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2.2  A-Type Vowels

Hebrew Vowels -

Simple A-Type Vowels

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This first vowel group you will learn is sometimes called the "A-type" because it indicates an "ah" sound (as in "yacht" or "aqua") when combined with a letter. The "simple" A-type vowels have the following pattern:

Simple Vowel  Schema

Note that the "X" refers to any Hebrew letter (for example Aleph, Bet, and so on) and the rectangular box below the letter refers to a one the following types of vowel marks (nikkudim):

Simple A-Type Vowels

Notes:

  • Although these vowel marks look different, they all represent an "ah" sound.
  • Note which vowel is long (Qamets) and which are short (Patach, Chateph Patach).
  • The Chateph Patach is sometimes called a "half vowel" and is the shortest of all vowels: it can only appear under the guttural letters (and is usually part of the following syllable).

Basic Syllables

A syllable is called "open" when it does
not end with a "stopping" sound:

A syllable is called "closed" when it ends
with a "stopping" sound:

Open Syllable

Closed Syllable

Open Syllables:

Open Syllables

Closed Syllables:

Closed Syllables

Full A-Type Vowel

In addition to the three simple A-type vowels you have studied, there is a "full-vowel" variation that you should be aware of: Qamets can have a silent Hey following it
(the Hey, a mater, is not pronounced but is considered part of the vowel):

Full Vowel Schema

Note that the "X" refers to any Hebrew letter (for example Aleph, Bet, Gimmel, and so on) and the rectangular box below the letter refers to a vowel mark location.  When the letter Hey follows a letter with a Qamets or Patach, it functions not as a consonant, but as a vowel letter. This is called a "consonantal vowel" and the result is called a "mixed" or "full" vowel.

Full A-Type Vowel

Notes:

  • This vowel also represents an "ah" sound.
  • This vowel normally marks the end of a word.
  • If there is a dot inside of the following Hey, it is considered a consonant and not part of the full vowel (the dotted Hey is called a mappiq).
  • This vowel is always considered a long vowel.

Examples:

Full A-Type Examples

Practice Readings

Practice Readings

* The dot (dagesh) in the Bet indicates a "doubling" of the letter, causing the previous syllable to be closed (dagesh chazak).
 

Quick Summary:

A-Type Vowels

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Transliteration Practice:

Practice

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