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The Hebrew alphabet ( , Alephbet 'Ivri), known variously by scholars as the Jewish script, square script, block script, and because of its place of origin, the Assyrian script (not to be confused with the Syriac alphabet) is the better-known of two script standards used to write the Hebrew language — the other being the Samaritan script. In adapted forms, is also used for writing other Jewish languages, most notably Yiddish, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. The Hebrew alphabet is written from right to left. It has 22 letters, 5 of which have different final form.

The Hebrew word for "alphabet" is alephbet (אלפבית), and it is derived from the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet; Aleph and Bet. However, Hebrew is not a true alphabet, but in fact an abjad, having letters only for consonants. Like other abjads such as the Arabic alphabet, means were later devised to indicate vowels by separate vowel points, known in Hebrew as niqqud. In rabbinic Hebrew, the consonant letters אהוי are used as matres lectionis to represent vowels.

According to contemporary scholars, the Hebrew alphabet is a stylized form of the Aramaic alphabet, from which it descends and evolved from during the 3rd century BCE. Prior to this, Hebrew was written in the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet by the ancient Israelites, both Jews and Samaritans, and as still used by the Samaritans in the form of the Samaritan script.

History



According to contemporary scholars, the original Hebrew script developed alongside others in the region during the course of the late second and first millennia BCE; it is closely related to the Phoenician script, which itself probably gave rise to the use of alphabetic writing in Greecemarker (Greek). It is sometimes claimed that a distinct Hebrew variant, the original "Hebrew script", emerged around the 10th century BCE, and was widely used in the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah until they fell in the 8th and 6th centuries BCE, respectively. But it is not straightforward to distinguish IsraeliteJudahite scripts from others which were in use in the immediate area, most notably by the Moabites and Ammonites.

Following the Babylonian exile, Jews gradually stopped using the original Hebrew script, and instead adopted the Aramaic script, which was another offshoot of the same family of scripts. The Samaritan script, used for writing Hebrew by the Samaritans, is descended directly from the original Hebrew script. The Aramaic script, as used for writing Hebrew by Jews, later evolved into the Jewish, or "square" script, that is still used and known today as the "Hebrew alphabet". Closely related scripts were in use all over the Middle East for several hundred years, but following the rise of Christianity (and later, the rise of Islam), they gave way to the Roman and Arabic alphabets, respectively.

The Hebrew alphabet was later adapted in order to write the languages of the Jewish diaspora (Karaim, Judæo-Arabic, Ladino, Yiddish, etc.). The Hebrew alphabet was retained as the alphabet used for writing the Hebrew language during its rebirth in the 18th to 19th century.

In Jewish Religion

The letters of the Hebrew alphabet have played varied roles in Jewish religious literature over the centuries, primarily in mystical texts. Some sources in classical rabbinical literature seem to acknowledge the historical provenence of the currently-used Hebrew alphabet and deal with them as a mundane subject (the Jerusalem Talmud, for example, records that "the Israelites took for themselves square calligraphy", and that the letters "came with the Israelites from Ashur [Assyria]"); others attribute mystical significance to the letters, connecting them with the process of creation or the redemption. In mystical conceptions, the alphabet is considered eternal, pre-existent to the Earth, and the letters themselves are seen as having holiness and power, sometimes to such an extent that several stories from the Talmud illustrate the idea that they cannot be destroyed.

The idea of the letters' creative power finds its greatest vehicle in the Sefer Yezirah, or Book of Creation, a mystical text of uncertain origin which describes a story of creation highly divergent from that in the Book of Genesis, largely through exposition on the powers of the letters of the alphabet. The supposed creative powers of the letters are also referenced in the Talmud and Zohar.

The four-pronged Shin.


Another book, the thirteenth-century Kabbalistic text Sefer HaTemunah, holds that a single letter of unknown pronunciation, held by some to be the four-pronged shin on one side of the teffilin box, is missing from the current alphabet. The world's flaws, the book teaches, are related to the absence of this letter, the eventual revelation of which will repair the universe. Another example of messianic significance attached to the letters is the teaching of Rabbi Eliezer that the five letters of the alphabet with final forms hold the "secret of redemption".

