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Aramaic Annotations: Pt.

© 2010, T. Michael W. Halcomb |

1. Aramaic Vowels or “Vowel Points”: In my pt. 1 of my

“Annotations” I provided a basic table that contained the Aramaic Alphabet,
which as we know, contains all consonants!!! We looked at “medial consonants”
(all letters not labeled “final”) and we looked at “final consonants” (all letters that
were circled). In Aramaic, vowels, unlike English, are not written between
consonants and thus, there are not “letters” per se. Instead, vowels are indicated
by dashes and dots, referred to more properly as “vowel points”. These “vowel
points” can appear above, below and even inside the consonants!!!
Take for instance, the Aramaic word “Jerusalem”:

Notice “vowel points” in each of

Notice the dots above & inside the
“shin”. These are not “vowel points”!
ְ ‫י ְרוּ‬ these cases. Can you find others
in this word?

2. Aramaic “Vowel Points” Tables: Here are 2 tables I’ve created to

help me recall Aramaic “Vowel Points” (Except for the “waw” I use the
consonant “alep” only as a placeholder here so we can see where the vowels go.):

Memory Tips:
1) The way I remember the 13 ֹ‫א‬ Holam (long “o” as in Eng. “so”)
“vowel points” is to have 2
columns where one
contains the “dagesh” (the
‫וּ‬ Shureq (long “u” sound in Eng. as in “soon”)
dot) and the other contains
the “qamets” (T). ‫ִאי ִא‬ Hiriq (short “i” sound as in Eng. “sit”) | Hiriq Yodh (long “i”
sound as in Eng. “ring”
2) I imagine the “dagesh”
starting at the top and then
falling to the middle and
‫ֵא‬ Tsere (short or long “e” sounds; usually “ey” as in Eng. “hey”)
the bottom and then
beginning to multiply. It ‫ֶא‬ Segol (short “e” sound as in Eng. “Ed”)
goes from 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3
to 5 and then, at the end,
the 5 splits into a new “3”
‫ֱא‬ Hataf Segol (VERY short “e” sound as in “eh”)
and a new “2”. (In both
tables note that the vowel
sounds begin “long” and
‫ְא ֻא‬ Qibbuts (short “u” in Eng. Sounds like “book” | Shewa
(murmured “a”
fall to “short”. There can sounds like Eng.
basically be 5 long & 89 “uh” e.g. “above”)
short sounds.)

3) I imagine the qamets

‫ָא‬ Qamets & Qamets Qatan (long “a” sound as in Eng. “father”
OR short “o” as in Eng. “stop”)
acting like it’s going to
take on more substance ‫ֳא‬
as it goes but actually Hataf Qamets (VERY short “o” sound as in “ah”)
just whittling down
quickly. Eventually the
‫ֲא‬ Hataf Patah (VERY short “a” sound as in “ah”)
“trunk” of the qamets
vanishes and so do does
the shewa ( : ).
‫ַא‬ Patah (short “a” sound as in Eng. “cat”)