The Aspiration of the Tenues

The harder sound of the six Begadkephath letters, indicated by a Dageš lene, is to be regarded, according to the general analogy of languages, as their older and original pronunciation, from which the softer sound was weakened. The original hard sound is maintained when the letter is initial, and after a consonant, but when it immediately follows a vowel or Šewā mobile it is softened and aspirated by their influence, e.g. פָּרַץ‎ pāraṣ, יִפְרֹץ‎ yiphrōṣ, כֹּל‎ kōl, Read more [...]
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Unchangeable Hebrew Vowels

What vowels in Hebrew are unchangeable, i.e. are not liable to attenuation (to Šewâ), modification, lengthening, or shortening, can be known with certainty only from the nature of the grammatical forms, and in some cases by comparison with Arabic. This hems good especially of the essentially long vowels, i.e. those long by nature or contraction, as distinguished from those which are only lengthened rhythmically, i.e. on account of the special laws which in Hebrew regulate the tone and the formation Read more [...]
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Hebrew Verbs With Gutturals

Verbs which have a guttural for one of the three radicals differ in their inflexion from the ordinary strong verb. These differences do not affect the consonantal part of the stem, and it is, therefore, more correct to regard the guttural verbs as a subdivision of the strong verb. At the most, only the entire omission of the strengthening in some of the verbs middle guttural (as well as in the imperfect Niph'al of verbs first guttural) can be regarded as a real weakness. On the other hand, some original Read more [...]
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Mater Lectionis

The usage of certain consonants to indicate a vowel in the spelling of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac languages is called matres lectionis (Latin "mothers of reading", singular form: mater lectionis, Hebrew: אֵם קְרִיאָה mother of reading). The letters that do this in Hebrew are א (aleph), ה (he), ו (waw) and י (yod). The י and ו in particular are more often vowels than they are consonants. The practice of using matres lectionis seems to have originated when [ay] and [aw] diphthongs Read more [...]
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Remarks on Pronunciation

א is the "soft breathing" like the h in English hour.  ה is the "rough breathing" like the h in English heat. ח is pronounced like ch in the German Buch. ח represents two Arabic letters خ chà (pronounced as above) and ح hhà, a strong aspirate pronounced low down in the throat. ט is a palatal t, the tip of the tounge is touching the palate instead of the teeth. ע is pronounced by some the same as א, by others like ng in English sing. ע represents two Arabic letters ع ʿayn, which Read more [...]
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Hebrew Alphabet

The Hebrew character in used at the present day, and in which the oldest existing manuscripts of the Bible are found written, is not only the same that was employed at the time of Jerome, viz. in the fourth century and fifth centuries after Christ, but is even spoken of in the Talmud, and still earlier in the Mishna, by the name of כתב אשׁוּרית Assyrian writing, as consisting of the Assyrian or the Aramaean letters which they affirmed to have been brought by Ezra from Assyria on the Read more [...]
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Hebrew Numerals

Hebrew numeral system is divided in units, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc. Numbers are divided into cardinals and ordinals. The cardinals have masculine and feminine absolute and construct. The ordinal numbers have two genders, but no contruct state. The numbers have also pronominal suffixes e.g. שׁנינו׃ (us two) in Gen 31:37. Genesis 31:37 כי־משׁשׁת את־כל־כלי מה־מצאת מכל כלי־ביתך שׂים כה נגד אחי ואחיך ויוכיחו בין שׁנינו׃ Read more [...]
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Hebrew Tenses, Moods, Flexion

(1) While the Hebrew verb, owing to these derivative forms or conjugations, possesses a certain richness and copiousness, it is, on the other hand, poor in the matter of tenses and moods. The verb has only two tense-forms (Perfect and Imperfect), besides an Imperative (but only in the active), two Infinitives and a Participle. All relations of time, absolute and relative, are expressed either by these forms (hence a certain diversity in their meaning) or by syntactical combinations. Of moods properly Read more [...]
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Forms and Names of Hebrew Consonants

1. The Hebrew letters now in use, in which both the manuscripts of the O.T. are written and our editions of the Bible are printed, commonly called the square character (כְּתָב מְרֻבָּע‎), also the Assyrian character (כְּ׳ אַשּׁוּרִי‎), are not those originally employed. Old Hebrew (or Old Canaanitish) writing, as it was used on public monuments in the beginning of the ninth and in the second half of the eighth century b.c., is to be seen in the inscription of Mêšaʿ, Read more [...]
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The Hebrew Vowels in General, Vowel Letters and Vowel Signs

1. The original vowels in Hebrew, as in the other Semitic tongues, are a, i, u. E and o always arise from an obscuring or contraction of these three pure sounds, viz. ĕ by modification from ĭ or ă; short ŏ from ŭ; ê by contraction from ai (properly ay); and ô sometimes by modification (obscuring) from â, sometimes by contraction from au (properly aw).[1] In Arabic writing there are vowel signs only for a, i, u; the combined sounds ay and aw are therefore retained uncontracted and pronounced Read more [...]
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