vav in the beginning of the word.
Hey! I suppose this topic was already discussed and may be not once, but i'd still want to ask. So, as far as i know, the vav in the beginning of the word is always read as "v", but when it comes to vav being used as a connective i hear it being pronounced as u sometimes, especially when there is another proposition standing after it, for instance ב which is also weirdly enough pronounced as v and not as b in that case. Like in this song by arik einstein: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KWWUe-Rie0 So how does it work? Is it related to some special consonants only? Thank you!:)
There are several rules that apply to your question.
First: All words that begin with one of the following letters will have a "hard" pronunciation of these letters: בגד כפת
This means that if a word starts with ב that letter will have the sound "b", but if that letter is no longer first (if one adds proposition ש for example) than the same letter would have the sound "v".
Second: using ו (vav): the sound it usually makes when signifying addition ("and") is "v". But, if the word that vav is being added to begins with one of the following letters, then it switches to the "u" sound: בומפ
There is a third rule to when vav becomes "u" but it has to do with the nikud of the letters. I suggest to treat those words as exceptions to learn by heart if you come across them.
And fourthly :) It's ok to mix it up, most of us native speakers don't know/use the rules either.....
Excellent response from CatSamwise! If you’re interested in more detail about the third rule that he referred to, there’s this: “Before a word that starts with a ‘sheva’, it is also voweled with a ‘shuruk’, since two ‘shevas’ cannot appear at the beginning of a word: וּשְמוּאֵל, וּלְעוֹלָם” That’s from this website link, if you’re still interested in looking further into it. https://www.torahmusings.com/2012/12/on-the-prefix-vav/