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1.3  Similar Hebrew Letters

Hebrew Consonants -

Discerning between easily confused letters

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When you are first learning the Hebrew alphabet, some letters may appear similar to one another, while other letters sound the same. The most readily confused are listed below. Take heart, however: Once you have mastered the alphabet and begun to read Hebrew, these letters will present little difficulty for you.

Similar-Looking Letters
In modern Hebrew orthography, the following letters look somewhat similar:

Gimmel has a "foot" whereas Nun does not.

Zayin's first stroke extends to the right of the vertical stroke, whereas Vav is a single stroke. Nun sofit looks like an extra long Vav.

Hey has a "window" at the top, whereas Chet does not; Tav has a "foot" that points left.

Vet's second stroke extends to the right of the first stroke, whereas Khaf is a single stroke.

Dalet's first stroke extends across its second stroke, whereas Resh is a single stroke. Khaf sofit looks like a Resh with a long tail.

Fey Sofit loops downward, whereas Tsade Sofit loops upward.

Tsade's second stroke comes from the top right, whereas Ayin's comes from the top left.

Samekh has a rounded second stroke whereas Mem sofit has a square shape.

Similar Sounding Letters
In modern Hebrew phonetics, the following letters make similar sounds:

Phonetically Similar

Note: These orthographical and phonetic differences are only difficult for new learners of Hebrew. The same problem exists when learning Arabic script, for example. However, once you have gained some proficiency reading Hebrew the differences between the letters will be obvious to you.

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