In addition, the letters occasionally feature in aggadic portions of non-mystical rabbinic literature. In such aggada the letters are often given anthropomorphic qualities and depicted as speaking to God. Commonly their shapes are used in parables to illustrate points of ethics or theology. An example from the Babylonian Talmud (a parable intended to discourage speculation about the universe before creation):

Extensive instructions about the proper methods of forming the letters are found in Mishnat Soferim, within Mishna Berura of Yisrael Meir Kagan.

Description

In its traditional usage in Hebrew (as opposed to Yiddish and to some extent modern Israeli Hebrew), the Hebrew alphabet is an abjad: vowels are normally not indicated. Where they are, it is because a weak consonant such as aleph, hey, vav, or yod has combined with a previous vowel and become silent, or by imitation of such cases in the spelling of other forms. When used to write Yiddish, all vowels are indicated, using certain letters, either with or without niqqud-diacritics (e.g., respectively: "אָ", "יִ" or "י", "ע", see Yiddish orthography), except for Hebrew words, which in Yiddish are written in their Hebrew spelling.

To preserve the proper vowel sounds, scholars developed several different sets of vocalisation and diacritical symbols called niqqud ( , literally "applying points"). One of these, the Tiberian system, eventually prevailed. Aaron ben Moses ben Asher, and his family for several generations, are credited for refining and maintaining the system. These points are normally used only for special purposes, such as Biblical books intended for study, in poetry or when teaching the language to children. The Tiberian system also includes a set of cantillation marks used to indicate how scriptural passages should be chanted, used in synagogue recitations of scripture (although these marks do not appear in the scrolls), called "trope". In everyday writing of modern Hebrew, niqqud are absent; however, patterns of how words are derived from Hebrew roots (called shorashim, or triliteral roots) allow Hebrew speakers to determine the vowel-structure of a given word from its consonants based on the word's context and part of speech.

Both the old Hebrew script and the modern Hebrew script have only one case, but some letters have special final forms, called sofit (Heb. סופית, meaning in this case "final" or "ending") form, used only at the end of a word, somewhat as in the Arabic and Mandaic alphabets. As can be seen in the tables given here, only five letters have a sofit form: ך → כ (kaph and khaph), ם → מ (mem), ן → נ (nun), ף → פ (pe and phe), ץ → צ (tsadi or tsade). These are shown below the normal form, in the following table (letter names are Unicode standard; see variants of names and their pronunciation below).

Alef Bet Gimel Dalet He Vav Zayin Het Tet Yod Kaf
א ב ג ד ה ו ז ח ט י כ
ך
Lamed Mem Nun Samekh Ayin Pe Tsadi Qof Resh Shin Tav
ל מ נ ס ע פ צ ק ר ש ת
ם ן ף ץ


Note: The chart reads from right to left.

Pronunciation of letter names

See Hebrew phonology and Yiddish phonology for phonetic guides to the phonemic transcriptions.

letter Name of letter Established pronunciation
in English
standard Israeli
pronunciation
colloquial Israeli
pronunciation (if differing)
Yiddish / Ashkenazi
pronunciation
MW Unicode
א Aleph Alef  
בּ Beth Bet  
ב
ג Gimel Gimel  
ד Daleth Dalet
ה He He
ו Waw Vav  
ז Zayin Zayin
ח Heth Het
ט Teth Tet  
י Yod Yod
כּ Kaph Kaf  
כ
ך   Final Kaf    
ל Lamed Lamed  
מ Mem Mem  
ם   Final Mem    
נ Nun Nun  
ן   Final Nun    
ס Samekh Samekh  
ע Ayin Ayin
פּ Pe Pe
פ
ף   Final Pe  
צ Sadhe Tsadi
ץ   Final Tsadi  
ק Qoph Qof
ר Resh Resh
ש Shin Shin  
תּ Tav Tav
ת


Orthographic variants

The following table displays orthographic variants of each letter. For the five letters that have a different final form used at the end of words, the final forms are displayed beneath the regular form.

