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Chapter 1a Hebrew Alphabet

Twenty-Three Consonants

Letter

Name

Alef
Bet
Gimel
Dalet
He
Waw
Zayin
et
Tet
Yod
Kaf
Lamed
Mem
Nun
Samek
Ayin
Pe
Tsade
Qof
Resh
Sin
Shin
Taw

Basics of Biblical Hebrew


Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt

Pronunciation
silent
b as in boy
g as in God
d as in day
h as in hay
w as in way
z as in Zion
ch as in Bach
t as in toy
y as in yes
k as in king
l as in lion
m as in mother
n as in now
s as in sin
silent
p as in pastor
ts as in boots
k as in king
r as in run
s as in sin
sh as in ship
t as in toy

Transliteration
<
b
g
d
h
w
z

y
k
l
m
n
s
>
p

q
r

Chapter 1b Hebrew Alphabet


Written from Right to Left

Hebrew is written from right to left,


not left to right as in English

Basics of Biblical Hebrew


Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt

Chapter 1c Hebrew Alphabet


Five Final Forms

Five Hebrew letters have final forms. When one of


these letters occurs at the end of a word, it is written
differently than when it appears at the beginning or in the
middle of a word. The changing of a letters form does not
change its pronunciation or transliteration.

Regular
Form

Final
Form

Example

Basics of Biblical Hebrew


Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt

Transliteration Translation

drk

road, way

>m

nation, people

zqn

old man, elder

ksp

money, silver

<r

earth, land

Chapter 1d Hebrew Alphabet


Six Begadkephat Consonants

Six consonants have two possible pronunciations and are known


as begadkephat consonants. To distinguish between the two
pronunciations, a dot called Daghesh Lene is inserted into
the consonant. The presence of Daghesh Lene indicates a hard
pronunciation and its absence denotes a soft pronunciation.
Begadkephat
Letter

Basics of Biblical Hebrew


Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt

Pronunciation

Transliteration

b as in boy

v as in vine
g as in God
gh as in aghast
d as in day
dh as in the
k as in king
ch as in Bach
p as in pastor
ph as in alphabet
t as in toy
th as in thin

Chapter 1e Hebrew Alphabet


Four Guttural Consonants and

Four Hebrew letters are called gutturals.


They are called gutturals because they are
pronounced in the back of the throat.

, , , and sometimes

Basics of Biblical Hebrew


Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt

Chapter 1f Hebrew Alphabet


Easily Confused Letters

Hebrew consonants that look alike


1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

(Bet)
(Gimel)
(He)
(Sin)
(final Mem)
(Dalet)
(Tsade)
(Waw)
(Waw)
(final Kaf)

(Kaf)
(Nun)
(et)

(Taw)

(Shin)
(Samek)
(Resh)
(Ayin)
(Zayin)
(final Nun)
(final Nun)

Hebrew consonants that sound alike


1.
2.
3.

(Tet)
(Qof)
(Samek)

Basics of Biblical Hebrew


Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt

(Taw with Daghesh Lene)


(Kaf with Daghesh Lene)
(Sin)

Chapter 1g Hebrew Alphabet


Modern Pronunciation

The pronunciation of modern Hebrew differs in a number


of ways from ancient pronunciation. With the three
begadkephat consonants listed below, the forms without
Daghesh Lene are pronounced like the forms with
Daghesh Lene in modern Hebrew.

Consonant

Basics of Biblical Hebrew


Gary D. Pratico and Miles V. Van Pelt

Traditional
Pronunciation

Modern
Pronunciation

gh as in aghast

g as in God

dh as in the

d as in day

th as in thin

t as in toy

w as in way

v as in vine