Hebrew/Aleph-Bet/11

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Aleph-Bet Lesson 11 — סְקִירָה Review
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 Lessons on the
Hebrew Aleph-Bet
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 Introduction
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 1 א בּ תE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 2 ב ה נןE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 3 מם שׁשׂE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 4 ל וE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 5 ד ר יE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 6 ג ז חE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 7 ט ככּךE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 8 ס קE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 9 ע פפּףE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 10 צץE
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 Review
100% developed  as of Jun 5, 2008 TestAnswers
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We have finally completed the Hebrew alphabet course! Let's review what you learned in this level:

Letters[edit]

Here, each consonant is shown in its own box. Each line contains the name of the letter in English, the actual letter, the transliteration used throughout the book and the IPA equivalent.

Name Letter Transliteration IPA Pronunciation
Aleph א ʔ The glottal stop as in "cooperate". When it appears at the beginning of a word it indicates that the word starts with a vowel. Also makes the "a" sound (as in "apple", "park", or "Dallas" or the "u" sound as in "run").
Bet בּ b b "B" as in "ball".
Vet ב v v "V" as in "violin".
Gimmel ג g g "G" as in "give".
Jimmel ג׳ j "J" as in "jump".
Dalet ד d d "D" as in "dog".
Dhalet ד׳ th ð "Th" as in "that".
He ה h h "H" as in "heart". When at the end of a word, makes the "a" sound.
Vav ו v v "V" as in "violin". Also makes the "o", "u", and "w" sounds.
Waw וו w w "W" as in "weep. Also makes the "v" sound in the middle of words.
Zayin ז z z "Z" as in "zoo".
Zhayin ז׳ zh ʒ as in "vision".
Ħet ח ħ χ "Ch" as in German "Bach", in Dutch "acht".
Tet ט t t "T" as in "tomato".
Yod י y j "Y" as in "yard". Also makes the short "i" sound as in "kid" and the long "e" sound as in "green".
Yod-Yod יי i i Used for the long "a" as in "gate" and the long "i" as in "child".
Kaf כּ k k "K" as in "kitten".
Kaf Sofit (final) ךּ k k Rarely used (almost no words end with Kaf).
Khaf כ kh χ "Ch" as in German "Bach", in Dutch "acht".
Khaf Sofit (final) ך kh χ When Khaf is used in the end of a word, it looks like this.
Lamed ל l l "L" as in "lamb".
Mem מ m m "M" as in "mother".
Mem Sofit (final) ם m m When Mem is used in the end of a word, it looks like this.
Nun נ n n "N" as in "name".
Nun Sofit (final) ן n n When Nun is used in the end of a word, it looks like this.
Samekh ס s s "S" as in "safe".
‘Ayin ע ʔ The glottal stop as in "cooperate". When it appears at the beginning of a word it indicates that the word starts with a vowel.
Pe פּ p p "P" as in "port".
Fe פ f f "F" as in "fame".
Fe Sofit (final) ף f f When Fe is used in the end of a word, it looks like this.
Tsadi צ ts ʦ "Zz" as in "pizza".
Tsadi Sofit (final) ץ ts ʦ When Tsadi is used in the end of a word, it looks like this.
Chadi צ׳ ch "Ch" as in "chair".
Chadi Sofit (final) ץ׳ ch When Chadi is used in the end of a word, it looks like this.
Qof ק q k "K" as in "kitten".
Resh ר r ʁ "R" as in German "Frau", in French "français".
Shin שׁ sh ʃ "Sh" as in "ship".
Sin שׂ s s "S" as in "safe".
Tav ת t t "T" as in "tomato".
Thav ת׳ th θ "Th" as in "thing".

Niqqud[edit]

The symbols are arranged by pronunciation.

Name Diacritic Transliteration IPA Pronunciation
Qamats בָּ a a "A" as in "spa". Also "a" as in "what".
Qamats malei (qamats + Aleph/He) בָּה/בָּא a a "-"
Pataħ בַּ a a "-". Also "a" as in "apple".
Pataħ malei (pataħ + Aleph/He) בַּה/בַּא a a "-"
Ħataf-pataħ חֲ a a "-"
Tsere בֵּ e e "E" as in "bet" or long "a" as "gate".
Tsere malei (tsere + Yod) בֵּי e e "-"
Segol בֶּ e e "-"
Segol malei (segol + Yod) בֶּי e e "-"
Ħataf-segol חֱ e e "-"
Ħolam ħasser בּׂ o o "O" as in "stone" or "o" as in "hot".
Ħolam malei בּוֹ o o "-"
Qamats qatan בָּ o o "-"
Ħataf-qamats חֳ o o "-"
Ħiriq בִּ i i "I" as in "ski".
Ħiriq malei (ħiriq + Yod) בִּי i i "-"
Qubbuts בֻּ u u "U" as in "flu" or "u" as in "put".
Shuruq בּוּ u u "-"
Shva בְּ . or e . or ə "A" as in "about" when at the beginning of syllable, or indicates the end of a syllable when it's there

