Tiberian Dagesh Lene: A Response to Wormser

Jonathan Howard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the previous installment of Textus, Yehonatan Wormser acutely argued that the so-called dagesh lene in the standard Tiberian tradition was pronounced as a geminate consonant, effectively neutralising the distinction between lene and forte. This he did by invoking the “principle of economy” and comparing the dagesh to the shewa, as well as by drawing evidence from Karaite transcriptions and non-standard Tiberian manuscripts. I argue that his claim is not supported by his evidence: the transcriptions and non-standard manuscripts do not reflect the mainstream Tiberian tradition, but rather a late development; and the principle of economy does not apply in the cases of complementary distribution. Wormser's analogy between dagesh and shewa is also addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-105
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • dagesh
  • economy, principle of
  • non-standard
  • shewa
  • Tiberian
  • transcriptions, Karaite
  • vocalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Religious studies


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