Alphabet (Alefbet)

Based on Z. ben-Shimon ha-Levi's The Way of the Kabbalah.

 

In the 11th century the great scholar rabbi Shlomo Itzhaqi (RaShI) of Troyes, France, (fl. 1040-1105) adapted the Hebrew alphabet to the speech of the Spanish Jews. According to the Jewish tradition some letters were written in different manners depending on their position (initial, middle or final) in the word, and some others were pronounced in several ways. Also, the texts were written from right to left, like Hebrew.

The Characters and the Sounds they Represent

Letter Name Translit. Sound Examples

alef

a

[a]

amar love

al

al

[al]

balta ax

bed

b

[b]

buskar to look for

ved

v

[v]

aharvar to beat

gimal

g

[g]

xaragan lazy

gimal

j

[]

ajustar to add

gimal

ch

[t]

chikes youth

daled

d

d

din religious law

daled

dh

[ð]

sudhor sweat

e

h

[a]

haftona beating

vav

u

[u]

karpus watermelon

vav

o

[o]

dos two

zayn

z

[z]

kazal village

zayn

j

[]

mujer woman, wife

xed

kh

[x]

haber news

ted

t

[t]

atabafar suffocate

yod

i

[i]

purimlik Purim present

yod

e

[e]

bel waist

kaf

k

[k]

kavo(d) honor

xaf

kh

[x]

beraha blessing

xaf

kh

[x]

koreh bookbinder

lamed

l

[l]

lamber lick

mem

m

[m]

myel honey

mem

m

[m]

hamam bath-house

nun

n

[n]

na here! behold

nun

n

[n]

baragan courageous

nun

ny

[]

sinyal sign

samex

s

[s]

sutlach rice pudding

ayn

silent

[ ]

meara cave

pe

p

[p]

paras money

fe

f

[f]

fin end

fe

f

[f]

saraf money changer

sadik

s

[s]

sedaka charity

sadik

s

[s]

_ amares ignoramus (lit., peasant)

kof

k

[k]

kavzar to cause

resh

r

guttural [r]

raki arak

shin

sh

[]

shavon soap

sin

s

[s]

maase story

taf

t

[t]

tora Torah

taf

t

[t] or [d]

meshared servant

Writing Vowels and Diphtongs

Letter Name Position in Word Sound Examples

alef

begining and middle

[a]

atar tie

ai

end

[aj]

ai there

au

middle and end

[au]

baul trunk

yod

y

[j]

yamar call

yod

y

[j]

yo I

yod

y

[j]

ayudar help

yod

ye

[je]

yevar carry

yod

ey

[ej]

rey king

alef

ay

[aj]

tramvay streetcar

au

end

[au]

chay tea

e

beginning

[e]

es is

yod

middle and end

[e]

ves time

ea

middle and end

[ea]

meatad half

ee

middle and end

[ee]

kreer to believe

ei

middle and end

[ei]

krei I believed

eo

middle and end

[eo]

shasheo dizziness

i

beginning

[i]

i and

yod

middle and end

[i]

chini plate

au

beginning

[u]

uzar to use

shurek

middle and end

[u]

asur prohibited (by relig. law)

uy

middle and end

[uj]

muy very

ua

middle and end

[wa]

(g)uay woe

ue

middle and end

[we]

jues judge

ui

middle and end

[wi]

siguir to continue

 


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