similarity of vocalization of IOVE and Yahweh

By Steven Avery, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', Feb 13, 2017.

  1. Steven Avery New Member


    There is a lot of discussion these days (mostly raised in the last 20 years) as to the antiquity pronunciation of IOVE (transliterated as JOVE in English.)

    The question raised is:

    How accurately we can pin down the vocalization of IOVE, and how close it is to "Yahweh" ?

    Please note: this concern is totally separate from etymological theories, cognate language stuff, various root theories, verb vs. noun in Hebrew, Hebrew vowel points, Yehovah or Yahweh, and theories of how one word might have contributed to the formation of the other. Those are interesting discussions, but for the question of similar vocalization they can all be simply a distraction or rabbit trail. The purpose here with Latin-savvy folks is not to determine etymology and history, or Bible theory, but simply whether the two words have the same, or very close, sound when spoken. (Clearly, determining precise antiquity Latin pronunciation is a smidgen art as well as science.)

    Here is how one fellow, Patrick Lawrence, wrote it up as follows:
    Others have said similar, although at times a bit more loosey-goosey, especially as to the short "O" sound.

    Your thoughts welcome.

    Steven Avery
    Asheville, NC
  2. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    The form jove would be pronounced as [ˈjɔwɛ] per the reconstructed pronunciation of Classical Latin.

    I'd like to add that the word comes from Proto-Indo-European, whereas yhwh comes from Proto-Semitic. The two aren't related.
  3. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    I don't know where this is coming from or where it's going, but Patrick Lawrence's rambling article tells us only one useful thing: that a little learning is a dangerous thing.
  4. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    Well, might as well refute it here for the benefit of passersby.

    Look here. The PIE word that became ju(ppiter), jovis, etc. was *deiwos. It only came to have the initial y sound in Proto-Italic (but not in other derivatives, such as the one that became Latin divus). So in order to have yahweh derive from jove, you'd have to have the ancient Israelites borrowing the word from some Italic group, rather than speakers of other descendants of PIE. I invite you to prove that this is more plausible than the usually proposed theories of a Semitic origin.
  5. Steven Avery New Member

    > Imperfacundus
    > The form jove would be pronounced as [ˈjɔwɛ] per the reconstructed pronunciation of Classical Latin.

    Thanks. And how would that sound when spoken by an American?
    Two possibilites come to mind.
    1) .mp3
    2) the closest English letter approximation

    > Aurifex
    > Patrick Lawrence's rambling article

    The only part from Patrick Lawrence that is really relevant here is the paragraph I put above. Which is a bit run-on but quite understandable. Similar explanations have been given independently by others, as I pointed out, sometimes with a bit more fluidity.

    > Imperfacundus
    > The two aren't related.

    As for whether there is an etymological relationship, I specifically pointed out that such questions are not really relevant to this inquiry. Historically there have been many theories of the origins of the two forms, and those can be discussed in etymology threads. On the Hebrew side there are huge questions as to whether Yahweh is a correct representation of the Tetragram, or a total mangling. However, afaik, this is not the forum for those questions.

    We all know the SOUND of the word Yahweh in English.
    And the comparison requested is to the sound of IOVE.

    > Imperfacundus
    > So in order to have yahweh derive from jove

    As I pointed out rather carefully, that is not the question being asked.

  6. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    j as in yes
    ɔ as in force
    w as in win
    ɛ as in bet
  7. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    Steven, does the remark "I'll take the other Steven Avery any day" ring any bells?
    Be warned.
  8. Iohannes Aurum Technicus Auxiliarius

    • Technicus Auxiliarius
    The Iove-Yahweh connection is one of the best examples of a false cognate, especially given that both words are from unrelated language families.
  9. Steven Avery New Member

    Hi latindiscussion,

    It is always interesting to see all the non-issues that can arise. Remember, in the OP it was pointed out that this was not a cognate or etymology discussion. :)
    Iohannes, I certainly do not see the two words as cognates. And I know that there are some people who do. And speaking to those people, I would agree with what you say. I have looked at some of the speculation in scholarship realms, especially in the 1800s when this was part of the controversy. Cognates, as I have pointed out a couple of times, are not the issue that I raised. (In fact, I specifically consider it a non-issue, especially as I consider Yahweh a mangling of the Hebrew.)

