Philippi's law refers to a sound rule in Biblical Hebrew first identified by F.W.M. Philippi in 1878, but has since been refined by Thomas O. Lambdin.
Essentially, in Biblical Hebrew, sometimes the sound for i shifted to a, but the reason for this development was unclear or debated. It is "universally supposed to be operative", according to linguists in the field, but criticized as "Philippi's law falls woefully short of what one would expect of a 'law' in historical phonology...."
Some critics suggested that it might not even be a rule in Hebrew, but rather a sound rule in Aramaic. Even Philippi, who mentions it in an article about the numeral '2' in Semitic, proposed that "the rule was Proto-Semitic" in origin. Philippi's law is also used to explain the vowel shift for the Hebrew word for daughter and many other words.
- Philippi, F. W. M. (1878). "Das Zahlwort Zwei im Semitischen". Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft. 32: 21–98.
- Morschauser, Scott; Thomas O. Lambdin (1985). "Philippi's Law Reconsidered". In Ann Kort (ed.). Biblical and Related Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns. pp. 135–145. ISBN 9780931464232.
- Blake, Frank R. (1950). "The Apparent Interchange between a and i in Hebrew". Journal of Near Eastern Studies. 9: 76 et seq. doi:10.1086/370960.
- Morschauser, Scott; Thomas O. Lambdin (1985). "Philippi's Law Reconsidered". In Ann Kort (ed.). Biblical and Related Studies Presented to Samuel Iwry. Winona Lake, Indiana: Eisenbrauns. p. 136. ISBN 9780931464232.
- Huernergard, John (1992). Walter Ray Bodine (ed.), eds. Linguistics and Biblical Hebrew. Eisenbrauns. pp. 212–216. ISBN 9780931464553. (citing several sources in footnotes 19-27).
- Huehnergard, John. "Philippi’s Law." Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and Linguistics. Edited by: Geoffrey Khan. Brill Online, 2013. Reference. URL. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- Paul Joüon (Translated by T. Muraoka). A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew: Subsidia Biblica. Gregorian Biblical BookShop, 2006. ISBN 9788876536298. Pages 88, 90, 117, 138, 147, 223, 279, 293 (n. 1).