Dalet

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Dalet
Phoenician Hebrew Aramaic Syriac Arabic
Dalet ד Dalet ܕ د
Alphabetic derivatives
Greek Latin Cyrillic
Δ D Д
Phonemic representation: d, ð
Position in alphabet: 4
Numerical value: 4

Dalet (dāleth, also spelled Daleth or Daled) is the fourth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ד, Syriac ܕ and Arabic dāl د (in abjadi order; 8th in modern order). Its sound value is a voiced alveolar plosive ([d]).

The letter is based on a glyph of the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, probably called dalt "door" (door in Modern Hebrew is delet), ultimately based on a hieroglyph depicting a door,

O31

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek delta (Δ), Latin D and the equivalent in the Cyrillic Д.

Hebrew Dalet[edit]

Orthographic variants
Various Print Fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
Script
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ד ד ד Hebrew letter Daled handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Daled Rashi.png

Hebrew spelling: דָּלֶת

The letter is dalet in the modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation (see Tav (letter)). Dales is still used by many Ashkenazi Jews and daleth by some Jews of Middle-Eastern background, especially in the diaspora. In some academic circles, it is called daleth, following the Tiberian Hebrew pronunciation. It is also called daled. The ד like the English D represents a voiced alveolar plosive. Just as in English, there may be subtle varieties of the sound that are created when it is spoken.

Variations[edit]

Dalet can receive a dagesh, being one of the 6 letters that can receive Dagesh Kal (see Gimel). There are minor variations to this letter's pronunciation, such as

In addition, in modern Hebrew, the combination ד׳ (dalet followed by a geresh) is used when transcribing foreign names to denote /ð/.

Significance[edit]

In gematria, dalet symbolizes the number four.

The letter dalet, along with the He (and very rarely Gimel) is used to represent the Names of God in Judaism. The letter He is used commonly, and the dalet is rarer. A good example is the keter (crown) of a tallit, which has the blessing for donning the tallit, and has the name of God usually represented by a dalet. A reason for this is that the He is used as an abbreviation for HaShem "The Name" and the dalet is used as a non-sacred way of referring to God.

Dalet as a prefix in Aramaic (the language of the Talmud) is a preposition meaning "that", or "which", or also "from" or "of"; since many Talmudic terms have found their way into Hebrew, one can hear dalet as a prefix in many phrases (as in Mitzvah Doraitah; a mitzvah from the Torah.)

in modern Hebrew the frequency of the usage of dalet, out of all the letters, is 2.59%.

Syriac Dalath/Dolath[edit]

Dalath/Dolath
Syriac Eastern dalat.svg Madnḫaya Dalath
Syriac Serta dalat.svg Serṭo Dolath
Syriac Estrangela dalat.svg Esṭrangela Dalath

Syriac letter shapes Dalath.PNG

In the Syriac alphabet, the fourth letter is ܕ — Dolath in western pronunciation, Dalath in eastern pronunciation (ܕܵܠܵܬ). It is one of six letters that represents two associated sounds (the others are Bet, Gimel, Kaph, Pe and Taw). When Dalath/Dolath has a hard pronunciation (qûššāyâ) it is a [d]. When Dalath/Dolath has a soft pronunciation (rûkkāḵâ) it is traditionally pronounced as a [ð]. The letter is very common in Syriac as it is often attached to the beginning of words as the relative pronoun.

Dalath/Dolath is always written with a point below it to distinguish it from the letter Resh (ܪ), which is identical apart from having a point above. As a numeral, Dalath/Dolath stands for the number four. With various systems of dots and dashes, it can also stand for 4,000 and 40,000.

Arabic dāl[edit]

The letter is named dāl, and is written is several ways depending in its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: د ـد ـد د

Character encodings[edit]

Character ד د ܕ
Unicode name HEBREW LETTER DALET ARABIC LETTER DAL SYRIAC LETTER DALATH SAMARITAN LETTER DALAT
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1491 U+05D3 1583 U+062F 1813 U+0715 2051 U+0803
UTF-8 215 147 D7 93 216 175 D8 AF 220 149 DC 95 224 160 131 E0 A0 83
Numeric character reference ד ד د د ܕ ܕ ࠃ ࠃ
Character 𐎄 𐡃 𐤃
Unicode name UGARITIC LETTER DELTA IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER DALETH PHOENICIAN LETTER DELT
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66436 U+10384 67651 U+10843 67843 U+10903
UTF-8 240 144 142 132 F0 90 8E 84 240 144 161 131 F0 90 A1 83 240 144 164 131 F0 90 A4 83
UTF-16 55296 57220 D800 DF84 55298 56387 D802 DC43 55298 56579 D802 DD03
Numeric character reference 𐎄 𐎄 𐡃 𐡃 𐤃 𐤃

References[edit]

External links[edit]