Talk:Bet (letter)

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Behth and vehth[edit]

Did vehth really exist in biblical hebrew, meaning biblical era Hebrew, or did it come from later vocalization. The v sound did anyways exist in Hebrew?--Standforder (talk) 22:29, 10 December 2008 (UTC)

It might not have been exactly V, might have been like B but with a small opening for air between the lips. I'd like to refer you to this sound file from the Aramaic entry TFighterPilot (talk) 17:57, 6 October 2010 (UTC)

Formal request to Move to "Behth (letter)" initiated 2005-07-23[edit]

The discussion below does not, unless I am mistaken (I could be), was a private discussion on this page about the name, not one taken through WP:RM. In any case I initiated the Request for Move on 2005-07-23. So... vote here please. Evertype 10:53, July 25, 2005 (UTC)

I think User:Violetriga (t)'s page move of Behth (letter) to ב was a bad idea. For one thing, it can be perceived as even more ethnocentric than IZAK's ideas, given that that's the Unicode glyph for the Hebrew letter, and the article is about the letter in multiple alphabets (in many of which it looks different). For another, it breaks the existing Wikipedia tradition of putting articles at their English names (Aleph (letter), for example), and tries to set up a new precedent of putting articles at the nearest applicable Unicode glyph. Exclamation mark isn't located at !, and for good reason. Let's keep things simple. I repeat my firm conviction that to maintain symmetry, NPOV, and general nice-to-English-speakers-ness, the article on Behth (the letter) should be located at Beth (letter). --Quuxplusone 07:20, 20 July 2005 (UTC)

Postscript: For another thing, mixing right-to-left Hebrew text with left-to-right English text is a recipe for disaster in browser edit boxes. That sort of thing should be kept to a minimum. --Quuxplusone 07:20, 20 July 2005 (UTC)
I agree! This article should be IMMEDIATELY moved back to Behth (letter). Evertype 10:17, July 23, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. This should be moved back to "Behth (letter)" ASAP, in keeping with English Wikipedia tradition. Calling it "ב" seems very POV to me. – AxSkov (T) 14:14, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Comment. I was the one who first suggested moving it to ב, because I thought it was a good NPOV solution to the controversy over whether it should be called Beth (letter) or Bet (letter). That said, the suggestion was sort of tongue-in-cheek; I never expected it would actually happen. And I certainly didn't expect it to happen without every other Hebrew letter also being moved to its symbol rather than its name! If we do move ב to something, we'll be right back to the argument above about whether to use "Behth" (the traditional English spelling) or "Bet" (the spelling that better reflects Modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation). If we do vote to move it somewhere, I vote for Beth (letter), and traditional English names for the other letters too, on the grounds that the precedent is already set for the Greek alphabet. The article on the second letter of the Greek alphabet is at Beta (letter), not Vita (letter). --Angr/tɔk tə mi 20:50, 23 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. I initiated the formal request for this. Evertype 12:56, July 24, 2005 (UTC)
  • Support Michael Z. 2005-07-26 16:05 Z
  • Support. --Quuxplusone 16:57, 26 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Keep at "ב" as per the vote below. BlankVerse 14:10, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
    • Comment. Look at the revision as of 01:47, 3 July 2005 by Simetrical (here), commented "Move or Retain - Move (move/retain sorted and numbered for your convenience)". Notice that the effect of that change was to replace the existing vote on a move to Beth (letter) with a fraudulent (intentionally or not) vote on Angr's "tongue-in-cheek" proposed move to ב. In other words, BlankVerse is presumably operating on the false premise that a bunch of people supported Violetriga's move, when in fact the original vote opposed the move, preferring to move the page back to Beth (letter). Hope this clears up your confusion, BlankVerse. --Quuxplusone 19:42, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
    • Comment. What's the procedure in cases of vote fraud? Should the vote below be reverted, blanked, or what? --Quuxplusone 19:42, 31 July 2005 (UTC)
  • Support. Like the attempt to move pi. Gene Nygaard 20:16:07, 2005-07-31 (UTC)

This article has been renamed after the result of a move request. violet/riga (t) 18:53, 2 August 2005 (UTC)

Nature of Hebrew languages[edit]

I am going to revert the article back to an earlier stage. Stating "that is used as a living language by the Jewish people that live in [[Israel]" is both inaccurate (in that Hebrew is spoken outside Israel and by non-Jewish people, it is also a written language with a very long period of use and an ancient language spoken by people now called Jews) and does not have a place here which is about a letter of an alphabet. The letter Beth has been in use in Europe and worldwide for a long time before the modern state of Israel came to exist.

Stating that Phoenician is a dead language is also unnecessarily tendentious.

Please discuss any further changes here.

Francis Davey 12:17, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

User:IZAK seems to be on a crusade to turn the article Bet (letter) into an Israeli POV nightmare. While his latest revisions introduce some worthwhile content (the dagesh, for example), it's very hard to separate the signal from the noise. I propose reverting large portions to their pre-IZAK state, and while we're at it moving the article back to Beth (letter), which is where it ought to be for consistency with aleph, heth, kaph, etc. — not to mention Beth number and the like. Wikipedia is not a soapbox for controversial political and religious views, even when disguised as questionable historical claims about the origins of language. --Quuxplusone 20:44, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Quux: This article is not about Israel, it's about a letter in the Hebrew ALPHABET belonging to the Hebrew language which happens to be the native language of Israel, or is that something you dispute? Your reaction is very strange, to say the least. What kind of crazy thing is it to say that this article is becoming an "Israeli POV nightmare"? If this article were written about a letter in the Russian alphabet and an editor would focus on ensuring how that letter is pronounced in the Russian language, would that then be a "Russian POV nightmare"? Kindly tell me which fact in the article you disagree with and why, which would make more sense. Do you question whether Bet is part of the Hebrew Bible as the most comprehensive source for the last three thousand years? Instead of griping from the sidelines, kindly put forth actual arguments rather than projecting an air of anti-Israel POV that has nothing to do with anything. IZAK 05:34, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Move or Retain[edit]

  • Here's an idea: Since Wikipedia now tolerates all Unicode characters in page titles, why not just rename the page ב? --Angr/tɔk tə mi 29 June 2005 21:15 (UTC)