Numbers[edit]

Numeric value Letter
1 א
2 ב
3 ג
4 ד
5 ה
6 ו
7 ז
8 ח
9 ט
10 י
11 י"א
12 י"ב
13 י"ג
14 י"ד
15 ט"ו
16 ט"ז
17 י"ז
18 י"ח
19 י"ט
20 כ
21 כ"א
25 כ"ה
30 ל
35 ל"ו
40 מ
50 נ
60 ס
70 ע
80 פ
90 צ
100 ק
105 ק"ה
150 ק"נ
155 קנ"ה
200 ר
300 ש
400 ת
Rarely used:
500 ך
600 ם
700 ן
800 ף
900 ץ

Letters that sound the same[edit]

Traditional Hebrew had many phonemes that don't exist today. Most of these sounds are called by linguists "pharyngealised", that is, to produce them you need to "voice" (use your vocal cords) while sticking the root of your tongue to the pharynx. Many European Jews found it impossible to make such sounds, so they replaced them with regular consonants, all of which were already existent in Hebrew. For instance:

Kaf used to be a regular "k" sound (k).
Qof used to be a pharyngealised "k" sound (q).
Eventually Qof was pronounced the same as the regular "k".

As a result of this merging, many sounds have two letters to represent them. To prevent confusion, here are all the common sounds:

  • Aleph א and ‘Ayn ע both make the glottal stop (’).
  • Vet ב and Vav ו both make the "v" sound (v).
  • At the end of a word, Aleph א and He ה both make the "a" sound (a).
  • Ħet ח and Khaf כך both make the "kh" sound (χ).
  • Tet ט and Tav ת both make the "t" sound (t).
  • Kaf כּ and Qof ק both make the "k" sound (k).
  • Samekh ס and Sin שׂ both make the "s" sound (s).

Letters that look the same[edit]

Many letters in Hebrew are based on other letters. One could almost call them diacritics. For example:

  • Resh ר
  • Yod י
  • Vav ו

Many inexperienced readers tend to confuse these letters.

  • ז Zayin
  • ו Vav
  • ן Nun Sofit



  • ם Mem Sofit
  • ס Samekh



  • ה He
  • ח Ħet
  • ת Tav



  • כ Kaf
  • ב Bet



  • ג Gimmel
  • נ Nun



  • ד Dalet
  • ר Resh
  • ך Kaf Sofit

Foreign transliteration[edit]

The fact that there are multiple letters for the same sounds, creates a problem. What letters would you use for foreign words, using the Hebrew alphabet? Can you use any of them?

The answer is no. While Tet and Tav, for instance, sound the same, and supposedly we could use both of them, only Tet can be used for the "t" sound. This is because in foreign transliterations Tav might represent the "th" sound (פְּלִימוּת plimuth Plymouth).

European Languages[edit]

  • A — Aleph א
  • V — Vav in the beginning of syllables; Vet anywhere else
  • Ch, kh, h — Khaf כך in German and Greek; Ħet ח anywhere else
  • T — Tet ט
  • Th — Tav ת, Thav ת׳
  • S — Samekh ס
  • Sh — Shin שׁ
  • Ts, tz, z — Tsadi צ
  • K — Qof ק
  • Any form of R — Resh ר
  • Tch (as in "chair") — Tchadi צ׳ ץ׳
  • Zh, j, s (as in "pleasure") — Zhayin ז׳
  • J, dzh (as in "jam") — Jimmel ג׳

Arabic[edit]

These transliterations apply only to words of Arabic origin:

  • T — Tav ת
  • Th — Thav ת׳
  • Dj — Jimmel ג׳
  • Ħ — Ħet ח
  • Kh — Khet ח׳
  • Dh — Dhal ד׳
  • S' — Tsadi צ
  • D' — Dadi צ׳
  • T' — Tet ט
  • Dh' — Dhet ט׳
  • Gh — Ghayin ע׳
  • Q — Qof ק
  • K — Kaf כּ

Niqqud[edit]

When writing foreign words, always use the vowel letters Aleph א, Vav ו and י.

There are many exceptions regarding Aleph, but don't take the risk.

For example: based on the former table, Tokaj (a town in Hungary famous for its wine) would never be written with Kaf and Tav (then it would be Thokhaj), but rather with Qof and Tet, respectively. But what niqqud would be used?

There are some rules:

  • Never use ħataf forms.
  • "O" is always written with ħolam malei (וֹ).
  • "U" is always shuruq (וּ), never qubbuts (בֻּ).
  • As stated before, always use vowel letters, or in other words, malei forms (בָּה/בָּא בַּה/בַּא בִּי בּוֹ בּוּ). It doesn't matter whether the word is written with niqqud or without.
  • Write the "e" without using any vowel letter (this might cause confusion between "e" and "ְ" but this is something you'd have to guess).
  • You can use either Qamats or Pataħ for "a", Segol or Tsere for "e".

Then the word Tokaj would be written טוֹקָאי.


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