asher63 (asher63) wrote,
asher63
asher63

HTAN - Letters Chet through Samekh

CHET

ח

The name comes from an old word meaning 'fence'.  Chet has the sound of a guttural 'ch' like in Scottish 'loch'; it should be pronounced way back in your throat, as if you've got some food stuck in your throat.  Go ahead, don't worry about being rude - it's Hebrew.

Chet is the first of two guttural letters, which means you'll have to keep one or two minor points in mind in terms of grammar and pronunciation.  But we'll come back to those.

When writing Chet, make sure you close it completely at the top left so that it doesn't look like a Heh.

TET

ט

The letter Tet takes its name from the Phoenician word for 'wheel'.  It has the sound of T.

The cursive form looks a bit like a numeral 6 that doesn't close all the way.


YOD

י

The name of Yod means 'hand'.  As a consonant, Yod has the sound of Y, but it can sometimes form a vowel; so it's really the Hebrew equivalent of "... and sometimes Y".

אֵי
אִי
אַי

Yod is the only letter that "hovers in the air" and does not touch the bottom line.

KAF

כ
ך

The name of Kaf means the palm of the hand.  With a Dagesh, it has the "hard sound" of K, and without a Dagesh, it has the "soft sound" of KH.  This may be prounounced the same as Chet, but some speakers pronounce the soft Khaf closer to the roof of the mouth.

Kaf is also the first of five letters that are written differently at the end of a word.  The Final Kaf is called Kaf Sofit in Hebrew.

In print, the Kaf looks like a backwards C; notice that it's basically the same as Bet except that Kaf doesn't have the tail on the lower right.  The Kaf Sofit hangs below the line instead of curling around; it looks like a Dalet but with a longer tail.

The cursive Kaf looks pretty much like the printed letter.  The Kaf Sofit needs to be written carefully so it doesn't look like a Dalet.

LAMED

ל

The name is similar to the Hebrew root meaning 'to learn' or 'to teach', and if you use your imagination the letter looks a bit like a teacher's rod.  Lamed has the sound of L.



MEM

מ
ם

The letter name comes from the word for water, 'mayim' in Hebrew, and it looks like a wave on the sea.

This is another letter that has a separate final form.

In print, the regular form is rounded at the top and flat on the bottom; and the final form is almost a square.  The cursive Mem looks exactly like a letter N in English, so don't get confused!  The Mem Sofit, in cursive, is just a round loop with a vertical stroke attached to the left side.

NUN

נ
ן

The word 'nun' doesn't mean anything in Hebrew, but in Aramaic it's either a fish or a snake.  The letter has the sound of N.

Nun is yet another letter with separate regular and final forms.  In print, the regular Nun looks like a right-hand square bracket, and the Nun Sofit is basically a long stroke that hangs down below the bottom line - be sure you don't confuse it with Vav, which isn't as long.  In cursive, regular Nun is just a straight line down and a small hook to the left at the bottom, and Nun Sofit is just one long line going straight down.

SAMEKH

ס

The name of the letter Samekh is related to the Hebrew word meaning 'support'.  It has the sound of S.

In print and cursive, it basically looks like a ring; the print form has a horizontal stroke across the top.
Tags: hebrew, htan
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