  1. Move. Quuxplusone 20:44, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  2. Move. As discussed previously. Tomer TALK 21:22, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)
  3. Move. - Mustafaa 03:52, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  4. Move , but point Bet to the Beth article. Academic, beth is more accurate, and seems to be consistant with classical transliteration into English. Granted, most Israelis (and other Hebrew speakers) would say Bet. A smaller number of Hebrew speakers today say Beis, and only a tiny number (tends to be older Sefardim) actually say what sounds like Beth. Incidently, Beth is also incorrect, as the Th in Hebrew is a much softer sound than the english Th, which is how it became S in the Ashkenazi communities. Mikeage 07:06, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    It's also interesting to note that the Israeli government is now reconsider their transliterations, so people will no longer see a mix of transliterations (Bene Berak vs. Bnei Brak, Avraham Lincoln, LaGardia, etc). Mikeage 07:06, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  5. Move. The accepted form in English is clearly Beth, as indicated by its usage in other contexts, for instance the mathematical one. And given that Hebrew has been spoken for thousands of years, with different pronunciations, and even today is pronounced in more than one way, htere seems little point in overriding English usage in favour of the currently prevalent Israeli version. rossb 08:46, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • Rossb: English has also been around for thousands of years in it's earliest forms, that is why we DO NOT rely on Old English or Middle English pronounciations for Modern English pronounciations of letters and words nor of their usage. IZAK 05:53, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
      • The reason we don't rely on Old English or Middle English pronunciations for Late Modern English is because we're not speaking Old English or Middle English. We're speaking Late Modern English. (Incidentally, "thee", "thou", "thy" and "thine" are all Modern English words...) In Late Modern English, the name of the 2nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet is, as I've said numerous times, is "beth". Tomer TALK 06:59, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)
      • Tomer, and again you sound like a broken-record. IZAK 11:45, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  6. Support - its name is Beth. --Yath 01:08, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  7. Move and redirect bet to beth. Tomer has offered the most convincing arguments so far IMHO and i support him. -- Nahum 12:13, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  8. Move and redirect bet. I also agree that this the English Wikipedia and the current, most widely-used English spelling of the 2nd Hebrew letter is beth. -- Cryptoid 28 June 2005 06:51 (UTC)
  9. Move. The letter's most common name in English is beth. —Simetrical (talk) 3 July 2005 06:47 (UTC)
  10. Move. We're not voting on how to pronounce the word, we're voting on how to spell it. The article could very well be titled Beth (which, as far as I know, is the common English spelling) but have a note in the first paragraph to say that most modern Hebrew-speakers pronounce the word "bet". (Or better yet use IPA phonological symbols to make it clear.) cf. Gloucester, Paris etc. (Granted, these aren't transliterations; but the principle is the same — articles are titled by spelling, not by sound.) Doops 07:48, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Doops, the point is that the spelling determines the sound, and the sound and the spelling should as close as possible especially in Hebrew which is a phonetical language -- unlike English. So for the sake of accuaracy it makes sense that letters and sounds should be aligned and congruent to the highest degree possible to attain accuracy, and in this case it's easily done, especially for the benefit of those who don't know, and read this for the first time. IZAK 08:28, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Huh? No, in English spelling does not necessarily determine the sound. See (for instance) Gloucester. English is not a phonetic language. Hence there is no "right" or "wrong" way to transliterate into English; merely "standard" and "non-standard" ways. Standards do sometimes change; Peking is now Beijing — so if you think that the standard way of transliterating Beth is bad, by all means, start a movement to get it changed. But the Wikipedia is not a soapbox, nor the place for original research; we reflect reality (we don't create it). As for informing the newcomer— well that's why pages have content and the wikipedia isn't just a big database of article titles. :) Doops | talk 09:01, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Doops, what "reality" am I creating exactly? Start a movement? Then obviously you are not aware that Hebrew is the official language of the people of modern Israel (Jews and Arabs), and this letter is pronounced as bet (essentialy following the Sephardi tradition), regardless of what you or I or the rest of the world thinks. Don't you think that this article should reflect that? Israeli Hebrew is the most widely used by most Jews outside of Israel too. To the extent that the "th" sound does not exist in Hebrew at all today! Did you know that? So the article needs to make clear if it is conveying information about an imaginary dead language (such as the Phoenician languages) or if it's focused on a modern-day living language. Anyone who sees that as some kind of "Zionist plot" should recuse themselves from input here, becaus ebeing anti-Zionist is a POV. IZAK 22:59, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Sorry, I was unclear. We all know and respect the fact that Hebrew is a living language, and as somebody who doesn't speak Hebrew, I completely trust you when it comes to that language. But this is the English wikipedia; so we spell words here the English way. And English spelling does not necessarily determine pronunciation. As I've pointed out many times, we spell the city Gloucester even though we pronounce it Gloster. It's perfectly possible, therfore, to title the article "Beth" but pronounce it "bet." Indeed, that should be mentioned in the very first paragraph! But we should title it by the most common spelling; and for good or ill, most English-speakers spell it "beth." Doops | talk 00:10, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    And by the way if by "phonetical" you mean that there is a one-to-one correspondence between letters and phonemes, it's pretty clear that modern Israeli Hebrew is not "phonetical". rossb 09:21, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Ross, explain to us how it's "not clear" to you, please, won't you? IZAK 22:59, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    It's irrelevant whether or not Hebrew is phonetical; this is the English wikipedia. After all, the word is neither spelled "bet" nor "beth" in Hebrew — in Hebrew, it's spelled in the Hebrew alphabet! Doops | talk 00:15, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Doops, don't get quarky on me, but I must object to your attitude of "ignorance is bliss" approach! You may not care, but consider a new reader of Wikipedia trying to learn what the letter is and the sound it makes in Hebrew, and then is told about dead Phoenicians and archaic "Beths", like "thees and thous" in English, has the Wikipedia encyclopedia helped that person, or fuzzied up their brains with dusty arcania rather than real-world knowledge? IZAK 05:53, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Three things: 1) I'm sorry if I was unclear again; of course I don't believe that ignorance is bliss. As somebody interested in linguistics, I'm of course always happy to learn about whether modern Hebrew is phonetic or not. But that, strictly speaking, is irrelevant to our arguments about the pronunciation of an English word; all I'm trying to point out is that, whether Hebrew is or not, English is not phonetic. 2) I totally agree with you that the wikipedia should aim not to confuse newcomers; indeed, one of my prime obsessions here is making articles clear and accessible. So yes, of course, information about pronunciation belongs in the intro § along with basic information about the letter's history; while of course 'dusty arcana' belong further down in the article. You're absolutely right about that. 3) This one's not an argument, just an observation: I hope that with all this argument about the title we don't lose sight of the article's purpose: although the letter בּ when treated as a word has a pronunciation ("beit", often; or "beis"; or suchlike), the letter בּ when treated as a letter is just a consonant and is pronounced like a "b" (or "v") — and isn't that the main point? Doops | talk 28 June 2005 05:30 (UTC)
    Doops, I appreciate the thought you are giving to this matter. This is not just about this letter, it's about the entire Hebrew alphabet as evinced through the individual articles devoted to each of the letters. They may make sense to some advanced Linguistics scholars (for Hebrew or whatever language to be written up in funny non-common English), but most people coming to an encyclopedia appreciate not being (overly) confused. Much I suppose depends on what we view as the "starting point" for presenting information. Wikipedia is not bound by stodgy conventions as you well know, it's constantly breaking new ground because it's a fresh Internet medium responsive to the world we live in. If one were to have an interest in Arabic, why would it matter what an Arabic letter was like a thousand years ago (a little focused historical info is fine), or how it was used in the English universities two hundred years ago and formulated (for English university "consumers") by professors of the Classics? It is very amusing to see some editors stand up for the "traditions" of English usage here, when at the same time they may apply modern critiques, such as the Documentary hypothesis to attack the validity of the Hebrew Bible and even question the timing of its Hebrew language usages in an attempt to "update" understanding of it. It seems like a true double standard: English is a "holy untouchable" while the Hebrew language (and the Hebrew Bible) can be "adjusted" and redefined (and finally distorted) at will by any new group of scholars as they see fit. IZAK 28 June 2005 05:55 (UTC)
    Thanks for taking my comments seriously. (May I suggest that you should read Tomer's more seriously as well?) As you say, English is not unchangeable; it can grow and evolve. So of course we shouldn't spell the letter "beth" simply because we're in love with history and "stodgy conventions" — but we likewise shouldn't rule out "beth" in a knee-jerk reaction against anything old; that also wouldn't be fair. No, we should look at it objectively; which leaves us wondering what is the main English spelling nowdays? Alas, I suspect that your musings above are probably the exact reverse of the true situation: I would bet that many "advanced Linguistics scholars" try to show off their knowledge of modern Hebrew and spell it "bet"; while on the other hand ordinary English speakers coming to the wikipedia are more likely to have seen it spelled as "beth" — and they're the ones we're really catering to. If I understand the situation correctly, it's a simple fact that, for good or ill, "beth" is the most common spelling if we look at the whole of English-language literature. So think about it this way: for some reason we English-speakers refer to the German city of Köln by its French name Cologne. Is this logical? Not really. But that's just the way things are. I suppose we could all make an effort to change — but is it really worth getting all worked up about? English (like most languages) can be quirky and illogical sometimes; I don't think it's necessarily our job to go around "fixing" it. (And again, even if you decide that you do want to "fix" English, that's a task for the real world, not our online wikipedia.) Doops | talk 28 June 2005 06:44 (UTC)
    IZAK: Please review Wikipedia:No personal attacks. That said, discussion about the content of the article is irrelevant to this discussion about the naming of the article. Further, "beth" is not "archaic" in English, it is the perfectly modern English name for the 2nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Tomer TALK 06:59, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)
    Tomer, stop repeating yourself, "Beth" is "perfectly modern"? Oh yea, is that true when considering that Israeli Hebrew also has rights to be translated and pronounced correctly in English?IZAK 11:45, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  11. Move. There also should not be a "voting closed" below here, when the notice still appears on the page and it is still listed on WP:RM.


