Hebrew Alphabet and Grammar Chapter
שׂ S as in seen; a softer S than the Samek; unvoiced and slightly aspirated
שׁ SH as in sheen; unvoiced and strongly aspirated
d. Velar (Emphatic) T and K
The letter ט is a T sound that may have been pronounced more on the palate than was the
case with its counterpart תּ (the תּ seems to have been pronounced with the tongue on the
back of the teeth). The letter ק is a K that was probably pronounced further back in the
throat, more in the back of the palate, than כּ. These two consonants are pronounced more
emphatically and are called velars. The צ is also a velar.
Table 1.7. ט and ק
ט a T made more on the palate, as in tot; may have had a glottal sound
ק a K sound at the back of the throat; no English analogy
e. The Nasals
A nasal is a sound made by vibrating the vocal chords while obstructing the flow of air
through the mouth with the lips or tongue with the result that air and its sound comes out the
nose instead of the mouth. Hebrew has two nasals: מ (which obstructs airflow with the lips)
and נ (which obstructs airflow with the tongue on the palate). These are like their English
counterparts M and N.
Table 1.8. The Nasals
מ M as in miss
נ N as in now
f. The Linguals
A lingual is a consonant sound made by causing the airstream the flow over the sides of the
tongue, as in the English L and R.
Table 1.9. The Liquids
ל L as in look
ר R as in read
g. The Glides (Semivowels)
A semivowel or glide is a consonant with a vowel-like sound; sometimes they are actually
used as vowels. For example, English Y is a consonant in yoke but a vowel in easy. Hebrew
has two semivowels: ו and י.
ו W as in wish (modern pronunciation: like V in very)
Chapter 1: The Hebrew Alphabet and Vowels 7
Hebrew Alphabet and Grammar Chapter PDF
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