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1.6  Transliteration (Consonants)

Hebrew Consonants -

Hebrew Transliteration Scheme

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English to Hebrew

Writing Hebrew words in the English alphabet is called "transliteration" and is as much an art as a science. For Hebrew consonants, the following transliteration scheme will be used:

Transliteration Table for Consonants

Hebrew Consonants Summary Page (PDF file)

Notes:
Because people pronounce things differently, there are no “official rules” for transliterating Hebrew letters and words into the English alphabet. Because there are various transliteration schemes, often you will find different transliterations (and hear different pronunciations) for the same Hebrew word!

For example, Ashkenazi (German and eastern European) pronunciations common in English-speaking countries often shift “a” sounds towards “o,” turn some “t’s” into “s’s,” and accent the next-to-last syllable whereas Israelis accent the last syllable. For example, Ashkenaz say “Shab•bos” instead of “Shab•bat”; “Mo•shi•ach” instead of “Ma•shi•ach”; and “Tal•lis” instead of “Tal•lit”.

Of course, Hebrew vowels marks are also transliterated using English vowel letters
(A E I O and U). See Section 2.9 for more information.

On this web site, transliterations will use dots to separate syllables and the accented syllable will be shown in boldface. For example:

Definition for Abba



Advanced Grammatical Note

(You may ignore this information if you are just learning the Aleph-Bet)

The Begedkephat letters are transliterated as indicated in the table above, though you should be aware that the dagesh in any one of these letters may be Chazak (strong) rather than Kal (weak). If the dagesh is Chazak, the Begedkephat letter will be preceded by a vowel; in other words, if the dageshed letter opens a syllable (or word), then you can assume it is Kal, not Chazak. This will become more important in Unit Three when discussing how to divide Hebrew words into syllables. The Dagesh Chazak “doubles” the consonantal value whereas the Dagesh Kal does not.

Return to Unit One

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