The three lettering variants currently in use are block, cursive and Rashi. Block and Rashi are used in books. Block lettering dominates, with Rashi lettering typically used for certain editorial inserts (as in the glosses of Isserles to the Shulchan Aruch) or biblical commentaries (as in the commentary of Rashi) in various standard literary works. Cursive is used almost exclusively when handwriting, unless block lettering is desired for stylistic purposes (as in signage).

For additional ancestral scripts, see Ancestral scripts and script variants.

Letter
name
(Unicode)

Variants
Modern Hebrew Ancestral
Serif Sans-
serif
Mono-
spaced
Cursive Rashi Phoenician Paleo-Hebrew Aramaic
Alef א א א
Bet ב ב ב
Gimel ג ג ג
Dalet ד ד ד
He ה ה ה
Vav ו ו ו
Zayin ז ז ז
Het ח ח ח
Tet ט ט ט
Yod י י י
Kaf כ כ כ
Final Kaf ך ך ך
Lamed ל ל ל
Mem מ מ מ
Final Mem ם ם ם
Nun נ נ נ
Final Nun ן ן ן
Samekh ס ס ס
Ayin ע ע ע
Pe פ פ פ
Final Pe ף ף ף
Tsadi צ צ צ ,
Final Tsadi ץ ץ ץ
Qof ק ק ק
Resh ר ר ר
Shin ש ש ש
Tav ת ת ת


Yiddish symbols

Symbol Explanation
These are intended for Yiddish. They are not used in Hebrew. See: Yiddish orthography.
The rafe ( ) niqqud is no longer used in Hebrew. It is still seen in Yiddish. In masoretic manuscripts, the soft fricative consonants are indicated by a small line on top of the letter. Its use has been largely discontinued in printed texts.


Numeric values of letters

Hebrew letters are also used to denote numbers, nowadays used only in specific contexts, e.g. denoting dates in the Hebrew calendar, denoting grades of school in Israel, other listings (e.g. שלב א׳, שלב ב׳ – "phase a, phase b"), commonly in Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) in a practice known as gematria, and often in religious contexts.

letter numeric value letter numeric value letter numeric value
א 1 י 10 ק 100
ב 2 כ 20 ר 200
ג 3 ל 30 ש 300
ד 4 מ 40 ת 400
ה 5 נ 50 ך 500
ו 6 ס 60 ם 600
ז 7 ע 70 ן 700
ח 8 פ 80 ף 800
ט 9 צ 90 ץ 900


The numbers 500, 600, 700, 800 and 900 are often represented by the juxtapositions ק״ת, ר״ת, ש״ת, ת״ת, and ק״תת respectively.Adding a geresh ("׳") to a letter multiplies its value by one thousand, for example, the year 5769 is portrayed as ה׳תשס״ט, where ה represents 5000, and תשס״ט represents 769.

Transliterations and Transcriptions of Hebrew Letters

Main articles: Romanization of Hebrew, Hebrew phonology

The following table lists transliterations and transcriptions of Hebrew letters used in Modern Hebrew. For Hebrew vowel diacritics, see niqqud; for the phonology of Biblical Hebrew, see Biblical Hebrew; for the Yiddish language, see Yiddish orthography and Yiddish phonology.

Clarifications:
  • For some letters, the Academy of the Hebrew Language offers a precise transliteration which differs from the regular standard it has set. When omitted, no such precise alternative exists and the regular standard applies.
  • The IPA phonemic transcription is specified whenever it uses a different symbol than the one used for the regular standard Israeli transliteration.
  • The IPA phonetic transcription is specified whenever it differs from IPA phonemic transcription.


