Thursday, September 20, 2012

The tonic - E - the silluq

The silluq בֽ is very common. It is perhaps the first of the te'amim to be noted by someone beginning to read the Hebrew Bible. Lambdin calls it a Metheg and gives up to four 'explanations' of the sign - exactly zero of which I ever found to be of any use.  I suspected since the sign might mean anything, I might as well ignore it. (Sorry, Dr. Lambdin, I really did enjoy your book though - tough as it was.)

Suzanne Haik Vantoura names the silluq בֽ as the tonic note of the default mode for the Psalms, Proverbs and Job speeches, and it is the third note of what she identifies as the Lydian scale for the Prosody of the rest of the books. This is a far better rationale for our seeing this sign at the end of almost every verse of Scripture. Its function is to conclude.

סִלּֽוּק - what does it mean? Where is it used as a word? It is not Hebrew, but it appears perhaps (without the vav) in Ezra and Daniel, given as 'come up, go up' in Holladay (HALOT).

SHV identifies it as a sign that 'concludes' - it ends most verses. It is the implied starting note even where there is none. 

It is also called a sof pasuq סוֹף פָּסֽוּק - the end of the verse.  סוֹף is to conclude or to end in Aramaic.  E.g. Daniel 4:11.