December 14, 2006

Learn to read Hebrew

A friend of mine just asked me for a good link for learning to read Hebrew. Well, here's a good link. But if it were up to me, I'd provide some context which would both help learn to read, and teach you something about the language. So, maybe I'll do it.

I think I've already covered vowel points about as well as I can, so go look at that post for vowels and I'll skip to consonants. 

There are 22 consonants in Hebrew five of them have final forms, and three of them (in Modern Hebrew) have a stop and fricative pronunciation. All 22 Hebrew consonants have graphic cognates in Arabic. (Phonetic cognates can be found here.) All Hebrew and Arabic letters have numerical values - which are the same for both! In tabular form:

Name Letter Final form Transcription Arabic cognate Numerical value Comments
Alef א   ' ا 1 glottal stop
Bet ב   b, v ب 2 "v" after a vowel except when doubled, otherwise "b"
Gimel ג   g ج 3 used to have a fricative form "gh"
Dalet ד   d د 4 used to have a fricative form "dh"
He ה   h 5  
Vav ו   v و 6 used to be "w"
Zayin ז   z ز 7  
Het ח   h ح 8 voiceless pharyngeal
Tet ט   t ط 9 emphatic "t"
Yud י   y ي 10  
Kaf כ ך k, kh ك 20 "kh" after a vowel except when doubled, otherwise "k"
Lamed ל   l ل 30  
Mem מ ם m م 40  
Nun נ ן n ن 50  
Samekh ס   s س 60  
`Ayin ע   ` ع 70 voiced pharyngeal
Pe פ פ p, f ف 80 "f" after a vowel except when doubled, otherwise "p"
Sadi צ ץ s ص 90 used to be emphatic "s", now "ts"
Quf ק q ق 100 uvular stop
Resh ר   r ر 200  
Shin, Sin ש   sh, s ش 300 "s" used to be a voiceless lateral fricative, in pointed script "sh" is distinguished by a point above the upper-right corner, "s" by a point above the upper-left
Tav ת   t ت 400 used to have a fricative form "th"

Posted by David Boxenhorn at December 14, 2006 10:24 PM | TrackBacks
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that kind of made my head hurt...but thanks for the lesson, anyway. i'm learning arabic, and people have told me, "oh, after you learn the arabic alphabet, hebrew is so easy, yaddayaddayadda..." NOT.

Posted by: bagelunderthecouch at February 7, 2007 08:30 AM Permalink

Good stuff! thank you, I'll pass on to others.

Posted by: Alexander Seinfeld at March 9, 2007 04:53 PM Permalink