Author Topic: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew  (Read 15826 times)

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Offline judeanoncapta

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The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« on: January 07, 2008, 02:09:20 AM »

No, Ashkenazi Hebrew is not sooooo wrong and sefaradi hebrew soooo wrong.

I don`t know to whome you are referring your statement to. 

But since our sages, mainly, Rav Saadia Gaon but also Rabbi Yaakov Emden, Rashi and the Ibn Ezra have been so kind as to explain to us how to pronounce hebrew, Why are we even having this discussion?

Just switch to the correct pronounciation. What's the problem?

And don't tell me, "I must continue doing whatever my father did."

That is a untenable position. Continuing a mistake just because your father did so ensures that nothing will ever be corrected.

That cannot be what G-d wants from us. Absolute fidelity to incorrect pronunciation.

it is difficult enough to switch from the Ivrit/modern hebrew/secular zionist  pronounciation taught in modern orthodox schools and many shuls. Into our father`s ashkenazi or Sefaradi pronounciation. 

But to change to a pronounciation that only Rabbi Bar Hayyim and his students know, that is just unfeasible.  And if he is so sure, then he should write an article that proves it beyond any doubt. Proving not just that neither ashkenazi nor Sefaradi can be right. But proving that his pronounciation is right.   And then that can be put to expert rabbis with different positions, and we can see the arguments against. And then we can decide what is correct.







First of all, he already wrote such an article. It was on his previous website. Torahlight.com but he shut down that site and did not carry the article over to machon shilo.

But I would suggest that you read the perush of Rabbi Saadia Gaon to the Sefer Yetzirah in which he says that hebrew and arabic are identical except for the fact that Hebrew has no J sound, no palatial D and no Palatial DH and Arabic has no P, no G and no V.

Otherwise the consonants are identical.

Therefore let's take a look and the Hebrew and Arab Alphabets so that we figure out the identical letters.

The most common Abjad sequence is (from left to right):

أ‎ ب‎ ج‎ د‎ ﻫ‎ و‎ ز‎ ح‎ ط‎ ي‎ ك‎ ل‎ م‎ ن‎ س‎ ع‎ ف‎ ص‎ ق‎ ر‎ ش‎ ت‎ ث‎ خ‎ ذ‎ ض‎ ظ‎ غ‎
This is pretty much identical to the sequence in Hebrew alphabet but the Alphabet that is completely identical to the Hebrew Alphabet is the Aramaic Alphabet. Take alook.

Letter name Letter form Equivalent Hebrew Sound value
Ālaph 
Bēth 
Gāmal
Dālath 
Hē 
Waw 
Zain 
Hēth 
Tēth 
Yudh 
Kāph 
Lāmadh   
Mim   
Nun 
Semkath 
‘Ē 
Pē 
Sādhē
Qoph 
Rēsh 
Shin 
Tau 

As any of you can see this is identical to Hebrew.

After all, Part of the Tanakh was written in Aramaic so an identical alphabet makes perfect sense.

So the matter is actually quite simple. Listen to an Arabic or Aramaic speaker pronounce a Sadi and you will see how to pronounce it.

This is quite simple. The correct way to pronounce the consonants is well known.

The vowels are a little harder, but knowable.

Every single Jewish community pronounces a Hiriq and a Shva and Patah and a Shubuk the same.

I am choosing to not including the Polish and Hungarian for consideration because it so wildly incorrect.

The only vowels that are contested are segol, tsere, Kametz and Holem.

Rabbi Yaakov Emden says clearly that Sefaradim are incorrect in pronouncing a Kametz and a Patah and in pronouncing a Tsere and a segol the same so the question is how do these nekudot differ.

Are the ashkenazim correct in pronouncing a tzere and ay?

Of course not. How why in the world would a yudh be continually added to words whose nikud is a tzere. It makes no sense. The yudh would be redundant if you are supposed to pronounce it as an ay. the Same goes for the CHoylem that ashkenazim say oy instead of  o. It make no sense. One can safely say that tzere and holem should be pronounced the way sefaradim do.

