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How to Write the Hebrew Alphabet.

Updated on September 30, 2013
Hebrew Alphabet.
Hebrew Alphabet. | Source

The earliest examples of written Hebrew date back to the 10th century BCE. After 200 CE, Hebrew was used mainly as Jewish liturgy. It made its comeback as a spoken language in the 19th century. It is the native language to over five million people, mostly in Israel. The picture to the right shows the printed Hebrew alphabet, known as the Alefbet.

A Few Facts about the Hebrew Alphabet

Hebrew is written from right to left. It consists of 22 consonants. Vowels are added in after as accents to the letters. The print/block form of the writing is usually left for printing only or for people just learning Hebrew. In Hebrew, that is called "Dfus." Once the alphabet has been learned, even small children switch to the rounded cursive lettering, called "Ktav." It is called the Alefbet because the first two letters are alef and bet.

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Alefbet in block print.Cursive Alefbet.
Alefbet in block print.
Alefbet in block print. | Source
Cursive Alefbet.
Cursive Alefbet. | Source

A Little About The Hebrew Alphabet.

While many people think that these are characters versus a letter, they are in fact letters. They do not have a meaning on their own, they simply represent a sound, just as the the letters of the English alphabet do. There are many letters/sounds that correspond with English and several sounds that are unique to Hebrew. As in English, the name of the letter is pretty much the same as the sound it makes. There are no capital letters in Hebrew but there are "final" letters. These are a few letters that change their form when they are placed at the end of a word. The five letters are: Khaf, mem, nun, peh and tzadi. They are pronounced the same whether a "sofit" (so-feet) or in the middle of the word so you only need to learn how to write and recognize them! In ancient Hebrew, these long tail letters used to come at the beginning of the word. At some point while modern Hebrew was being formed, they were moved to the end of the word.

The Hebrew Vowels.
The Hebrew Vowels. | Source

Vowels in Hebrew

The Hebrew alphabet is made up of consonants. People who are fluent in Hebrew do not need vowels and most written Hebrew does not have vowels. However, the need for pronunciation was strong enough that they come up with a system of dots, called Nikud (knee-cood), to indicate vowels. Nikud means points. They are used for beginning learners and are often seen in the bible and Torah. They are also be used when there may be need for further clarification.

Learning the Alefbet

In Israel, children learn to read and write in first grade, just like in the United States. Of course, there is somne writing in Pre-School, as well as tv shows that promote learning the alphabet. One of the more familiar tv shows is Shalom Sesame. It is the Israeli version of Sesame Street. It features Israeli and Palestinian counterparts to the the American characters. It teaches the same morals and values and features both Hebrew and Arabic. Not only do the kids love it but adults can learn from watching it, too!

Hebrew Keyboards.

My English keyboard with Hebrew stickers.
My English keyboard with Hebrew stickers. | Source

Downloadable Hebrew Programs.

There are many different programs available to either teach, translate or give you the ability to type in Hebrew. If you want to type, you would either need to:

  • Get a Hebrew keyboard
  • Know which letters and symbols represent which letters and symbols you will need to type in Hebrew
  • Buy stickers for your current keyboard.

Once you have that in place, you may need to download a program that will allow you to type in Hebrew. Many Mac and microsoft computers already have that supported. You will just need to look for it either in your installation disk or under system preferences. If you do not already have it on your computer, there are many different programs available and most of them are free.

What have you learned about Hebrew?


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    • btrbell profile image
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      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Audrey! I appreciate your stopping by! Yes, the order does matter!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 3 years ago from California

      What a fun hub! I love languages--and thank you for showing us the stroke order for the letters--it does make a difference I think

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 3 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank v you so much, Martie! You are absolutely correct. The "b" is bet or vet and the "p" is peh or feh. We had a lot of fun when they opened the first Office Depot store there. The Israelis called it oppice defot!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 3 years ago from South Africa

      Very interesting article about the Hebrew alphabet. At a time - after reading "Exodus" by Leon Uris, I have done some research. I remember how interesting it was and how surprised I were to learn that the pronunciation of the letter 'B' is 'V', therefore it should not be "Abraham" but "Avraham". And now I am not so sure if I still have this right? I've 'studied' Israel's modern history round-about 1995. (If you don't use it, you lose it!)