  1. Retain as is. Bet is the most common usage for this letter today as part of the living Hebrew language (both in Israel where it's part of the vernacular and abroad since most people use this Sephardi version.) (By the way, this is a very funny "vote"; we are "voting" about how a language is or should be pronounced...what next, a vote if Hebrew is a Jewish language? How about a "vote" to decide the best form for the Arabic alphabet instead?) IZAK 05:39, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • My vote had nothing to do with how a language should/n't be pronounced, but rather what the name of the article should be. What you're promoting is renaming an article in English according to its current most common pronunciation in the modern form of the language from which it was taken. This is analagous to demanding that Beta (letter) should be moved to Vita (letter), Delta (letter) to Ðelta (letter), Zeta→Zita, etc., including (heh) Tau→Tav (!)...this is not a good idea. It's fine to discuss its current most common pronunciation in Hebrew, but the English language article name should be what the English language name of the letter is. Tomer TALK 06:50, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
      • Tomer, I am not "promoting" or "demanding" anything here. I am just following common usage. What other editors should or shouldn't do is not my focus. I am trying to update an archaic and false system. I see nothing wrong with that, especially since Hebrew is spoken and used in Israel by millions of people today. IZAK 07:40, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
        • I submit to you that the place to do this is in the articles themselves, not in their names. The pronunciation "beth" is unarguably "archaic", but "false" is nothing but your POV. As for whether or not there's anything wrong with what you're doing, it's quickly beginning to look like a violation of Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a soapbox. How the letter is pronounced by millions of people in Israel is just as irrelevant as the fact that twice as many people in Greece say Álfa, Víta, Gámma, Ðélta, Epsilon, Zíta, Íta, Þíta, Yóta, Kápa, Lámða, Mí, Ní, Ksí, ... instead of Álpha, Bêta, Gámma, Délta, ... If you're going to insist on this as you've indicated you want to, for every letter of the álefbet, you're going to get to Taw→Tav, and then someone else is going to come along and do the same thing with the Greek alfavíta, and Tau→Tav and bleh. Why not insist on Jerusalem→Yerushalayim, Nablus→Shkhem, Nazareth→Natzrat, Bethlehem→Beit Lechem, and Bethel→Beit El (or even Beit Qel)? Where do you envision this "correction" of this "false" system ending? Let's just stick with the English spellings for the article names in English WP, and mention the Hebrew names and pronunciations in the articles themselves. OK? Thanks. Tomer TALK 08:11, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
        • Tomer, there is no easy solution. Wikipedia, and the world it depicts, is not so black-and-white. Again, I cannot speak for issues outside of Hebrew, Israel, and Judaism. The fact of the matter about Wikipedia, and life, is that naming conventions alternate, there is no "absolute rule". In our case, sometimes Hebrew names are given in their Hebrew form, and sometimes in their English. For example, Shabbat is not listed as "Jewish Sabbath", Yom Kippur is not "Day of Atonement", Mossad is not "Israeli secret service", Knesset is not "Parliament of Israel", and see the hundreds of articles based on purely Hebrew names in Category:Hebrew words. Furthermore I am very suprised by your reaction/s here, because it was you [1] who contributed the Hebrew phonology article and you clearly say in it "בּ bet /b/" and "ב vet /v/, /b/ (among Egyptian Jews)" -- without the "th" ending. So let me ask you, why over there do you have the form as bet but here you cry for it to be beth? Using your own argument here I will say to you, "this is the 'English' Wikipedia...blah blah blah..." Let's stay focused and deal with the subject at hand, we are not sitting here as the global editors-in-chief of all Wikipedia articles, because I bet you in any case that most of the other articles about languages mostly do NOT distort and decompose the way the languages are pronounced or spoken. Maybe when Hebrew was not in common daily use as a spoken language, the arm-chair academicians of Oxford et al could pontificate about this-and-that, but now that Hebrew is a spoken language once again, it should be treated like all the other LIVING languages are treated on Wikipedia, and not share the fate of old Latin and Greek that have been picked apart by the academics over the crusty centuries, who think they know better when in fact they don't. IZAK 22:41, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
          • Bleh. You're still confusing the issue. I put bet/vet in Hebrew phonology because that's the way they're pronounced in MIH. You'll notice I also included /θ/ in Sefardic pronunciation of thav. That has nothing to do with the name by which the letter is known in English, namely, BETH: aleph, beth, gimmel, daleth, he, waw, zain, (c)heth, teth, yodh, ... Can you provide any relevant peer-reviewed literature in support of your POV that the English names of the Hebrew letters need to be "fixed"? I agree with your invitation: let's treat it like all the other LIVING languages on Wikipedia. This is what I've been attempting to do by pointing out to you the fact that what you're proposing, for consistency, would have to be applied to the letters of the Greek alphabet as well. Greek, in case you're unaware, is also a living language, with twice as many native speakers as Hebrew, and with far more uniform pronunciation of the names of ALL of its letters across dialects. Tomer TALK 22:53, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
          • Tomer, I cannot speak for the Greeks and their lingo, that's beyond my scope. But for anyone who does know and speak Hebrew today, this is an important question. I think that User:Ross Burgess was inconsiderate when he acted arbitrarily on his own and went ahead and planted the articles about the Hebrew letters the way he saw them, see his first entry for Beth [2] when in fact it should have been discussed with editors familiar with Hebrew to create at least a synergy between the past and the present and not create the impression that Hebrew is some stodgy old academic dead language when it is in fact alive. So we are having this discusion now, retroactively, what's so bad about that? IZAK 23:14, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
            • This has long since devolved from a discussion into a session where you take potshots at the intelligence and motivations of those who happen to disagree with you. You have long since forfeited your right to complain about anyone's inconsideration or arbitrary actions on this matter. As for not being able to speak for the Greeks and their "lingo", you've completely missed the point. To wit, how the Greeks pronounce the letters of their alphabet is irrelevant to their names in English, in exactly the same way as the pronunciation of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in MIH is irrelevant. Tomer TALK 06:59, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)
            • Tomer, if you haven't noticed, a number of very respectable editors here have agreed with me, so quit making out that I am on some "solo mission" here. I fear that the "English" you speak of is totally not the fairly common language I am talking about. You seem to not realize that you are talking about an English that is way above people's heads. But there is no escaping the fact that English can and does write of the letter Bet quite often as Bet particularly since we are talking of Hebrew as transliterated from modern Israel Hebrew, which many people consider to be the preferred way of pronouncing, and learning, the language. IZAK 11:45, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  2. Retain. "Bet" is both the official, and most common, transliteration of the name of the letter in Israel, the only country where Hebrew is the official language. -- uriber 07:17, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    How does this matter with respect to the naming of the article in the English WP? Tomer TALK 07:35, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
    See also the Unicode standard [3], which uses "Bet", "Het", etc. -- uriber 08:08, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    Tomer, the "English" Wikipedia is not an "English taskmaster" and we are not its "slaves". The English Wikipedia reflects and includes the totality of all existence and it is certainly not in the business of deciding how Hebrew, or any other langauge, should be pronounced. (See my discussions with Francis below). IZAK
    IZAK, the discussion below w/ Francis is irrelevant (and more than a little bit condescending). You are [kind of] correct, the English Wikipedia reflects and includes [inasmuch as articles have been written] the totality of all existence. That said, you're missing the point, intentionally or otherwise: it does so in English. NOBODY here is talking about how the letter is pronounced in Hebrew except you, nor is anyone discussing how Hebrew should be pronounced. You, on the other hand, appear to be discussing how English should be pronounced!  :-p Tomer TALK 07:59, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
