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Learning the Hebrew Alphabet - Consonants

Guest Author - Julie L Baumler

Learning the Hebrew alphabet may seem a little difficult initially, but it is well worth it because since Hebrew phonics are very regular, once you know the alphabet you also know how to pronounce new words you see in the dictionary or newspaper. Hebrew letters have only one case (rather than upper and lower case as in English), although a few letters have different forms when they come at the end of the word. These letters are referred to as letter sofit (סופית), which means final.

The Hebrew alphabet is an abajad, that means that it is made up of consonants only. Hebrew does have vowels, they are added as dots above, below or next to the letters. Vowels are only used in newspapers, dictionaries, and documents written for beginning readers. It also helps to know that Hebrew is read from right to left.

Hebrew Consonants
SoundNameHebrew Letter
No sound on it's own, often given a vowelalif
א
b as in boybet
בּ
v as in vowelvet
ב
g as in getgimel
ג
d as in dogdalet
ד
h as in heyhe
ה
v as in vowelvav
ו
z as in zoozayin
ז
German hard H as in Bachhet
ח
t as in tottet
ט
y as in boyyod
י
k as in coughkaf
kaf sofit
כ
ך
ch as in Bachchaf
chaf sofit
כּ
ךּ
l as in lovelylamed
ל
m as in mymem
mem sofit
מ
ם
n as in nonun
nun sofit
נ
ן
s as in sumsamek
ס
no sound, often given a vowelayin
ע
p as in piepe
פּ
f as in funfe
fe sofet
פ
ף
tz, similar to zoomtsadi
צ
ץ
q as in quiet,c as in cootqof
ק
r as in rightresh
ר
sh as in sheepshin
שׁ
s as in sinsin
שׂ
t as in toytav
ת


You will notice that more than one letter has the same sound, this is for historical reasons and my Hebrew teacher told us there is no rule as to which letter is used in which word.

Learning the Hebrew Alphabet - Vowels
Learning the Hebrew Alphabet - Foreign Sounds

Everyday HebrewOrder Everyday Hebrew
- an excellent self-study introduction to Hebrew

ZigZagWorld's Hebrew Keyboard Tutor - a fun and easy way to learn to type in Hebrew
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Content copyright © 2014 by Julie L Baumler. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Julie L Baumler. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Rachel Schaus for details.

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