Therefore, how is a segol different from a tzere?

Rashi calls a segol a patah katan. a small A sound.

Therefore the yementie way of prouncing segol like the a in rat cat bad and mad makes perfect sense and should be followed.

Now the Kametz. Well, we know that it must be different from a patah and the yemenite and ashkenazi kametz is the same so we should pronounce it like the a in father.


« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 02:14:46 AM by judeanoncapta »
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2008, 02:14:16 AM »

Regarding the Taf with a dot.  Do you give it a generic name with or without a dot? or 2 different names?

Two different names. Taw and Thaw.



When you say Taw/Tau, do you mean as in ouch?

Close. But since the niqudh is a kametz, it should be a as in father followed by a w sound. Kind of like in American slang people say Naaaw as a form of No. That is the correct sound.

Looking at T with dot.

Gen 1:24  Tohtzay haaretz
with Tohtzay, the "Taw" is in the beginning.
It is followed by a vav acting as a silent vowel-letter, it has a cholem on it.

How do you pronounce the first syllable?

starts with t, then

ou as in ouch(like couch) ,
O (like boris),
?
O like boris. since as you said the vav is acting not as a consonant but as a silent vowel letter.


How about
Gen 16:32
HeAchaltee

How are you pronouncing that - the tee part?
T with dot, followed by yud with chirik

Do you pronounce it the same, or does it get some kind of "ow" sound ?

No, it gets no ow sound because there is no waw in sight. The tee pronunciation is correct. Taw is the name of the letter which gives a t sound you don't add an aw whenever it is used just as you don't add a leph everytime an aleph is used.

I wonder if maybe we should start a new thread for this? 

Done.

Are you willing to detail further how to pronounce it, in the sense of how it differs from ivrit or ashkenazi ? It looks like quite a job..

Sounds like a Job For............................Judeanoncapta!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)

If I can understand it, I will happily explain to others how you and rabbi bar hayyim pronounce it.. with some posts on usenet too, so it is archived properly(one trusts Google`s usenet archive!).

Sounds great.

And regearding the T without a dot. When you say Bath. Do you mean like somebody with a lisp trying to say The.   A better example.. the word Thermal.  So the Th is softer than the word The.

I was not aware that there is a difference between the TH in Bath and the TH in Thermal. Please educate me as to the difference.

So, Gen 1:2.   Tohu VaVohu  , the Tohu is actually   Thohu where the Th is as in Thermal ?


Yes.

thanks

Just doing my job.

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Offline Dexter

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2008, 11:55:07 AM »
So where can someone study how to pronounce Hebrew correctly. I know I don't pronounce correctly the letters:
Kuf
Tsadik
Tav and Tet
Not a foreign land we took and not with foreign possession but a land that belong to our ancestors that was occupied without a trial. And when we had the opportunity, we took our land back.
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 08:39:01 PM »
So where can someone study how to pronounce Hebrew correctly. I know I don't pronounce correctly the letters:
Kuf
Tsadik
Tav and Tet

ﻕ‎ = Kuf

ﺹ = Tsadik

ت = Tav

ط = Tet

Ask the guy who is teaching you Arabic how to pronounce these Arabic letters and you will know.

But to be brief, a Kuf is a Uvular K. A tsadik is a palatial S. A Tav is a Simple T sound and a Tet is a Palatial T.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2008, 10:27:26 PM by judeanoncapta »
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Offline Dexter

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008, 12:05:17 AM »
What is "palatial" T ?
Not a foreign land we took and not with foreign possession but a land that belong to our ancestors that was occupied without a trial. And when we had the opportunity, we took our land back.
-Shimon Maccabee's answer to Antiochus VII Sidetes.

"When fighting monsters, be wary not to become one... When you gaze into the abyss, it also gazes into you."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline q_q_

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008, 02:41:33 AM »
no difference between the th in bath and the th in thermal.  Just that I used the thermal example because there the th is at the beginning of a syllable.


What about the Waw letter. (that most people call vav!)