    Tomer, Francis is a lawyer, she can take care of herself quite nicely thanks. Just focus on what you want to say, ok? IZAK 22:59, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    I have only focused on what I want to say. To deflect any discussion of what I said, you tell me to refer to your unrelated discussion with Francis and now you tell me to focus on what I want to say. What? Tomer TALK 06:59, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)
    Ok, so let, leave Francis out of the equation, shan't we? IZAK 11:45, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
  3. Retain. Why am I not surprised that anti-Zionists want to make Hebrew into a language of no relevance to Israel? This is reminiscent of the dork who tried to argue in the Norwegian language article that written Norwegian wasn't Norwegian. --Leifern 09:23, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
    • None of your points are even remotely relevant to this discussion. Whom are you calling anti-Zionist? Who has claimed that Hebrew is irrelevant wrt Israel? What does this have to do with Norwegian? This is not a discussion about the Hebrew pronunciation of the letter, as much as IZAK keeps trying to cast it to be, this is a discussion about what the ENGLISH name of the letter is, and following therefrom, what the name of the article should be in the ENGLISH wikipedia. Tomer TALK 18:04, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
      • The Hebrew pronouncation of the letter is either the "b" sound or the "v" sound. The Hebrew alphabet (or rather Alef-Bet) is Hebrew; it is not English. It is relevant because the undercurrent here is that the Israeli version is discounted in favor of an academic interpretation of Hebrew as a dead language, like Latin. And the vote is split along party lines. The comparison with Norwegian is apt, because both demonstrate how individuals who are profoundly ignorant about a living language nevertheless try to establish a point of view that is completely at odds with any available facts. --Leifern 23:46, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
        • I couldn't agree more. Apparently you're unaware, however, that it is yourself you're describing. Tomer TALK 00:52, Jun 25, 2005 (UTC)
        • This dispute, incidentally, in case you're not following it very closely, Leifern, has nothing to do with the pronunciation of the letter ב, rather it is about what the name of the article describing it should be in the English Wikipedia. Further, the basis of the disbute is not about the pronunciation of the letter itself, but rather about the English name of the letter. Tomer TALK 06:59, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)
  4. Retain. As uriber pointed out, the Unicode standard (which is in English) calls the letter Bet [4], even though it calls the Greek letters Alpha, Beta, and so on [5]. --Avi 11:46, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
  5. Retain, as Uriber pointed out this is the one and only Unicode standard. Beth is an old-fashion transcription. Not wrong, just anachronistic. gidonb 13:40, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    • Unicode is not the arbiter of English naming for non-English letters, Unicode is the arbiter of Unicode standards and nothing else. Beth is not an "old-fashion[ed] transcription", it is the English name of the 2nd letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Tomer TALK 18:04, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
      • Tomer, some things do change with time, you should know that, after all many in the Conservative Judaism movement argue that Halakhah also "changes" with time, so why can't the measly Beth finally be seen for the Bet that it has now fully become? It's perfectly "kosher" to say this you know (about Beth --> Bet), and there is no "mitzva" of clinging to archaic English language words. You know, like, hath is now "has" doeth is now now "does" etc. IZAK 23:22, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
        • There are dialects of English spoken in the West Midlands which would beg to differ with your sweeping assertion that the third person singular indicative is now uniformly in -s rather than in -th. There are other dialects of English which do not retain /θ/ or /ð/ in any position (whence Maggie Thatcher's bizarre sounding "Sank you, Mr. President" speech). Apparently if you spoke such a dialect, you would regard the use of /θ/ and /ð/ as "clinging to archaic English". If your English is non-rhotic, you probably regard pronouncing the "r" in "car" as "clinging to archaic English" as well. Just because your English doesn't include the pronunciation of ב as "beth" doesn't mean that that pronunciation and name are archaistic. This is now nothing more than your unsupportable personal battle to change English because in your view it is "false". As Doops said, if you don't like it, start a movement to get it changed. Until your movement is successful, however, what you're doing is an affront to Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not a soapbox and as you have yet to bring forth any scholarly works in support of your opinion, probably Wikipedia:No original research as well. Tomer TALK 06:59, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)
          • Tomer, all that the above proves is that you are going to DESTROY Wikipedia if you insist on inserting highly technical inscrutable jargon into your articles making them basically useless to any readers, and remember Wikipedia draws young and non-scholarly readers (who else is on the web?) who may want to learn the reality of another language, and you are going to present them with all these squigles and squagles and drown them out, because what you say here and the way that you say it proves that you are "married" to highly technical understandings of these things that has nothing to do with reality. Sorry bud, this is a biiiiiig problem. IZAK 11:57, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
            • And also, that you want me to "bring forth scholarly works" is huuuuuge joke, I am bringing forth the best proof there is: Millions of Israelis (Jews and Arabs) use Hebrew by pronouncing the בּ as a Bet and why shouldn't that be the case in modern English, what nonsense are you saying here, I am not trying to prove relativity here. IZAK 11:57, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
              • It is not I, but you, who are "destroy"ing wikipedia with this crusade you want to launch to reshape English according to MIH pronunciations. The English name of the letter is what should be the name of the English article in the English WP. Please see B, other uses at Beth, [6], [7], [8], [9]. The last one there even has an audio pronunciation of the letter, which, guess what, is /bɛth/. Tomer TALK 18:26, Jun 26, 2005 (UTC)
              • Tomer, the sources you cite matter zero, because we are all already aware of that archaic position, what we are talking about here is the other more modern position, that does not require "sources" in this instance because it is based on the reality of present-day spoken Hebrew of Israel (and supported by the most common Sephardi usage of Hebrew), as well as the fact that Wikipedia is NOT a "purist repository and guardian of all things English" which is, for example, why we have English articles based on Hebrew names -- and even these do not end with a "th" either -- such as Tzitzit (and not "Fringes"), Tallit (and not "Prayer shawl"), Charoset (and not "Passover paste"), Kashrut (and not "Dietary laws"), Kitniyot (and not "Legumes on Passover"), Payot (and not "Sidelocks of Jews") , and on-and-on, and not just in the Judaism and Hebrew sections but all over Wikipedia whenever unique cultures and foreign languages are under the microscope it's perfectly legit on Wikipedia to use the natural unadulturated "native" terms (that are actually more accurate and helpful to the novice wanting to learn), and there is NO need to suddenly become an "English purist" because Wikipedia is NOT merely a glorious repository of English usage -- it's far, far, far more than that, and if you haven't discovered that by now, then you don't really know Wikipedia well-enough yet. Wikipedia is striving to include the totality of all human knowledge. To quote its founder: "Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing."Jimbo Wales [10]That's my view too. IZAK 28 June 2005 05:19 (UTC) (and no, I'm not one of Jimbo's sock-puppets :-})
  6. Retain: redirect from beth. It is simply a matter of consistency. Are we going to rename the Knesset article Knesseth because of a lost pronunciation? Danny 23:29, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
    But it has no history of being called the Knesseth! Whereas "Beth" has for many long years been the standard English spelling; and remains so among the majority of English-speakers. Doops | talk 00:10, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)