Note: SBL's transliteration system, recommended in its Handbook of Style, differs slightly from the 2006 precise transliteration system of the Academy of the Hebrew Language; for "ו" SBL uses "v" (≠ AHL "w"), for "צ" SBL uses " " (≠ AHL " "), and for בג״ד כפ״ת with no dagesh, SBL uses the same symbols as for with dagesh (i.e. "b", "g", "d", "k", "f", "t").



Hebrew letter Standard
Israeli
transliteration
regular


standard
Israeli
transliteration
precise


IPA phonemic
transcription
IPA phonetic
transcription
א
consonantal, in
initial word
positions
none(1)
א
consonantal, in
non initial word
positions
'
א
silent
none(1)
בּ b
ב v
גּ g g
ג
ג׳ (2)
דּ d d
ד
ה
consonantal
h
ה
silent
none(1)
ו
consonantal
v w
וּ u
וֹ o or
ז z
ז׳ (2)
ח (3)
dialectical

ט t
י
consonantal
y
י
part of hirik male
(/i/ vowel)
i
י
part of tsere male
(/e/ vowel or
/ei/ diphthong)
e é or
כּ, ךּ(4) k
כ, ך kh
ל l
מ, ם m
נ, ן n
ס s
ע
in initial or final
word positions
none(1) only in initial
word position

dialectical

ע
in medial
word positions
'
dialectical

פּ(5) p
פ, ף f
צ, ץ ts
צ׳, ץ׳ (2)
ק k q
ר r or
שׁ sh
שׂ s
תּ t
ת
(1)In transliterations of modern Israeli Hebrew, initial and final ע (in regular transliteration), silent or initial א, and silent ה are not transliterated. To the eye of readers orientating themselves on Latin (or similar) alphabets, these letters might seem to be transliterated as vowel letters; however, these are in fact transliterations of the vowel diacritics – niqqud (or are representations of the spoken vowels). E.g., in אִם ("if", ), אֵם ("mother", ) and אֹם ("nut", ), the letter א always represents the same consonant: (glottal stop), whereas the vowels /i/, /e/ and /o/ respectively represent the spoken vowel, whether it is orthographically denoted by diacritics or not. Since the Academy of the Hebrew Language ascertains that א in initial position is not transliterated, the symbol for the glottal stop     is omitted from the transliteration, and only the subsequent vowels are transliterated (whether or not their corresponding vowel diacritics appeared in the text being transliterated), resulting in "im", "em" and "om", respectively.

(2) The diacritic geresh – "׳" – is used with some other letters as well (ד׳, ח׳, ט׳, ע׳, ר׳, ת׳, see geresh), but only to transliterate from other languages to Hebrew – never to spell Hebrew words; therefore they were not included in this table (correctly translating a Hebrew text with these letters would require using the spelling in the language from which the transliteration to Hebrew was originally made). The non-standard (i.e., inconsistently with the guidelines specified by the Academy of the Hebrew Language) "ו׳" and "וו" are sometimes used to represent , which like , and appears in Hebrew slang and loanwords. However, the guidelines of the Academy of the Hebrew Language specify that and be indistinguishably represented by "ו" (vav); see Hebrew Vav for the orthographic variants of vav.

(3)The Sound (as "ch" in loch) is often transcribed "ch", inconsistently with the guidelines specified by the Academy of the Hebrew Language: "cham"; "schach".

(4)"ךּ" (final kaf with dagesh) is rare but exists, e.g. last word in Deuteronomy 7 1 (דברים פרק ז׳ פסוק א׳) in the word "מִמֶּךָּ"

(5)When representing , pe is always written in its regular, not final, form "פ", even when in final word position, which occurs with loanwords (e.g. שׁוֹפּ "shop"), foreign names (e.g. פִילִיפּ "Philip") and some slang (e.g. חָרַפּ "slept deeply").

Pronunciation

The descriptions that follow are based on the pronunciation of modern standard Israeli Hebrew. For a concise summary, see the article International Phonetic Alphabet for Hebrew. For further information on regional and historical variations in pronunciation, see Hebrew phonology.