I guess it only gets the W sound at the time when it is pronounced. The time when ashkenazim and Sefaradim pronounce it V.  So, do you say WeShamru?

Shuruk is OOOO, right?
So, *Sue*Cot. (or, suecoth rather)
ShoeShan purim not Shuhshan purim.

Did you say there was no D sound?
So the echad in the Shema.  Daled with no dot. That, you pronounce like the Th in The.
What about the Daled with a dot?




Do Sefaradim prounce tzereh and segol as eh and eh ?

When you say short a - rat. Long a, father. Do you mean ah vs ar ?
`cos father is pronounced,  Far Thur
and Rat is pronounced like At.
You can have a longer a of that kind, like angle.
I don`t see one as short and one as long.


TIA



Offline q_q_

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008, 02:50:54 AM »
a book I have "how the hebrew language grew" defines

T,D,Th as dental
S,Z,Sh as sibilant
B,V,M,P,F  as labial / lip letters
K,G(hard),Y, as palatial

other categories too.

It says tzaddik used to be pronounced with an S.  So, I guess like the s in sand. I guess it is saying there is no tz. Do you agree with that in your pronounciation?

You have referred to a palatial  D,DH,S,T   . I do not know what that means ? (what the DH is , and what D,S,T sound like in another category)

Or where you are learning your definition of palatial.. I got my definition from the book "how the hebrew langauge grew". I would go into more detail now if I could.. but i have to get out the house now



« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 02:54:42 AM by q_q_ »

Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2008, 04:09:24 PM »
What is "palatial" T ?

Palatial means a sound that it made on the palate. I don't know the Hebrew word for palate. But Palate means the top of the mouth so a Palatial T is a T that is made not by the tongue hitting the teeth like a regular T, but by the tongue hitting the top of the mouth.
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2008, 04:21:20 PM »

What about the Waw letter. (that most people call vav!)

I guess it only gets the W sound at the time when it is pronounced. The time when ashkenazim and Sefaradim pronounce it V.  So, do you say WeShamru?

Yes, we always pronounce a waw as a w, never as a v. The Vav is completely incorrect.



Shuruk is OOOO, right?
So, *Sue*Cot. (or, suecoth rather)
ShoeShan purim not Shuhshan purim.

Yes.



Did you say there was no D sound?

No, I said there is  no Palatial D or Palatial DH in Hebrew as there is in Arabic. But there is a regular D and DH.



So the echad in the Shema.  Daled with no dot. That, you pronounce like the Th in The.

Yes, in fact, the Gemara and the Shulchan Aruch quotes this as halakha lemaase, that one should lenghthen the Daleth in echad. Obviously one cannot lengthen a D sound. You just end up saying daaaaaaaaa. Which cannot be correct. But Th as in the can be lengthened until your breath runs out. So obviously finding the correct pronunciation is required by the Shulchan Aruch itself.


What about the Daled with a dot?

Pronounced as a regular D.




Do Sefaradim prounce tzereh and segol as eh and eh ?

Yes. They make no distinction between the two.



When you say short a - rat. Long a, father. Do you mean ah vs ar ?
`cos father is pronounced,  Far Thur
and Rat is pronounced like At.
You can have a longer a of that kind, like angle.
I don`t see one as short and one as long.


Ok, the hebrew term is katan not short so you should be ok.


« Last Edit: January 08, 2008, 10:24:14 PM by judeanoncapta »
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2008, 04:29:23 PM »
a book I have "how the hebrew language grew" defines

T,D,Th as dental
S,Z,Sh as sibilant
B,V,M,P,F  as labial / lip letters
K,G(hard),Y, as palatial

other categories too.

It says tzaddik used to be pronounced with an S.  So, I guess like the s in sand. I guess it is saying there is no tz. Do you agree with that in your pronounciation?

You have referred to a palatial  D,DH,S,T   . I do not know what that means ? (what the DH is , and what D,S,T sound like in another category)

Or where you are learning your definition of palatial.. I got my definition from the book "how the hebrew langauge grew". I would go into more detail now if I could.. but i have to get out the house now





A Tsadi is a Palatial S, as I said before.