I've taken the rather bold decision to move the article to ב. This solves the argument, I feel, and the vote was rather split (though beth (letter) was just over the 60% mark). I probably won't monitor this page too much, so if there are any serious objections then please drop me a line on my talk page to direct me over here. violet/riga (t) 11:06, 10 July 2005 (UTC)

Debating historical development of languages[edit]

If you want to debate the historical development of languages, this is about the worst page to fight this. Just state in which language the letter Bet occurs, and war over the history of Hebrew somewhere else. JFW | T@lk 19:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Phoenician Origin[edit]

User:HKT queries whether it was specifically the Phoenician alphabet that gave rise to the Western alphabets. According to Pierre Swiggers, "Transmission of the "Phoenician Script to the West" in Daniels and Bright, The World's Writing Systems (OUP), "The deriviation of the Greek alphabet from the Phoenician script is evident from the shapes of the letters, ... Herodotus speaks of the Greek letters as "Phoenician characters", ... the word φοινικια is attested in a fifth-century inscription from Teos ... as the designation of characters." One might also add that the Phoenicians, unlike the ancient Hebrews, were a seafaring and trading people, and thus much more likely to have come into contact with the Greeks. On this basis I propose to revert the recent change. rossb 21:36, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I concur; I thought it was pretty well-known that the Greek shapes came from the Phoenician. --Quuxplusone 21:43, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

They came from the Phoenicians perhaps, but there is no evidence that the characters were themselves an invention of the Phoenicians. Variations on them were used throughout the Levant, down the west coast of Arabia and into western Mesopotamia by 600 BCE IIRC. We need to get Gilgamesh and the like involved in this discussion if this is going to turn into an argument about the origin of the characters and their names. Tomer TALK 20:02, Jun 22, 2005 (UTC)

If I recall correctly, earliest usage is in Sinai or Eastern Egypt, but I may be wrong, anyway there are recognisably alphabetic symbols being scratched onto pot sherds in the second millenium BC in Egypt. The Phoenicians are only "special" in that they are likely to have taken alphabetic writing to the Greeks through their seafaring trade. Francis Davey 08:32, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Or alternately, it may be true that it was in fact the Israelite citizens of the ancient Kingdom of Israel and the Jews of the Kingdom of Judah who taught the Greeks many things, including their alphabet, (besides their spoken language). What you say is not the final word in scholarship at all, as these are still open discussions about things that happened thousands of years ago. IZAK 08:57, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Of course it wasn't the Phoenicians who invented the alphabet (see Middle Bronze Age alphabets); equally certainly, it was the Phoenicians who spread it, and on whose alphabet most others (including, via Aramaic, Hebrew) are based. - Mustafaa 03:53, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Mustafaa: What you say is just one POV, whereas it's just as accurate to say that it was derived from the ancient Israelites following the Exodus from Ancient Egypt over 3,300 years ago. IZAK 05:41, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think Mustafaa is talking about the form of the characters themselves, and I think you're talking about their names. If you are talking about the characters themselves, you're apparently discounting that it was Ezra who adopted the square Aramaic letters following the Exile, over the earlier Canaanite-type script used previously thereto. Tomer TALK 08:17, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
Tomer, I know what Ezra did, but you can be sure that what Ezra did is not what Mustafaa is doing. IZAK 23:25, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Bet or Beth?[edit]

Why is this article at Bet (letter), by the way? Shouldn't it be at Beth (letter), given that that's the most common name for the letter in mathematics and (as far as I know) in the English transliteration of Hebrew1, and given that the body of the article itself uses "Beth" to the exclusion of "Bet"? Also, I see no reason for Bet to be in italics and not bold in the first sentence; is that a typo or is there a deeper significance? --Quuxplusone 21:43, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

1 Cf. Aleph, Daleth, Heth, Teth, Kaph...

Bet is how it is pronounced in Israeli Hebrew, but the last letter Tau is given two different pronounciations by the Massoretic scholars (as for that matter is Beth itself). In a final position the Massoretic rule was to omit the daghes forte and to pronounce Tau roughly as /th/

Francis Davey 21:52, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

It was originally at Beth (letter) but was moved by (I think) User:IZAK. personally I would vote for moving it back. rossb 05:33, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Me too. After all this is an English wikipedia and the usages given above are far more common in English. While it may be inconsistent with contemporary usage in Israel, Beth is the form used in English historically. Francis Davey 20:26, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Francis, by now your argument is useless on Wikipedia which goes far beyond what happens "historically in common English" because Wikipedia also deals with the reality of things as they are and not just "as they were" once upon a time, or "should be" due to ignorance of the truth and denial of the facts. Thus, for example the word "Koran" was always "historically in common English" written as "Koran" (perhaps some academic egg-heads familiar with Arabic had other versions, because Arabic is a very fluid language). "Koran", spelled "Koran", is still used that way by most people in the English speaking world, but now Koran redirects to Qur'an on Wikipedia. Actually, the average person has never heard of and will never use "Qur'an", but it is the "official" version on Wikipedia to align it with the Arabic language (and not with English!) "Qur'an" has no similarity to the traditional spelling in the English language of the word "Koran" (the two words only have a lonely final "n" in common here.) The basic question we must ask ourselves is do we want to convey the way the letter is pronounced as an Anglicisation only, or do we also seek to give the correct information about the true sound this letter makes in its original true home within the Hebrew language as well? IZAK 07:01, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Well, the point is this: the "original" true home of the letter is probably in Ancient Hebrew, where there appears to have been a different way of pronouncing final Tau, which has been merged in later usage, which is reflected in Israeli Hebrew. Neither is "wrong", but the usage in Israel is more modern and, until the last 200 years or so, by no means the only usage.
The word Beth occurs widely in English, Bet not so, and we reflect English usage. It is right that (say) Koran is frequently written Qur'an now, but that is a widespread change in English usage not a Wikipedic alteration. The difference, in that case, is mostly in the spelling, English spoken usage (at least where I live) is to pronounce the two spellings the same. Very few English speakers can manage ejectives or glottalised stops (if that is how Qoph is pronounced, I'm not sure how modern Arabic renders it). The Beth/Bet dichotomy reflects a difference in pronounciation. I am unhappy with an entry title that is different from widespread English usage (very few non-Jews use /bet/) and from all historical European and Ancient Near-Eastern usages. Francis Davey 08:32, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
If, as you say, "very few non-Jews use /bet/" then it is high time that they get an education that is closer to the real Hebrew language and not to imaginary "Hebrew" that only exists on paper that, let's face it, no-one really knows or cares about excepting for a few pedantic academicians. This reminds me of that TV show that ended with the line "Will the real 'Hebrew language' please stand up!" IZAK 09:05, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
IZAK, it's actually just "some" Sefardim who say "bet". Prior to the advent of MIH, the most common pronunciation among Sefardim was beth, not bet. Since it was primarily used only liturgically, although this is not so widespread anymore since the growth of Hebrew as a vernacular, in which tav and thav are no longer distinguished in the pronunciation of most speakers. The use of "beth" is not restricted to just a few pedantic academicians, incidentally. That said, I'd prefer that you diminish your tone, which is beginning to sound insulting, at least to me, since I say "beth" not infrequently, and don't generally consider myself a pedantic academician. Nice use of "remoinds", btw. Tomer TALK 11:34, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)
Tomer, the "remoinds" was a typo which I have now fixed. Tomer, this article is NOT about what you do or don't's about the general widest usage of this letter within the Jewish people who are the prime users of the Hebrew language. Wikipedia is not a stodgy museum of languages. We have to remain in the realm of the "real" and it is from that dimension that we basically relegate beth to the ash-heap of history and lump it with the extinct Phoenicians. By the way, I don't know what you did to the Hebrew alphabet article, but it's basicaaly not functionally useful to the laymen in our midst. Remember Wikipedia is not a place where professors impose their world view on everyone else. There are other views out there in them thar hills etc... IZAK 12:07, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I didn't say anything about this article having anything to do with what I do/n't say, I simply protested your apparent classification of me as a pedantic academician here on the talk page. As for the realm of the "real", since I and thousands of other Hebrew-speaking non-academicians pronounce thav as thav, just as thousands of Hebrew-speaking non-academicians pronounce sav as sav, I think your proposal to relegate thav to the ash-heap of history is a bit premature. As for what you apparently think I did to the Hebrew alphabet article, but any protests should be taken up at Talk:Hebrew alphabet, not here. Am I to garner from your admonition about the rôle of professors' views vis-à-vis WP, that you assume I'm a professor of something? Incidentally, I liked the remoinds thing actually. Tomer TALK 13:01, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)
  • Tomer, let's not get carried away by all the tangents. I don't care who and what you are. I do care about Wikipedia articles. So let's discuss the Beth/Veth and Bet/Vet issues as they relate to this article. IZAK 13:42, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I just removed the bit about Nebuchadnezzar vs. Nebuchadrezzar from the daleth page. That variant has nothing to do with the similarity of daleth and resh, for the letter in that name varies between resh and NUN, not daleth.