Letters א בּ ב ג גּ ג׳ ד דּ ד׳ ה ו וּ וֹ וו , ו׳
(non-standard)
ז ז׳ ח ט י
IPA , , ~
Letters ִי כּ ךּ ך כ ל ם מ ן נ ס ע פּ פ ף ץ צ ץ׳ צ׳ ק ר שׁ שׂ תּ ת ת׳
IPA ~ ,


Shin and sin

Shin and sin are represented by the same letter, , but are two separate phonemes. They are not mutually allophonic. When vowel diacritics are used, the two phonemes are differentiated with a shin-dot or sin-dot; the shin-dot is above the upper-right side of the letter, and the sin-dot is above the upper-left side of the letter.

Symbol Name Transliteration Example
(left dot) sin s sour
(right dot) shin sh shop


Historically, left-dot-sin, corresponds to Proto-Semitic * , which in biblical-Judaic-Hebrew corresponded to a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative , as is evident in Greek transliteration of Hebrew words such as Balsam (בוֹשׂם)(the ls - 'שׂ') as is evident in the Targum Onkelos . Rendering of proto-semitic * as , is still evident in the Soqotri language .

Dagesh

Historically, the consonants bet,beis, gimel, dalet, kaf,kof, pe,pey, and tav each had two sounds: one hard (plosive), and one soft (fricative), depending on the position of the letter and other factors. When vowel diacritics are used, the hard sounds are indicated by a central dot called dagesh ( ), while the soft sounds lack a dagesh. In modern Hebrew, however, the dagesh only changes the pronunciation of bet, kaf, pe, and tav (tav only changes in Ashkenazi (sof) and Yemenite pronunciations).

With dagesh Without dagesh
Symbol Name Transliteration Example Symbol Name Transliteration Example
bet b /b/ bun vet v /v/ van
"ךּ" is rare but exists, e.g. last word in Deuteronomy 7 1 (דברים פרק ז׳ פסוק א׳) in the word "מִמֶּךָּ" – see תנ״ך מנוקד, דברים פרק ז׳ kaph k /k/ kangaroo khaph kh/ch/k /χ/ loch
pe p /p/ pass phe ph/f /f/ find
tav t /t/ talent sav* s /s/ sorry
* Only in Ashkenazi pronunciations. In Israeli Hebrew, it is always a tav, with a sound.
** The letters gimmel ( ) and dalet ( ) also have dagesh (dotted) forms, but these do not differ phonetically from the forms without the dagesh in most of the Modern Hebrew dialects.

Israeli Hebrew also exhibits no phonetic distinction between tav ( ) with or without a dagesh.


Identical pronunciation

In Israelmarker's general population, many consonants have the same pronunciation. They are:

Letters Transliteration Pronunciation (IPA)

aleph*

ayin*
-

vet (without dagesh)

vav
v

chet

khaph (without dagesh)
kh/ch/h

tet

tav
t

kaph (with dagesh)

qoph
k

samekh

sin (with left dot)
s

tsadi*

tav-samech*
and
tav-sin*
ts/tz
* Varyingly

Ancient Hebrew pronunciation

Some of the variations in sound mentioned above are due to a systematic feature of Ancient Hebrew. The six consonants were pronounced differently depending on their position. These letters were also called BeGeDKePHeT letters ( in English). (The full details are very complex; this summary omits some points.) They were pronounced as stops at the beginning of a syllable, or when doubled. They were pronounced as fricatives when preceded by a vowel (commonly indicated with a macron, ). The stop and double pronunciations were indicated by the dagesh. In Modern Hebrew the sounds and have reverted to and , respectively, and has become , so only the remaining three consonants show variation. "reish" may have also been a "doubled" letter, making the list BeGeD KePoReS and also rendering Hebrew one of the only languages to possess two 'r' sounds. (Sefer Yetzirah, 4:1, this depends on the antiquity of this book.)



