Skip to main content

The Hebrew Vowels

A Class אָ Kamets A Hat
אַ Pathah A Father
I and E Class אֶ Seghol E Met
אִ Hirek I Pin
אֵ TSere E They
אִי Hirek Yodh I Machine
אֵי TSere Yodh E They
O and U Class אָ Kamets Hatuph O Not
אֻ Kibbuts U Put
אֹ Holem O Roll
וֹ Full Holem O Go
וּ Shurek U True
The Original Writings of Hebrew do not use vowels. The Palestinian System was developed to preserve proper pronunciation and meaning after the language ceased to be a living language. This system employs points and signs above, below, and within the consonant letters.
In addition to these vowels, the Masoretes, who created the vowel pointing system, employed half vowels referred to as a Shewa. They are pronounced with a short e sound.
Simple Compound
A ְ אֲ Hateph Pathah
I and E ְ אֱ Hateph Seghol
O and U ְ אֳ Hateph Kamets
The simple or compound Shewas ( ְ  ) all have the same value, whether they are a, i or o class vowel. They all use the same half vowels.
The gutturals use compound Shewas ( ְ  ), where other consonants typically use the simple Shewa ( ְ  ).
When the  י  (yodh) is preceded by an I or E vowel, due to combining with the vowel it loses its consonantal force ימ. (yim) שׂים (sim) Holem and Shurek used the letter waw ( ו ) when written in full form. Holem ( וֹ ), Shurek( וּ ).
Every syllable must have a full vowel.
Short O (אָ) and long A (אָ) signs are the same with no difference in pronunciation of A and O. יָד (yadh) and כָּל (kol).