Talk moved here[edit]

Copying relevant talk to here from user pages. Feel free to add your commenst and continue the discussion/s. Thanks. IZAK 06:42, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"Bet"(ter dead or alive?)[edit]

(From User talk:TShilo12#"Bet"(ter dead or alive?))

Shalom Tomer, please see revert history at Bet (letter). Is not the Hebrew language a vibrant living language whereas Phoenicia is a dead civilization and its language is an Extinct language? (As proof, see List of extinct languages#Middle East where the Phoenician languages are in the "extinct" column.) Thanks. IZAK 09:14, 21 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Regarding the Beth (letter) article[edit]

(The following began at User talk:IZAK#Regarding the Beth (letter) article.)

I'm sorry to let you down here, IZAK, but I think the original version was better than your version. It also matches all the other Hebrew letter articles, so the issue (if it exists) is much more widespread. Perhaps some sort of compromise can be worked out. Jayjg (talk) 19:51, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The article could use some expansion, but I agree with Jayjg and others that the previous version, as stubby as it is, was more NPOV. I also think that the article should be at Beth (letter) since that is how it is most widely known outside the Hebrew-speaking world. Tomer TALK 20:08, Jun 22, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the feed-back guys, but my intention was to start with "Beth" and then work on the other letters, which I still hope to do. The question of beth vs. bet depends on whether the goal is to convey the letter as it's used in the actual Hebrew language or how it "developed" according to the academics. How are the letters of other languages treated on Wikipedia by the way? Do they also focus on long-defunct forms, or is it the common (modern) usage that counts. And how did an article about the Hebrew language get lumped with "Phoenician"? This discussion will probably unfold in good time. Thanks again. IZAK 05:01, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

