SimHebrew: Frequently Asked Questions
- Is there a pronunciation guide for the SimHebrew characters?[+]
- a (âleph) - A “vowel carrier” when there is no preceding consonant, or a placeholder for any vowel. The vowel is implicit, and inferred from the context. Thus, brawit bra alhim at hwmim vat harx is phonetically read as “bereshit bara elohim et hashamaim ve-et ha-aretz.
- b (bet): usually like the English b, but often (esp. in the middle of words) “soft”, pron. like the English v
- g (ghimel): Always hard g
- d (dâlet): Like English d.
- h (hay): Like English h.
- v (vav): Like English v
- o (a variation of vav, known as ḥolam malé): ô, as in kilo.
- u (a variation of vav, known as shuruq): u, as in Lulu
- z (zâyin): Like English z
- k (ḥet): Like the Spanish j, or ch in the Scottish loch.
- ’t (tet): Like the English t. Purists pronounce it lower in the throat
- i (yod): i as in pizza.
- c (kaf): k as in kilo, but sometimes kh as in Kazakhstan.
- ç (kaf sopheet): “end kaf” – the form it takes at the end of a word. Always kh as in Kazakhstan.
- l (lâmed): like the English I, as in ladder.
- m (mem): Like the English m
- n (noon): Like the English n
- s (sâmekh): Like the English s
- y (âyin – pron. eye-in): A “vowel-carrier” like aleph, but pronounced lower in the throat.
- p (pay): Like the English p, but sometimes ph, as in telephone.
- x (tzâdi): Like tz in putz, or zz as in pizza.
- q (qoof): Like English q or k. Purists pronounce it lower in the throat.
- r (resh): Like the French r.
- w (sheen): Usually pron. sh, but sometimes s —e.g. iwral = yisrael.
- t (tav): Like English t.
- What are the single letters at the start of each verse in the SimHebrew Bible?[+]These are the verse numbers: in the Hebrew Bible, chapters and verses are numbered using Hebrew characters, not Arabic numerals. The method is as follows:
The first ten letters represent the numbers 1–10, respectively: a = 1; b = 2, etc. through i = 10
The next eight letters represent the numbers 20 through 90, respectively: c = 2-; l = 30, m = 40, etc.
The last four characters represent the hundreds: q = 100; r = 200; w = 300; t = 400.
Numbers are then formulated in decimal fashion. Thus:
11–19: ia = 11, ib = 12, ig = 13, id = 14, ‘tv = 15*, ’tz = 16*, iz = 17*, ik = 18, i’t = 19
20–29: c, ca, cb, cg … c’t
31–39: l, la, lb, lg … l’t
*To avoid writing the Lord’s abbreviated name, ih and iv are not used, so 15 is presented as “9+6”, 16 is “9+7”.
- In Hebrew, a double-apostrophe (known as gershaim) is an indicator of an acronym. So tn”ç is the acronym of torh-nbiaim-ctubim), which are the three main parts of the Hebrew Bible: the Torah (lit. “Teaching” = Pentateuch), Nevi’im (“Prophets”), Ktuvim (“Writings”). The acronym is pronounced tanakh.