Hebrew Helps (A New Series At Pisteuomen)

First of all, this is my 800th post!!! So, I'm pretty excited about that. For those of you that have been trekking with me here on Pisteuomen, thanks a lot, you've made it fun! Anyway...I mentioned recently that I was going to begin immersing myself in Hebrew and German on a daily basis for basically the next 2 months (before I begin PhD work). Well, today I began following the schedule I laid out for myself.

For me, one of the best ways to learn something and to retain it, is to try to teach it. So, I figured that in regards to my Hebrew studies, I would come up with some way to try to share my findings. Where better to do that than right here on Pisteuomen?! Thus, I'm going to do something I haven't done in a long time: begin a new series. The name of this new series is called "Hebrew Helps".

The idea is to contintually compile the "tips", "tricks" and "helps" that I come up with when learning Hebrew into short "Hebrew Helps" manuscripts. Of course, given the nature of Hebrew (and languages in-general), these lessons/helps are open to being built on by later lessons/helps. Anyway, more can be said about that later. Here, then, is my first installment in this new series. Hopefully I can be disciplined enough to keep this up. Enjoy! (By the way, if you're intersted in being able to type Hebrew [or Greek] letters on your blog or computer, check out the free transliteration tools I created HERE.)


  1. I'm looking forward to this, Michael. Thanks.

  2. Michael:

    A clarification on your first 'help.' By some standards and grammars (most, I would assume), there are actually six letters, not three, that will change pronunciation when a daghesh is added. They are called "begadkephat" letters, which is a helpful memory tool to recall what letters those are. They are:


    Personally, I only (and many others are the same) change pronunciation with bet, kaph, and peh, but there are some who will aspirate an un-dagheshed tav, dalet, and gimmel. Just a bit of clarification, for whatever it's worth.

  3. John,
    Yeah, I am aware of the "begadkephat" letters (that's the way I learned it actually!!!) but am not so sure that tbe gimmel, dalet and tav need to be included. I do appreciate the note and explanation here and I think it will be helpful to someone who may be confused by the "helps". Maybe I should put notes of clarification in there when I do these things. Thanks, John. Hope you are doing well.

  4. I would argue they most definitely need to be included. There are many--though I am not among them--who will (somehow) aspirate those additional three letters. And, in terms of comparative semitics, Aramaic places far more import and emphasis on this distinction, and Syriac even more so.

    I see the point in saying they don't "change pronunciation" because, well, the sounds that end up being produced are sounds foreign largely to our way of speaking. But it is important to note, I think, that this list includes 6, not 3 letters, whether one pronounces them differently or not. Just the Hebraist in me.

  5. John, I appreciate your thoughts on the matter, perhaps I'll revise add a note about it.

    Bryan, I hope the series can live up to your forward looking expectations. Good to hear from you man. I should have the next installation in the series up tomorrow.