"Beth" is regarded as the "purest" original pronunciation of the Phoenician letter (notice: not beta). Why? Because that's how it was pronounced in Hebrew the good old days. I see your point, but perhaps this is something that should be brought up at Wikipedia:WikiProject Linguistics, or more specifically at Wikipedia:WikiProject Writing systems, as I'm sure there are a few people there whose guidance and input would be very helpful for the development of such an article. Incidentally, I say "beth" probably half the time, and never "bes".  :-p Tomer TALK 05:52, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)
Question: How do they know "Beth" is the "purest" if the Phoenicians have been dead and gone for over two or three thousand years? So maybe that's what they said, what's it got to do with the Hebrew language as a fully functional and functioning language TODAY. "Beth" as it's used by some today is nothing more than an Anglicisation. The bottom line for this letter today is that Sephardim and Israelis say bet and the Haredi Ashkenazim say beis or bays (and many Hasidim say buys -- as in "bye bye".) Why is reality so hard to grasp? IZAK 06:29, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Its not an Anglicisation: the distinction is one made long before English became a recognisable language. The Massoretic scholars chose to distinguish between the Tau in 'Tau' and that in 'Beth' when the pointed the text of the Hebrew Bible. This reflected a difference in pronounciation between the two letters that had been made in Hebrew spoken as a living language of the day. Many modern non-Israeli pronounciations also make the distinction. This is why it is written with two different graphs in English t and th, a distinction made by much earlier Rabbinic scholars when rendering Massoretic texts into the Latin alphabet. Francis Davey 08:32, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Francis, if you haven't noticed, the discussion is about "Bet/Beth". In any case who says "Tau" is correct? No-one and no group I know of among Jews and within Judaism pronounces it that way. With or without a dagesh (the "dot" in the middle) it's either "Tav" with a "v" at the end for sephardim and Israelis or (without the dagesh) sav for Ashkenazim By the way, what exactly are "modern non-Israeli pronounciations" of Hebrew that you know of? Let's get real here? Also on what basis do you accept the "masoretes", do you also accept the rulings they made as part of the rabbinical literature they produced? This needs to be clarified. But right now let's focus on "Beth|bet" shan't we? IZAK 08:52, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Yemenites and some Egyptian Jews say "taw". Tomer TALK 11:36, Jun 23, 2005 (UTC)
Aww!!! IZAK 12:08, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Beth is the name, in English, for the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, just as beta is the name, again in English, for the second letter of the Greek alphabet. Both are now wrong pronounciations in terms of the way those words are used by most living speakers of the languages using those alphabets, however the letters became English words some considerable time ago. English usage is not "wrong" just different. That is the way language is. For example we pronounce Paris with an /s/, which is wrong, certainly in modern standard French, but correct when we borrowed it some considerable time ago. We have a name for Paris related to the French word for the same place, but our word is right for us. See: Welsh and English names for places. Both correct, but in the English wikipedia we use the English not the Welsh name for a place (or we should...). Francis Davey 13:06, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Francis, I get your point, stop repeating it like a Mantra please. Are you aware that Wikipedia has a rich collection of Hebrew titled articles see Category:Hebrew words. Similarly, see Category:Arabic words or Category:Russian terminology (and many others like them). Almost all these words could be "forced" to appear as English-only articles, but the fact is that they do not because the people who write these articles are not interested in "policing" articles on Wikipedia to ensure that all articles are "English on the English wikipedia". I think that you are seeking to impose a standard that does not exist. The article is not about "How Hebrew letters are pronounced in English" , but rather about the raw reality and existence of the letter in its natural state. You are implying a process that is not true. The article is not "hurting" the English language or Wikipedia. On the contrary, the article is using English to desscribe and explain the letter Bet ' s true nature by means of transliteration and comparison. This is actually a process of Comparative method and Historical linguistics in languages and much more. Wikipedia is not just a court-house protecting the rights of English speakers, it is a repository of all legitimate human knowledge in all its forms and varieties. If you haven't noticed that yet, then you haven't explored the vast scope and inclusivity of Wikipedia, particularly when dealing with languages and phenomena other than English. IZAK 14:04, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Clearly a difference in philosophy and approach. It seems to me that it would be useful to have a consensus view on how to approach names for letters in foreign alphabets and similar entities, since this is an issue that has wider implications than just for this particular letter and goes beyond (I think) merely the approach to Hebrew -- perhaps this should be discussed in a larger forum and that might ease the conflict? Francis Davey 17:27, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Francis I agree with you now. It is "a difference in philosophy and approach". But I don't think it really calls for any major "larger forum and that might ease the conflict?" (as you claim) simply because we are not, in essence, "at war" here! I think that on Wikipedia ALL the views and approaches get reflected. So when, for example, the Chinese language is being written about and discussed on Wikipedia, and it does actually start like this: "The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語, or 中文; Pinyin: Hànyǔ, Huáyǔ, or Zhōngwén) is a tonal language and a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages," it would then be very foolish for another editor to jump in and say well, we don't pronounce this-and-that in such-and-such a way because this is the English Wikipedia. Or to say that we prefer to use Mao Tse Tung (its accepted form in English for most of modern history) because we don't like the way Communist China turned it into "Mao Zedong". This is just an example of the reality of accomodation that we all can and do adapt to here, and not jump to just artificially impose tight "English" "demands and standards" at all times. Wikipedia is far too broad and far too open a medium for a narrow view of things, because it's by definition infiitely broad and inclusive. IZAK 05:57, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
You'll notice that nobody is pushing to rename Chinese language to Hanyu, Huayu, or Zhongwen, which is the only part of the above comment that I see as relevant to the discussion about what to name the article (a disjointed discussion that seems to be going on in half a dozen different places). Tomer TALK 08:21, Jun 24, 2005 (UTC)
Tomer, take a look at Category:Mandarin terms, it's all Chinese to me...!!! IZAK 23:28, 24 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I personally find IZAK's nationalist-soapbox approach to the Hebrew alphabet unsalvageably ridiculous, but in case anyone's looking for evidence of Wikipedia semi-policy one way or the other: Wikipedia has articles on I Ching, Tai Chi Chuan, Fu Hsi, and Confucius whose titles don't conform to Hanyu pinyin (IZAK's "Communist China" transliteration system), but rather to accepted English usage (three based on Wade-Giles and the last on a Latinized honorific). (Contrariwise, the article on Lao Tzu is at Lao Zi.) Finally: Just because IZAK doesn't know Mandarin is no reason for him to assume some kind of Communist plot going on in Category:Mandarin terms. :-/ Those are all real words and names. --Quuxplusone 02:07, 25 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I note that Peking is at Beijing. Jayjg (talk) 16:21, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Quux, I am not concerned in the least with "communist plots" (they ALWAYS fail in the end in any case!) I am saying that there is plenty of evidence that Wikipedia panders to the Chinese way of writing things, even though some names may remain as they were in "English" at the same time (is that a double standard?) Furthermore it is truly laughable that you think I have a "nationalist-soapbox approach to the Hebrew alphabet unsalvageably ridiculous" when all I am doing is describing and explaining to you the most common form of this letter in Hebrew in the most accurate fashion. To follow your argument: The spelling Bet (and not "Beth") is a "real word/s and name/s" in the Hebrew language AND for many who use it in English for the Hebrew letter בּ IZAK 05:33, 26 Jun 2005 (UTC)
It's not a plot, it's destiny. But the Chinese Communist Party is on your side now (though, maybe not transliteration-wise!); we'll turn them around, too. No, I have nothing else to add to this conversation. Well, except that I now see that there will be objections to my planned move. Regarding it, I think it's problematic to opt for a philological rather than modern linguistics approach for the transliteration of the letter along the line of how it is being used today by million of people, as opposed to the realm of archeology (which is to day, highlighting a component non existent in and archaic to modern Hebrew). El_C 06:26, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

Pronunciation and transliteration[edit]

This article has now been much expanded in respect of pronunciation. I would suggest that rather than going to such lengths, it should merely acknowledge that the dagesh makes a difference in some versions, and then cross-refer to the Hebrew alphabet article which gives considerable more detail for the various types of Hebrew pronunciation over the centuries, for this and for the other Hebrew letters. rossb 13:18, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

  • You say this this article is "going to such lengths"? So then why was it listed before as a "stub" needing more input? You are not making sense. I think that the article is now well-focused on the letter "Bet/Beth" to which it is devoted whereas the Hebrew alphabet article is far too broad and too confusing. The reference in this article to the dagesh is needed here, insofar as it relates to the Bet/Vet split and nothing else, so I fail to see your gripe/s. IZAK 13:36, 23 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Move to bet[edit]

Any objections if I move the article to Bet? It appears to be the more common —and, significantly, phonetically correct— transliteration. El_C 06:15, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

The move is complete. See Hebrew_phonology#Other_Notes (no.2) [an article I have not edited] for more on my rational. Thanks. El_C 07:01, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

Bet(h) numbers[edit]

The last sentence of the article states: "In discrete mathematics, beth represents the beth numbers that stand for the power of infinite sets."

Although this not completely false, it is highly misleading from a mathematical point of view:

The reference to discrete mathematics is weird. The number beth-1 signifies the cardinality of the continuum, the continuum being what discrete math does not deal with.
Beth numbers indicate the cardinality of the power sets of infinite sets. "The power of infinite sets" is not quite correct and has a somewhat mystical touch to it.

I suggest this improved version:

"In set theory, the letter beth is used to symbolize the beth numbers. The number beth-0 is the size of any denumerably infinite set, like the set of integers. The number beth-1 is the size of the power set of any set of size beth-0. The number beth-2 is the size of the power set of any set of the size beth-1, and so on. In mathematics it is customary to write "beth" instead of "bet"."

If there are no objections I shall replace the present last sentence with the above suggestion for an improved sentence, OK? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:18, 25 January 2007 (UTC).

First, when discussing bits of the article text, please cut-and-paste the relevant text, instead of trying to memorize the passage and reproduce it from memory here. Your "quote" is totally misquoted, and that misquotation affects the validity of the rest of your comments.
Second, points of fact: Set theory is traditionally considered one of the branches of discrete mathematics. While changing the sentence to mention "set theory" might be a good idea, it's obviously not incorrect to say that the beth numbers are part of "discrete mathematics". Second, the article text does say "powers of", not "the power of", as you'd have noticed if you cut-and-pasted instead of trying to memorize the passage. Third, your summary of the significance of the beth numbers is okay, but it doesn't belong here. It would belong at Beth number, if Beth number didn't have a more detailed and far superior article already. --Quuxplusone 05:35, 6 February 2007 (UTC)


The origin of bēt is from IDE. It's the same word as Latvian būda, būta 'house'. Etymologically bēt < PIE *būtas 'house'. Roberts7 17:03, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Bayt vs. baytun[edit]

User:HD86 recently added the inflectional ending "-un" to the Arabic word "bayt". This is not the normal scholarly practice for citing an Arabic word in isolation (of course, in discussing noun morphology etc. it would be included). The citation form is normally the pausal form, which does not carry the inflectional endings ('i`rab). This is the practice of the authoritative Encyclopedia of Islam, for example. Are there any reliable sources where the -un is included? --macrakis (talk) 19:53, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually you need to cite for me someone saying that it is OK to cut the Arabic word endings, and it'd better be a very reliable citation. HD86 (talk) 20:26, 25 October 2008 (UTC)
You don't consider the Encyclopedia of Islam reliable?? --macrakis (talk) 23:13, 25 October 2008 (UTC)

Is there anywhere in that encyclopedia a sentence saying "taking out the word endings is OK"? show it to me. To demand that we write words incorrectly because someone else does it is not a valid argument. I have already told you that these endings are not optional in the Arabic language. Why don't you waste your time removing the Akkadian endings first? and after that maybe you can convince me to do the same for the Arabic ones. I don't know who is the genius who decided that it is appropriate to cite an Akkadian word with a terminal -u or -um then cite the Arabic equivalent without an -un?

