Gimel

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This article is about the Semitic letter. For other uses, see Gimel (disambiguation).
"Gimmel" redirects here. For the music group, see Gimmel (music group).
Gimel
Phonemic representation d͡ʒ, ʒ, ɡ, ɟ, ɣ
Position in alphabet 3
Numerical value 3
Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician

Gimel is the third letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Gīml Phoenician gimel.svg, Hebrew ˈGimel ג, Aramaic Gāmal Gimel.svg, Syriac Gāmal ܓ, and Arabic ǧīm ج (in alphabetical order; fifth in spelling order). Its sound value in the original Phoenician and in all derived alphabets, save Arabic, is a voiced velar plosive [ɡ]; in Modern Standard Arabic, it represents either a /d͡ʒ/ or /ʒ/ for most Arabic speakers except in Lower Egypt, the southern parts of Yemen and some parts of Oman where it is pronounced as a voiced velar plosive [ɡ], see below and also Persian Gaf گ.

In its unattested Proto-Canaanite form, the letter may have been named after a weapon that was either a staff sling or a throwing stick, ultimately deriving from a Proto-Sinaitic glyph based on the hieroglyph below:

T14

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek gamma (Γ), the Latin C and G, and the Cyrillic Г.

Arabic ǧīm[edit]

The main Pronunciations of written <ج> in Arabic dialects.

The Arabic letter ج is named جيم ǧīm. It is written is several ways depending in its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: ج‎ ـج‎ ـجـ‎ جـ‎

in most Modern Standard Arabic (Literary Arabic) registers the standard pronunciation, is the affricate [d͡ʒ] or, less often, the fricative [ʒ], except in lower Egypt. Differences in pronunciation occur, because speakers of Modern Standard Arabic pronounce words in accordance to their spoken variety of Arabic. In such varieties, cognate words will have consistent differences in pronunciation of this sound:

  • [d͡ʒ]: In most of the Arabian Peninsula, Algeria, Iraq, limited parts of the Levant. Yet in Algeria and the Arabian Peninsula it may be softened to [ʒ] in some environments.
  • [ʒ]: In most of the Levant and north west Africa.
  • [ɟ]: In some regions of Sudan ,Yemen and Sindh, another common reconstruction of the Classical Arabic pronunciation.
  • [g]: In Egypt and Yemen (mostly Tihama), (as in Hebrew and the other Semitic languages). This pronunciation also exist in north west Africa in words that contain grooved alveolar sounds (/s/, /z/), but not when pronouncing Literary Arabic.
  • [j]: In Gulf Arabic, in the most colloquial speech, while [d͡ʒ] and sometimes softened to [ʒ] in Literary Arabic pronunciation. In Moroccan dialect it is pronounced as j in some words but g in others.

Egyptians always use the letter to represent [ɡ], as well as in names and loanwords, such as جولف "golf". However, it isn't incorrect to use it in Egypt for transcribing /ʒ/~/d͡ʒ/ (normally pronounced [ʒ]). The opposite isn't incorrect among other Arabic language speakers.

In Perso-Arabic script, it is called jīm.

In Egypt, when there is a need to transcribe /ʒ/ or /d͡ʒ/, both are approximated into [ʒ] using چ. In Persian, Urdu, Sindhi, Ottoman Turkish and other languages using Perso-Arabic script, چ represents the affricate /t͡ʃ/.

