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As previously indicated, l-y-n is the root used by the concubine's father, as well as by the old Ephraimite in Gibeah.
Faber appears to support her basic scenario with an assertion (1992: 2) that "if sbolt underwent anomalous developments, it must have been in Gileadite, since that is the only way that the Gileadite initial sound in sbolt would have been absent from the Ephraimite phonological repertory.
The other point in favor of Hendel's version of events is based on the position that if the Gileadites were sufficiently familiar with Ephraimite speech to devise a successful test, it is likely that the Ephraimites in their turn would have had sufficient contact with Gileadite speech not to be caught totally napping by any test that involved some gross and readily detectable difference of pronunciation.
This point is to some extent equivocal, however, because of Faber's first alternative, which allows that the entire difference between the Gileadite and Ephraimite pronunciations was too subtle for the Ephraimites even to detect (an alternative to this is that they heard a difference but were too stupid to try to imitate it).
This contrasts with biblical ba'alis and Ephraimite sibbolet, both of which have a high vowel adjacent to the sibilant.
We can now appreciate that the phonological structure of the Gileadite test word was particularly appropriate for the purpose of the test since, as the Gileadites must have known, it presented the problematic sibilant in an environment of maximum contrast between their own and the Ephraimite realization of it.
According to the source, 42,000 Ephraimite (i.e., Cisjordanian) fugitives were slain one-by-one upon mis-pronouncing as sibbolet the word sibbolet (which may have meant "ear or grain," "olive branch," "stream," "torrent," or "flood") put to them as a test by their Gileadite (i.e., Transjordanian) captors.
For example, if affricate samekh is insisted upon in both dialects--preferably narrow-groove laminal in both--both dialects can still have narrow-groove sin, apical in one, laminal in the other, and the choice of Gileadite versus Ephraimite assignment will still be completely free; but as usual one scenario will have the Ephraimites simply responding with their own sin, while the other will have them cannily responding with their nevertheless inadequate samekh.
Its rarity is such that is seems not to have been achieved by any Ephraimite in the story--certainly we are not told of any.
It is curious that Hendel 1996: 70 prefaces what can be read as a correct statement of Faber's position with three incorrect "merger" statements of it, all on the same page: once in a table summarizing previously proposed solutions where the incorrect summary "*[s.sub.1] [right arrow] s in Gileadite; *[s.sub.1] retained in Ephraimite (Faber 1992)" appears in a column headed "Phonological mergers"; and twice in the text, the precise misstatements being "Blau and Faber posit different phonological mergers involving *s in Ephraimite and Gileadite Hebrew" and, equally wrongly, "Against Blau and Faber, there is no evidence outside their theories of sibbolet: sibbolet for differing phonological histories of the phoneme s on the two sides of the Jordan.
A possible difference here is that Gileadite and Ephraimite seem to have been mutually intelligible dialects, which is not, I think, the usual view of Dutch and German.
Faber proposes that the sound change that converted the original narrow-groove PS phoneme sin or [S.sub.1] into wide-groove /s/ in various Semitic languages (5) was underway in Hebrew at the time of the shibboleth incident in such a way that the Gileadites already had the wide-groove sin /s/ while the Ephraimites still had the narrow-groove version.