      Brilliant btrbell!

      Congratulations with your 100 score!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much, Jackie! I appreciate the share!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Wow this is so interesting and I am going to share it. Wish I had known this years ago when I was really would have loved the knowledge, too old now but still good to know! ^

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much, Eddy! You have a great day, as well!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      So very interesting Randi and thank you for sharing. Voted up and wishing you a great day.

      Eddy.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Hi Frank! Easy, it definitely isn't! Thanks for stoppong by! :)

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      easy is far from the word Im looking for but you make it look easy.. no not really.. but good info and good share :)

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Benjamin! Your enthusiasm is so appreciated! I hope you continue to enjoy these hubs!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Fascinating explanation of the Hebrew alefbet, Randi. Thank you for your time and effort. Shalom.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, FlourishAnyway! We lived in Israel for 12 years when my kids were small. I think I enjoyed Shalom Sesame more than they did!

    • profile image

      Benjamin Chege 4 years ago

      Hi btrbell, you're such a good teacher I must say. I like your easy-to-understand guidelines on the Hebrew alphabets and I know with time I will d a good job on this. I think this hub will be my next foreign language lesson. Voted up, useful, awesome and beautiful. I have always found the Hebew and Arabic alphabets interesting and thanks to your hub I will learn one of them for free.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Very interesting. I like your tips on the Hebrew keyboard and stickers and enjoyed seeing both the photos of your Hebrew keyboard and the alphabet. I can just imagine watching Shalom Sesame!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much, Nellieanna! I have already sent you a message on Facebook. The necklaces are lovely. I can understand why you would get so many complients. I will continue to check around but I think what I wrote is a reasonable explanation. Thank you so much for sharing that!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Cam! You are so generous! It's nice to see you. I hope all is well!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Faith! It is pretty tough, but, hey, you never know! :)

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Abby! Much appreciated! You never know....I was 35 when I learned!

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you so much, point2make! It's nice to see you again! :)

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 4 years ago from TEXAS

      Fascinating, Randi!! Truly! This is so exciting! You're certainly taking some of the mystery out of the Hebrew alphabet!

      My sister brought me three necklace pendants of Hebrew letters from her trip to Israel about 30 years ago. She also gave me her handwritten explanation of their identification, but it's misplaced somewhere. They're really lovely shaped pewter forms, filled with what seems to be bright colored molten & set glass. One is royal blue, one is turquoise and one is brown. When I wear one, I get many inquiries about it & compliments on it.

      I'm trying to identify them from your illustration of the Alefbet! I'm not sure whether my view of the pendants is right-side-up or upside-down, though! I see my last name, Hay, as the identity of one of the letters in your block print of the Alefbet and it looks very much like my brown pendant, and would explain why my sister chose that one for me. I think the blue one could be Kaf and the turquoise one could be Peh. Perhaps I'll snap a picture of them and message it to you on Facebook. Would you mind?

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      Perfectly done, Randi. You have given us enough to keep our interest without going so far to discourage. Thanks for the tutorial. Now if I only had occasion to use it, I might take on this ancient language.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, Randi, how interesting! Thanks for sharing. I'm afraid I could not learn it : ( too old, I guess. LOL

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • Abby Campbell profile image

      Abby Campbell 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Randi, the Hebrew language is so very interesting to me. I so want to spend some time someday learning this... that is, if I'm not too old to learn it. LOL. Thank you for a very interesting hub! :-)

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 4 years ago

      Another great lesson......well taught btrbell. Thanks for sharing and making some of the intricacies of the Hebrew alphabet a little more understandable.

    • btrbell profile image
      Author

      Randi Benlulu 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you, Bill! I'm not sure if that's good or bad....lol

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That was a first. Almost two years here and I've never seen this info in a hub. Interesting stuff, Randi. Thank you for the education.