Overview of Hebrew Language
Hebrew alphabet consists of 22 letters. Some of
the letters may be pronounced in two different ways; also, instead of capital
letters, 5 Hebrew characters have special final
3 of modern Hebrew letters are
allophonic, i.e. have two different ways of pronounciation.
Hebrew script goes from right to left. (Other
Semitic languages are written in the same way, like Arabic or Aramaic.) Jewish
Diaspora languages are usually written with Hebrew script.
You may find Hebrew letters in slightly
Traditional letters commonly found in prayer
Modern simplified letters (found everywhere):
Even more simplified letter shapes (used
mainly to teach minors)
Torah and Scrolls script (somewhat fancy
variation of traditional letters.)
Rashi script used for some religious texts
There is also ancient Hebrew script, which was
in use somewhere in the First Temple Era; in rabbinical literature it's
כתב דעץ, and in the word
of science it's called either
The table on the
next page shows the
transcription used on our site, and numeric values of the letters (Numeric
value.) Letters are widely used as numbers till today: numbering chapters
in books, especially liturgy books and traditional Jewish literature, days in
Hebrew calendar are usually written with letters (א'
- Nisan 1st), as well as years (ה'
תשס"א - 5751, or omitting the 5000-part:
Israeli school year goes according to Hebrew calendar (which is very
convenient, since the Jewish year starts around September, e.g. 2000/2001 -
Most Hebrew letters correspond to some letters
in Latin alphabet (used in English and Western European languages.) Actually,
Latin and Greek evolved from the ancient Hebrew (or Phoenician) script, which
consists of the same exact letters like the Hebrew alphabet we use today.