Blau, Joshua. On Polyphony in Biblical Hebrew. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities 6/2. Jerusalem, 1982.
Polyphony is the phenomenon in orthography where one character is used to represent more than one phoneme. Blau begins his study by stating “a borrowed alphabet in which phonemes of the borrowing language are lacking tends to become polyphonic”. He takes up the case of Hebrew by examining several cases of possible polyphony. The main cases are ayin and ḥ. In the LXX, ayin is transliterated as either zero/vowel mutation or gamma. This may reflect that the articulation of ayin to Greek ears was somewhere between the two or that the letter ayin was polyphonic, used both for the pharyngeal fricative ayin and the uvular trill grayin. Blau argues for the latter claiming that /ġ/ had been lost in spoken Hebrew, but was preserved in the literary dialect which was followed in the Synagogue reading.Blau, Joshua, Orthography