Revisiting a Classic Biblical Word, Unraveling Its Roots and Ensuring Its Rightful Articulation
Pride - How do you pronounce it in Hebrew? The word for pride - גַּאֲוָה (Ga'ava) - is enunciated in three syllables. This pronunciation is just like the word for love - אַהֲבָה (Ahava). The root of 'Ge'ava' is found in the Tanach, and this is its traditional pronunciation and spelling.
Other words in this linguistic form include וַעֲדָה (Va'ada) meaning 'committee', טַעֲנָה (Ta'ana) meaning 'claim', and לַהֲקָה (Lahaka) meaning 'band'. The plural forms of these words use schwa and qamats: וְעָדוֹת (Ve'adot), טְעָנוֹת (T'anot), לְהָקוֹת (Lehakot). Hence, the plural form of the word 'pride' is pronounced גְּאָווֹת (Ge'avot). However, the word for 'loves' אֲהָבוֹת (Ahavot) uses a different vowel due to the presence of the letter 'alef'.
The word 'Ga'ava' is related to the verb גָּאָה (Ga'ah) which means 'to rise', 'to be high and elevated'. It likely initially signified elevation and exaltation, and by extension, power and strength: "He rides the heavens to your help, and in His majesty through the skies" (Deuteronomy 33:26), "The mountains will quake at His presence, indeed the world and all its inhabitants" (Psalms 46:4). These connotations are preserved in the Bible only in relation to God. When related to human beings, we find the meaning familiar to us today - 'arrogance', for instance: "Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away" (Psalms 36:12).
The increasingly common mispronunciation "גְּאָוָה" (Ge'ava) may be influenced by words such as דְּאָגָה (De'aga) meaning 'worry', רְוָחָה (Reva'ha) meaning 'relaxation', and צְעָקָה (Tze'aka) meaning 'scream', however, the word 'Ge'ava' belongs to a different pattern.
Are you ready to take pride in your linguistic journey? Dive deep into the rich tapestry of Hebrew language with us. We invite you to join our new semester, starting July 2nd. Let's learn Hebrew with Pride and empower ourselves with the knowledge of this ancient yet ever-evolving language. Let every syllable we pronounce be a step closer to understanding the complexities of Hebrew and feeling pride in our mastery over it. Come, be a part of our educational family and let's begin this enlightening journey together.