Learning to Read Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar

By Robert Ray Ellis | Go to book overview

Lesson 1
CONSONANTS

1A CONSONANTS

1. Introduction
a. The only true letters in the Hebrew alphabet are consonants. In biblical Hebrew vowels are indicated by a system of markings, called “pointings,” which appear in connection with consonants. Vowel pointings will be discussed in the next lesson.
b. In Hebrew the consonants which form words, and the words which form sentences, are read from right to left, instead of left to right as in English. In the history of writing the Hebrew language various scripts have been used. This Grammar employs the square script that appears in contemporary Hebrew Bibles.
c. On the following page is a chart which presents the consonants of the Hebrew alphabet, giving their names, forms, transliteration (or phonetic value), and pronunciation.
1. The names of the consonants — like other grammatical terms throughout this Grammar — are written in English with simplified spellings to make them easier for beginning students to remember. The names of the consonants in Hebrew appear in Appendix 1, section 1.
2. The following consonant chart provides a pronunciation system based on modern Hebrew. Traditional or classical pronunciation is also indicated where it varies from modern Hebrew.

-1-

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