    As for the weirdness of Aurifex, sideswiping humorously with a convicted murderer, irrelevant nonsense. If you are a mod, or want to politic with the mods, go right ahead. And I will happily stick with the pronunciation and scholarship issues. I never mind a thread shut down as long as I have handled my part with sincerity and integrity.

    About the earlier thread, elsewhere, note that I did have a little fun going back to Thomas Naeogeorgus and seeing what he wrote about the heavenly witnesses grammar in the 1500s. Erasmus also referenced the Greek grammatical issue, however only en passant. Naeogeorgus helps us understand the 1500s scholarship and was an important predecessor to Eugenius Bulgaris. Overall, that was a superb thread.

    Now we get to what is very helpful.
    Notice this about our bet.
    Also the letter is called eh, as shown herein p. 7:
    Thus, if this applies well to our classical Latin there seems to would be no question between yahweh and what we often hear, yahway (an American-style pronunciation.) Yahway does not apply to the Latin of Jove, and it similarly, I am quite sure, would not work as the proposed, conjectural, tenuous, dubious Hebrew guess, Yahweh.
    So we have the Latin as represented well in English as yoweh or yaweh.

    1. Yowe (yohweh) - note that the "o" in order is very close to the "a" in awe.
    2. Yawe (yahweh)

    so we are clearly exceedingly close in sound to yahweh.

    Our English yahweh varies as to whether the h is given a distinct sound. I hear both ya-weh and yah-weh, with different emphasis, and the aspiration is essentially implied in the short vowel.

    As an aside, this book is gives fawrce ass the pronunciation of force, a bit of a stretch.

    Here are our two "O"s above:
    And is this next gentleman accurate?
    Similarly this gentleman saw the "AH" sound:
    Is there any basis in the literature for directly claiming an "ah" ? Rather than a subtle aspiration.

    In summary from what I have seen so far:

    IOVE is in the range of yoweh and yahweh.

    All attempts to pin it down more exactly, and any possible corrections, are appreciated.


  10. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    It's pronounced with the same vowel as in 'force' for any variety of American English that I'm aware of. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Done and done.
    grimsius likes this.
  11. Dantius Homo Sapiens

    • Civis Illustris
    in orbe lacteo
    Yes, "iove" (which is not even the base form, but an inflected form of the word for Jupiter), and "Yahweh" sound similar, as far as I know.
  12. Steven Avery New Member

    Thank you Dantius.

    A refreshing, straightforward answer, on the actual question.
    To be fair, Imperfacundus has largely stayed the course as well.

    The relationship with iove, iovis and iupiter/iupitter is a bit unusual, or puzzling. (Let me switch to the English transcriptions.)

    Jupiter is said to mean Jove-pater ... father Jove, yet they are listed often as distinct forms of the same word.
    Would you say that mixing the compound form with the simple form is a bit of a linguistic-historical presentation quirk?

    Are there any other examples (in any language) where this is done?

  13. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    They are distinct forms of the same word. The subject case version is Juppiter, the accusative (direct object) form is Jovem, etc.

    I'm not sure what to call the phenomenon. It's somewhat similar to suppletion. Maybe similar enough to be considered a subset of it.
  14. Steven Avery New Member

    Thanks. Yes, a specialty suppletion superb!
  15. Aurifex Aedilis

    • Aedilis
    An alternative to sideswiping is a head-on approach. That's still an option.
  16. Westcott Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    I don't have a copy of Vox Latina. Does it really say that O is pronounced AH as in father? Have I been doing it wrong all these years? And no distinction between the short vowel as in vox and the long vowel as in vocis? So for vox, vocis I should have been saying vaax, vaacis?
  17. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    Only if you are from California ;)

    Vox Latina, page 50: short e and o were similar to the vowels of pet and pot. Long ē and ō present rather greater difficulty for R.P. speakers... [snip] ...another close comparison of quality would be with the vowels of French gai and beau, or of German Beet and Boot.
  18. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    I'm not sure I get how that comparison works. We (Californians) pronounce the word as f[ɑ]ther , not f[ɔ]ther. The [ɔ] sound is pretty rare here, I had to sit down and think for a while before coming up with the example of 'force'.
  19. Imperfacundus Reprobatissimus

    • Civis Illustris
    For some reason it seems to come before <r> a lot. More, whore, war, bore, horse, force...
  20. Cinefactus Censor

    • Censor
    litore aureo
    I was thinking of the English pronunciation of father...

    It comes from hours of gritting my teeth listening to my daughter watching Dora the Explorer ;)

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