This whole issue is because they are too lazy to learn the Arabic endings, not anything else. I don't think there is anybody unsmart enough to misunderstand the rules of pause that much. The rules of pause are verbal rules but we don't remove the endings from the transcription.HD86 (talk) 05:07, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

HD86, I hardly think that the editors of the Encyclopedia of Islam are "too lazy to learn the Arabic endings" or "unsmart". Every single headword in the EI is written without 'i`rab. And the EI is not an exception. Every scholarly article I can think of which mentions Arabic nouns in referring to a concept mentions them in the citation form, without the -u/un ending. (Of course, talking about Classical Arabic grammar or citing whole phrases is another matter.) Can you point to any articles discussing "Allahu" or "Muhammadun" or "al-Qur'anu" or "al-Qaahiratu"? Remember, Wikipedia follows established scholarly conventions. If you want a specific citation for this, how about John Kaltner, "Arabic" in Steven L. McKenzie, et al., Beyond Babel, p. 70. --macrakis (talk) 19:03, 26 October 2008 (UTC)

He is only saying that westerners do not usually cite the endings. We already know that and it is wrong as the case endings are not optional in Arabic. This erroneous practice originated from only one fact, which is that the endings are indicated with diacritics instead of letters in the Arabic transcription. This is the only reason for why some unsmart people began to drop these endings in transliteration; you can cite me on that. Or why do they always include the Akkadian endings for instance? What is the difference?

The case endngs must be included whenever there is a transliteration of an Arabic word. If you know the definition of a transliteration, you should know that removing the case eindings from an Arabic transliteration is a form of falsification. HD86 (talk) 07:34, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, Wikipedia goes by established scholarly consensus. The Encyclopedia of Islam is a good reflection of that consensus. So far, you have offered no sources agreeing with you. --macrakis (talk) 03:25, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
HD86, you reverted my edits (and accused me of vandalism!) in which I corrected "baytun" to "bayt". I have established that "bayt" (just like Muhammad and Allah) is the standard scholarly convention. You have found no sources for your position, but insist on your personal point of view. That's not the way we do things on WP. And you also put back in a sentence on the preposition "bi" which is out of place in this article. --macrakis (talk) 04:50, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
  • HD86, we should really follow established and widespread scholarly conventions for citation forms of words, even though they sometimes appear to be misleading and illogical. Confer the similar example of Sanskrit lexemes, which are usually cited and lemmatized in so-called dhātu (verbs) and prātipadika (nominals) forms without inflectional endings (and various enlargements that precede them) in which they (almost) never appear in actually written/spoken language. So it's hardly an exception for Arabic.. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 14:39, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually Arabic is not a dead language. You are both accustomed to treating languages based on your personal judgment, and you see the world only through your linguistic books. Unfortunately, this doesn't work here. Arabic is a living language that has rules. It is spoken by millions of people and those people set the rules of this language not you. Arabic academies have declared repeatedly during the last century that dropping the case endings is inadmissible in the Arabic language. Your established conventions are yours to use in your classrooms; I myself wouldn't teach students the Arabic case endings for multiple reasons. However, you don't have the right to manipulate people's languges on this encyclopedia. A transliteration of an Arabic word is an Arab's business not yours. This is not a classroom. HD86 (talk) 17:47, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

No one claimed that Arabic is a dead language. And we are not talking about anyone's "personal judgement", but the consensus of scholars writing in English. What the Arabic academies try to make Arabic speakers do is not the issue here. It is simply how to cite Arabic words in an English-language encyclopedia. --macrakis (talk) 23:27, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

You can't use the words "Arabic" or "transliteration" next to any word written based on these western scholarly conventions. You may idenitfy them by "Anglicized transliterations" or "scholarly transliterations" but you can't call them "Arabic" or mere "transliterations" because that would leave the encyclopedia liable to litigation. A transliteration is an accurate transcription of a word and it can't contain such a deliberate systemic error. HD86 (talk) 04:30, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

Which part of "Wikipedia must follow scholarly convention for citation forms used by >99.9% publications" do you not understand? --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 11:00, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

I would tell you, but you don't seem much capable of understanding. HD86 (talk) 18:37, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Well, unless you have some serious evidence (e.g. citing sources that use your inventive scheme) against the usual lemmatization norm, as has already been asked from you several times on this talkpage, please stop replacing bayt with baytun. Thanks --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 22:34, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
"...would leave the encyclopedia liable to litigation..." Very funny. --macrakis (talk) 14:10, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Arabic beyt?![edit]

I don't know where you have got this beyt from, but you clearly (along with your source) have no clue about Arabic. I've been hopelessly trying to make you understand the meaning of a transliteration and that the conventions they used to teach you the very little bit you know about Arabic do not constitute an alternative to a real transliteration that you can force on everybody transliterating an Arabic word. I also warned you that providing these shortened "educational transliterations" as real transliterations is an obvious falsification. You just don't seem to be capable of understanding.

I'm going to leave the "beyt" lol ... But if somebody changed it back to "bayt," I am going to correct it again .... HD86 (talk) 05:39, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Look up in the dictionary the concepts called lemma and citation form. --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 11:28, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Do you really know what a lemma is? I have read the article and I know now that you just don't know what you're talking about. A true "lemma" for an Arabic word would be the tri-consonantal root. The "bayt" is nothing in Arabic; it is neither a lemma nor a citation form nor anything. Your information is obviously confused and needs urgent refreshing. HD86 (talk) 16:01, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks to you, now I know that your "citation form" argument is absolutly false and has no bases what so ever, because a word without its ending is NOT the citation form of Arabic. You have just made my case much easier. HD86 (talk) 16:24, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

Tell me, is in your English<->Arabic dictionary Arabic word for house descending from Proto-Semtic *bayt- lemmatized as triconsonantal root? --Ivan Štambuk (talk) 19:57, 2 November 2008 (UTC)

HD86, arguing from first principles doesn't help. You need to show that the convention you propose is widely used in serious English-language sources. Until then, you're wasting your breath. --macrakis (talk) 02:03, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

By the way, it's not at all clear that we need to have any modern languages here at all. The letter was named after the word for 'house' in some ancient Semitic language. The fact that that word has modern reflexes is only tangentially relevant, and is anyway covered in the wiktionary article for proto-Semitic bayt. --macrakis (talk) 03:03, 4 November 2008 (UTC)

Add the source hieroglyph[edit]

All of the bet letters come from the "pr" (house) hieroglyph. Shaped like:


|_ _|

Would someone add it and some background? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 27 March 2009 (UTC)