Advanced Grammatical Information
The Dagesh Kal only appears in these six letters (Bet, Gimmel, Dalet, Kaf, Pey, and Tav) and will only appear:
- At the beginning of a word or
- After a Sheva Nach (silent sheva)
In other words, it will only appear if it opens a syllable.
Most commentaries are of the opinion that the Dagesh Kal is different then the Dagesh Chazak. While the Dagesh Chazak tells us of a missing letter the Dagesh Kal does not. The Dagesh Kal is just another pronunciation of a letter. Its purpose is to form a new sound and not to notify us of any missing letters.
Finally, these Begedkephat letters may also have a Dagesh Chazak, though the Dagesh Chazak will appear identical to the Dagesh Kal.
The rule of thumb is this: if the Begedkephat letter has a vowel preceding it, the dagesh is Chazak instead of Kal.
In other words, if there is no vowel preceding it (e.g., the letter starts a syllable or word), then the dagesh is Kal and not Chazak. This should be clearer after you have finished