The only way I will be able to explain a palatial sound to you is by doing it myself and sending you the audio. I am working on a ten minute video for this purpose. I will let you know when I'm done.
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Offline Dexter

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2008, 12:21:49 AM »
What is "palatial" T ?

Palatial means a sound that it made on the palate. I don't know the Hebrew word for palate. But Palate means the top of the mouth so a Palatial T is a T that is made not by the tongue hitting the teeth like a regular T, but by the tongue hitting the top of the mouth.
I always pronounce T like that...
Not a foreign land we took and not with foreign possession but a land that belong to our ancestors that was occupied without a trial. And when we had the opportunity, we took our land back.
-Shimon Maccabee's answer to Antiochus VII Sidetes.

"When fighting monsters, be wary not to become one... When you gaze into the abyss, it also gazes into you."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline jdl4ever

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 12:29:06 PM »
Well, the D in Daled CAN be lengthened using the current ashkenazic prononciation of "D", I do it all the time.  You just have to sound the D gutterally instead of paletally (and then change it back to paletally at the end when you are done lengthening it) but in effect the sound made is almost identical between the two.  I don't think it is practical to make all those changes since they will kick me out of Shule!  But the Ashkenazim do pronounce Sookot and Shoeshan Purim as you write using the Shuruk.  And Tzadi is sounded Tzeh using the correct Ashkenazi prononciation.  Some Askenazim prononce Tzadi the same as Samach, but they are not following any Askenazic custom and they are wrong.  Also, Segol is pronounced correctly in our custom.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 12:35:21 PM by jdl4ever »
"Enough weeping and wailing; and the following of leaders & rabbis who are pygmies of little faith & less understanding."
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 01:29:49 PM »
Well, the D in Daled CAN be lengthened using the current ashkenazic prononciation of "D", I do it all the time. 


Well, allow me to differ.

There is no such thing as a gutteral D, there is a dental D and a palatial D but a gutteral D is an impossibility. All you're doing is lengthening the A sound in Ehad.


I don't think it is practical to make all those changes since they will kick me out of Shule! 

Any Shule that would throw you out for pronouncing Lashon haQodhesh correctly is not worth going to in the first place.

And Tzadi is sounded Tzeh using the correct Ashkenazi prononciation. 

True but the Ashkenazi pronounciation itself is incorrect. It is a German sound not a Hebrew one. The correct sound is a palatial S.


 
Some Askenazim prononce Tzadi the same as Samach, but they are not following any Askenazic custom and they are wrong. 

They may be wrong but they are closer to the real pronunciation that the Ashkenazi custom. Ts is not a Sound. It is two sounds put together T and S. They should change over to a Palatial S and they will be alright.

Although you seem to still be obsessed with following an Ashkenazi custom instead of following what is correct.

Also, Segol is pronounced correctly in our custom.


Rashi calls Segol a Patah Qatan. A small Patah.

I'll leave it to your logic as to which sound more closely fits that description an Ashkenazi eh or a Yemenite aa.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 01:32:16 PM by judeanoncapta »
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 01:31:34 PM »
What is "palatial" T ?

Palatial means a sound that it made on the palate. I don't know the Hebrew word for palate. But Palate means the top of the mouth so a Palatial T is a T that is made not by the tongue hitting the teeth like a regular T, but by the tongue hitting the top of the mouth.
I always pronounce T like that...

Then you need to move your tongue further in the back of the mouth while pronouncing tet to make a distinction between the two.
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Offline q_q_

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2008, 03:44:30 PM »
I look forward to the video.

could you fill as in on where you got your knowledge of terminology such as palatial  - the difference in sound between a palatial s and a sibilant s.

a book? tape? degree course in phonetics?  I doubt it was a website!


Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2008, 04:03:41 PM »
I look forward to the video.

could you fill as in on where you got your knowledge of terminology such as palatial  - the difference in sound between a palatial s and a sibilant s.

a book? tape? degree course in phonetics?  I doubt it was a website!



