems to be bourne out by the Rinat Yisrael. Thus, the 'q' is the end of the syllable, and the 'd' (dalet) should have a dagesh, as a Bagad Kapat at the beginning of a syllable! Why does it not have this dagesh? (I would be less worried if the letter were a 'm' (mem), as I am aware that 'm' sometimes carries the expected dagesh, and sometimes lacks it.)

I have sent this question to my teacher, Dr Steiner, from YU. He is an expert in semitic languages. However, he has yet to reply to me. This is your chance, dear reader, to beat an expert to the punch. Any ideas?