Vowels

Matres lectionis

 aleph,   he,   vav and   yod are letters that can sometimes indicate a vowel instead of a consonant (which would be, repectively,  ). When they do,   and   are considered to constitute part of the vowel designation in combination with a niqqud symbol – a vowel diacritic (whether or not the diacritic is marked), whereas   and   are considered to be mute, their role being purely indicative of the non-marked vowel.


{|class="wikitable"


Vowel points

Niqqudis the system of dots the help determine vowels and consonants. In Hebrew, all forms of niqqudare often omitted in writing, except for children's books, prayer books, poetry, foreign words, and words which would be ambiguous to pronounce. Israeli Hebrew has five vowel phonemes, , but many more written symbols for them:

Note Ⅰ: The symbol "O" represents whatever Hebrew letter is used.

Note Ⅰ:The zeireis pronounced correctly as eiin modern Hebrew.
Note Ⅱ:The dagesh, mappiq, and shurukhave different functions, even though they look the same.
Note Ⅲ:The letter ו (vav) is used since it can only be represented by that letter.

Sh'va

By adding two vertical dots (called Sh'va) underneath the letter, the vowel is made very short.



Comparison table



Gershayim

The symbol is called a gershayimand is a punctuation mark used in the Hebrew language to denote acronyms. It is written before the last letter in the acronym. Gershayim is also the name of a note of cantillationin the reading of the Torah, printed above the accented letter.

Sounds represented with diacritic geresh

The sounds , , , written " ", " ", " ", and , non-standardly sometimes transliterated or , are often found in slang and loanwords that are part of the everyday Hebrew colloquial vocabulary. The apostrophe-looking symbol after the Hebrew letter modifies the pronunciation of the letter and is called a geresh. (As mentioned above, while still done, using to represent is non-standard; standard spelling rules allow no usage of whatsoever.)



The pronunciation of the following letters can also be modified with the geresh diacritic, the represented sounds are however foreign to Hebrew phonology, i.e., these symbols only represent sounds in foreign words or names when transliterated with the Hebrew alphabet, and never loanwords.



A gereshis also used to denote initialismsand to denote a Hebrew numeral. Geresh also is the name of one of the notes of cantillation in the reading of the Torah, but its appearance and function is different.

Unicode and HTML

The UnicodeHebrew block extends from U+0590 to U+05FF and from U+FB1D to U+FB40. It includes letters, ligatures, combining diacritical marks(niqqudand cantillationmarks) and punctuation. The Numeric Character Referencesis included for HTML. These can be used in many markup languages, and they are often used in Wiki to create the Hebrew glyphscompatible with the majority of web browsers.

See also



References

  1. "Aleph-bet" is commonly written in Israeli Hebrew without the maqaph (מקף, hyphen), אלפבית עברי, as opposed to with the hyphen, אלף־בית עברי
  2. Ancient Scripts.com:Old Hebrew
  3. Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 21b
  4. Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Pesach 87b, Avodah Zarah 18a
  5. Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Berachot 55c
  6. Zohar 1:3; 2:152
  7. The Book of Letters. Woodstock, Vermont: Jewish Lights Publishing, Woodstock. 1990
  8. The Arabic letters have, in principle (as six of the primary letters can have only two variants), four forms, according to their place in the word. The same goes with the Mandaic ones, except for three of the 22 letters, which have only one form. For more information, see Arabic alphabet and Mandaic alphabet.
  9. כ״ף, בי״ת and פ״א can only be read b, k and p, respectively, at the beginning of a word, while they will have the sole value of v, kh and ph in a sofit (final) position. In medial positions, both pronunciations are possible, but a dagesh may be inserted (in dictionaries or learning books) to know which pronunciation applies: = b and ב = v, = k and כ = kh, =p and פ = ph.
  10. Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
  11. However, וו (two separate vavs), used in Ktiv male, is to be distinguished from the Yiddish ligature װ (also two vavs but together as one character).
  12. See online overview at Biblical Hebrew Resources
  13. Transliteration guidelines by the Academy of the Hebrew Language, November 2006
  14. תנ״ך מנוקד, דברים פרק ז׳
  15. issued by the Academy of the Hebrew Language states that both and be indistinguishably represented in Hebrew using the letter Vav. Sometimes the Vav is indeed doubled, however not to denote as opposed to but rather, when spelling without niqqud, to denote the phoneme /v/ at a non-initial and non-final position in the word, whereas a single Vav at a non-initial and non-final position in the word in spelling without niqqud denotes one of the phonemes /u/ or /o/. To pronounce foreign words and loanwords containing the sound , Hebrew readers must therefore rely on former knowledge and context, see also pronunciation of Hebrew Vav.


