This question is just for the amusement of those who enjoy grammar and pronunciation issues:

The pasach-ayin in the word "yodei-a" is pronounced as an inserted aleph ending with the gutteral ayin, the same way that the pasach hes in "mashgiach" is pronounced as an inserted aleph ending with a hes sound. It is called a "pasuch-genuvah" (the stolen pasuch.) This rule of a letter at the end of a word with a pasach underneath it applies to the heh, hes, and ayin. It can make a big difference in proper pronunciation for reading the Torah and for tefillah.

So why is the name of this site "mi.yodeya" which in English would be pronounced "me yo-day-*y*ah", hence adding in a non-existent yud into the word?

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    Can you cite a source saying that the פתח+עין involves starting with an א sound? I have been led to believe by Semitic linguists that there should be a glide in between and not a stop because it more closely resembles how the word would sound if there were any other final consonant. (This assumption is the reason I have been at peace with the intuitively uncomfortable spelling since the beginning.)
    – WAF
    Apr 12, 2010 at 20:58
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    How about this when I suggest the site I just say Mi yodeah and no one can find it on google so why not just get rid of the dot Apr 12, 2010 at 22:43
  • WAF, I've seen it in Radaq, but give me some time to find you the proper citation.
    – Yahu
    Apr 12, 2010 at 23:45
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    YS, good point.
    – Yahu
    Apr 12, 2010 at 23:46
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    WAF - the Minchas Shai in Beginning of Bereishis cites the machlokes about how the pasach is pronounced.
    – Dave
    Sep 2, 2010 at 3:47
  • See also judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/2313
    – msh210 Mod
    May 16, 2011 at 15:13

4 Answers 4


The bottom line is that I went with a transliteration that:

  • Points pretty unambiguously to a pronunciation that is not too far off. (Unlike, say "yodea".)
  • I find aesthetically pleasing, with the upstroke of the "d" bracketed by the downstrokes of the "y"s.
  • Doesn't include punctuation, which is either unavailable or just annoying in URLs. (1)

Like Shalom, I disagree that one necessarily has to interpret the "ey" here as including an extra yud rather than as merely a tzeireh. It's true that my transliterations usually use a plain "e" or an "ei" for a tzeireh, but I chose "ey" here for this situation for the aforementioned reasons.

Also, I admit that I'm generally not entirely consistent with respect to 'ayins, which I sometimes indicate with an apostrophe (mostly, when I need it to separate between vowel sounds anyway) and sometimes don't (2). Yodeya' would be more respectful of the final letter, but like I said, that wouldn't work in a URL.

1) By the way, if you're wondering how that guiding principle is consistent with the dot between "mi" and "yodeya," note that for your convenience, I set miyodeya.com and yodeya.com to go to the right place.

2) For example, see the title to this question.

  • Isaac, I do not disagree with your choice. I just see how there could have been other options also acceptable. For a community that is for the most part familiar with the Hebrew, the transliteration does not make much of a difference since we superimpose our knowledge of the Hebrew pronunciation over the overall awkwardness of transliteration. However for the uninitiated it could lead to some comical pronunciations.
    – Yahu
    Apr 12, 2010 at 19:58
  • mi.yodeya is actually intended to serve both the initiated and the uninitiated. And, while most of the current active users are, as you say, familiar with Hebrew, we get a great deal of search traffic that you don't see from people googling for basic information about Jewish life and learning. Also, most of the publicity for mi.yodeya to date has been in fora primarily frequented by people who already know a lot about Judaism, but that will hopefully change eventually.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Apr 12, 2010 at 20:20
  • FTR, this Q&A was posted in Mi Yodeya's SE 1.0 days, when I had autocratic control of the site, and the preferred name of it was the oh-so-web2.0-y "mi.yodeya" rather than the current "Mi Yodeya."
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Jan 20, 2015 at 15:22

According to the Sephardic and Judaeo-Arab tradition (including Yemenite), the proper way to pronounce words with furitive patah is to use an epenthetic glide, depending on the vowel: For /e/ and /i/, you add a /j/ (or "y"), and for /o/ and /u/ you add a /w/. Furthermore, the glide must be degush, or doubled. The Israeli (and some Spanish/Portuguese) way is to add an epenthetic alef, or a glottal stop.

So if you're learning the proper Sephardic pronunciation, its "yoDEYya3". With the 3ayin. Israelis would opt for "YoDE'a". I myself end up doing neither option, opting to glide the two vowels together (yo-dea3). Some say this is incorrect, but it's got a solid etymological basis. In related languages like Arabic, the furitive "a" isn't inserted at all.

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    B.BarNavi, welcome to Judaism.SE, and thanks very much for the detailed linguistic note! Please consider registering your account, so that the site can keep track of your contributions no matter where you log in from.
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Aug 10, 2011 at 2:39
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    B.BarNavi, this is very interesting. Perhaps it would fit even better as an answer to a certain other question than here?
    – msh210 Mod
    Aug 10, 2011 at 4:12
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    B.BarNavi, great answer. I was asking from an Ashkenazic-tunnel-vision perception. Thank you for broadening my mind (and tongue)! :-)
    – Yahu
    Aug 12, 2011 at 0:57

"mi.yodeya" which in English would be pronounced "me yo-day-*y*ah",

Says who? yo-day-a . Just like it's written.

  • If you want to pronounce it as it is written then it would be mi yode-ya!
    – Yahu
    Apr 12, 2010 at 17:44
  • mi-yo-deya whats the problem?
    – sam
    May 14, 2012 at 3:09

with this spelling its comes out more precise.

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    Huh? What do you mean?
    – Yahu
    Sep 3, 2010 at 0:56

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