Actual I got my knowledge of such terminology from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's commentary on Sefer Yetzirah.
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Offline jdl4ever

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2008, 05:20:04 PM »
You still don't understand that I do lengthen the Daled and not the "AAA" in Echod.  If you hold your tongue at your palate and release it you get a sharp D with an abrupt ending like we usually say Deled but if you hold the original position on your palete without releasing it you get a constant "D" that can last for a whole minute.
 
Also you don't know for sure that the Arabic prononciation today is exactly the same as it was 500 years ago so I need some more proof. 
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 05:21:43 PM by jdl4ever »
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 06:49:26 PM »
You still don't understand that I do lengthen the Daled and not the "AAA" in Echod.  If you hold your tongue at your palate and release it you get a sharp D with an abrupt ending like we usually say Deled but if you hold the original position on your palete without releasing it you get a constant "D" that can last for a whole minute.
 
Also you don't know for sure that the Arabic prononciation today is exactly the same as it was 500 years ago so I need some more proof. 

How wildly different could it really have been?

Either way, there is another language with an even more identical alphabet hebrew than Arabic. It is called Aramaic and it pronounces these consonants exactly as I do and have explained in my audios.

How much more proof do you need? Especialy when you know the pronunciation you currently use is obviously incorrect.
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Offline jdl4ever

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 07:04:27 PM »
I brought proof from Shoftim that regional differences in the prononciation of Hebrew is irrelevant since a tribe pronounced the Shin as a Sin and we can assume they were doing that for quite some time and Moses or Joshua didn't make them change it.  I know it is not the exact same way how they pronounced it 1000 years ago but that is irrelevant since languages change over time especially regionally where different groups of people living in different areas tend to pronounce the letters differently over a long time period.  Although I support the notion that in Israel, the official Hebrew should be the original way it was pronounced 1000 years ago.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2008, 07:30:39 PM by jdl4ever »
"Enough weeping and wailing; and the following of leaders & rabbis who are pygmies of little faith & less understanding."
"I believe very much in a nation beating their swords into plowshears but when my enemy has a sword I don't want a plowshear"
-Rabbi Meir Kahane Zs'l HYD

Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2008, 07:41:16 PM »
I brought proof from Shoftim that regional differences in the prononciation of Hebrew is irrelevant since a tribe pronounced the Shin as a Sin and we can assume they were doing that for quite some time and Moses or Joshua didn't make them change it.  I know it is not the exact same way how they pronounced it 1000 years ago but that is irrelevant since languages change over time especially regionally where different groups of people living in different areas tend to pronounce the letters differently over a long time period.  Although I support the notion that in Israel, the official Hebrew should be the original way it was pronounced 1000 years ago.

I only care about your last sentence. It's the only one that matters and I like it.
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Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2008, 12:10:06 AM »
I brought proof from Shoftim that regional differences in the prononciation of Hebrew is irrelevant since a tribe pronounced the Shin as a Sin and we can assume they were doing that for quite some time and Moses or Joshua didn't make them change it.  I know it is not the exact same way how they pronounced it 1000 years ago but that is irrelevant since languages change over time especially regionally where different groups of people living in different areas tend to pronounce the letters differently over a long time period.  Although I support the notion that in Israel, the official Hebrew should be the original way it was pronounced 1000 years ago.

Why should israel be any different than the Galuth?
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Offline q_q_

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2008, 11:43:49 PM »
making a video may not be that convenient. You could just do an audio.
programs often record as a .wav file, so it is worth converting it to mp3 to make it smaller.

audacity does it
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/latest/audacity-win/audacity-win-1.2.6.exe

Offline judeanoncapta

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Re: The Correct Pronunciation of Hebrew
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2008, 11:27:11 PM »
making a video may not be that convenient. You could just do an audio.
programs often record as a .wav file, so it is worth converting it to mp3 to make it smaller.

audacity does it
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/latest/audacity-win/audacity-win-1.2.6.exe

I already HAVE made an audio. See the "Here's the audio" thread in this section that I started.
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