Bibliography

Roots of the Hebrew Alphabet

External links

Keyboards
  • LiteType.com - Virtual & Interactive Hebrew Keyboard
  • Hebrew translit - for typing Hebrew with an English keyboard (transliteration with niqqud)
  • Mikledet.com - for typing Hebrew with an English keyboard (Hebrew keyboard|Hebrew layout)
  • Hebrew Writing - Typing Hebrew and Nikud using extended English keyboard (Hebrew keyboard|Hebrew Writing layout)


Letter Name
of letter
Consonant
indicated
when letter
consonantal


Vowel
designation
Name of
vowel designation
Indicated
Vowel
א
aleph
ê, ệ, ậ, â, ô
ה
he
ê, ệ, ậ, â, ô
ו
vav
וֹ
ô
וּ
û
י
yud
יִ
î
יֵ
ê, ệ
Name
Symbol
Israeli Hebrew
Transliteration
English
example
Hiriq
i
see
Zeire
and
e and ei
men,
main
Segol
, ( with
succeeding yod)
e, (ei with
succeeding yod)
men
Patach
a
car
Kamatz
, (or )
a, (or o)
car
Holam
סׁ
o
cone
Shuruk
u
tube
Kubutz
u
tube
Name
Symbol
Israeli Hebrew
Transliteration
English
example
Shva
or
apostrophe, e,
or nothing
silent
Reduced Segol
e
men
Reduced Patach
a
cup
Reduced Kamatz
o
cone
Vowel comparison table
Vowel Length
(phonetically not manifested in Israeli Hebrew)
Transliteration
English
example
Long
Short
Very Short
[a] a
spa
[ɛ] e
temp
[ɔ] o
cone
n/a
[u] u
tube
[i] i
ski
Note I:
By adding two vertical dots (sh'va)

the vowel is made very short.
Note II:
The short o and long a have the same niqqud.
Note III:
The short o is usually promoted to a long o
in Israeli writing for the sake of disambiguation
Note IV:
The short u is usually promoted to a long u
in Israeli writing for the sake of disambiguation
Hebrew slang and loanwords
Name
Symbol
Transliteration
Example
Gimel with a geresh
גָ׳חְנוּן
Zayin with a geresh
קוֹלָאז׳
Tsadi with a geresh
(treat)
צ׳וּפָּר
Vav with a geresh
or double Vav
or (non standard)
w
awánta (boastful act)
עָוָנְטָה
Transliteration of non-native sounds
Name
Symbol
Arabic letter
Example
Comment
Dalet with a geresh
(ذ)
Voiced th
Dhu al-Hijjah (ذو الحجة)‎
ד׳ו אל-חיג׳ה
* Also used for English voiced th
* Often a simple ד is written.
Tav with a geresh
(ﺙ)
Voiceless th
Thurston
ת׳רסטון
et with a geresh
(خ)
Sheikh (شيخ)‎
שייח׳
* Unlike the other sounds in this table, the sound represented by ח׳ is indeed a native sound in Hebrew; the geresh is however used only when transliteration must distinguish between and , in which case ח׳ transliterates the former and ח the latter, whereas in everyday usage ח without geresh is pronounced only dialectically but commonly.
Resh with a geresh
(غ)
Ghajar
ר׳ג׳ר
Sometimes an Ayin with a geresh (ע׳) is used to transliterate غ – inconsistently with the guidelines specified by the Academy of the Hebrew Language

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