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: چ‎ ـچ‎ ـچـ‎ چـ‎

Hebrew gimel[edit]

Variations[edit]

Orthographic variants
Various print fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
script
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ג ג ג Hebrew letter Gimel handwriting.svg Hebrew letter Gimel Rashi.png

Hebrew spelling: גִּימֵל

Bertrand Russell posits that the letter's form is a conventionalized image of a camel.[1][2] The letter may be the shape of the walking animal's head, neck, and forelegs. Barry B. Powell, a specialist in the history of writing, states "It is hard to imagine how gimel = "camel" can be derived from the picture of a camel (it may show his hump, or his head and neck!)".[3]

Gimel is one of the six letters which can receive a dagesh. The two functions of dagesh are distinguished as either qal (light) or hazaq (strong). The six letters are bet, gimel, daled, kaph, pe, and taf. Three of them (bet, kaph, and pe) have their sound value changed in modern Hebrew from the fricative to the plosive by adding a dagesh. The other three represent the same pronunciation in modern Hebrew, but have had alternate pronunciations at other times and places. They are essentially pronounced in the fricative as ג gh غ, dh ذ and th ث. In the Temani pronunciation, gimel represents /ɡ/, /ʒ/, or /d͡ʒ/ when with a dagesh, and /ɣ/ without a dagesh. In modern Hebrew, the combination ג׳ (gimel followed by a geresh) is used in loanwords and foreign names to denote [d͡ʒ].

Significance[edit]

In gematria, gimel represents the number three.

It is written like a vav with a yud as a "foot", and it resembles a person in motion; symbolically, a rich man running after a poor man to give him charity, as in the Hebrew alphabet gimel directly precedes dalet, which signifies a poor or lowly man, from the Hebrew word dal.[citation needed]

The word gimel is related to gemul, which means 'justified repayment', or the giving of reward and punishment.

Gimel is also one of the seven letters which receive special crowns (called tagin) when written in a Sefer Torah. See shin, ayin, teth, nun, zayin, and tsadi.

In Modern Hebrew, the frequency of usage of gimel, out of all the letters, is 1.26%.

Syriac Gamal/Gomal[edit]

Gamal/Gomal
Syriac Eastern gamal.svg Madnḫaya Gamal
Syriac Serta gamal.svg Serṭo Gomal
Syriac Estrangela gamal.svg Esṭrangela Gamal

Syriac letter shapes Gamal.PNG

In the Syriac alphabet, the third letter is ܓ — Gamal in eastern pronunciation, Gomal in western pronunciation (ܓܵܡܵܠ). It is one of six letters that represent two associated sounds (the others are Bet, Dalet, Kaph, Pe and Taw). When Gamal/Gomal has a hard pronunciation (qûššāyâ ) it represents [ɡ], like "goat". When Gamal/Gomal has a soft pronunciation (rûkkāḵâ ) it traditionally represents [ɣ] (ܓ݂ܵܡܵܠ), or Ghamal/Ghomal. The letter, renamed Jamal/Jomal, is written with a tilde/tie either below or within it to represent the borrowed phoneme [d͡ʒ] (ܓ̰ܡܵܠ), which is used in Garshuni and some Neo-Aramaic languages to write loan and foreign words from Arabic or Persian.

Ethiopian/Sudanese Gimel[edit]

The dialect of Eastern Africa often utilizes the gimel sofit when the gimel ends a word. The letter is a traditional gimel with an add-on curve on the bottom.

Character encodings[edit]

Character ג ج گ ܓ
Unicode name HEBREW LETTER GIMEL ARABIC LETTER JEEM ARABIC LETTER GAF SYRIAC LETTER GAMAL SAMARITAN LETTER GAMAN GIMEL SYMBOL
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 1490 U+05D2 1580 U+062C 1711 U+06AF 1811 U+0713 2050 U+0802 8503 U+2137
UTF-8 215 146 D7 92 216 172 D8 AC 218 175 DA AF 220 147 DC 93 224 160 130 E0 A0 82 226 132 183 E2 84 B7
Numeric character reference &#1490; &#x5D2; &#1580; &#x62C; &#1711; &#x6AF; &#1811; &#x713; &#2050; &#x802; &#8503; &#x2137;
Character 𐎂 𐡂 𐤂
Unicode name UGARITIC LETTER GAMLA IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER GIMEL PHOENICIAN LETTER GAML
Encodings decimal hex decimal hex decimal hex
Unicode 66434 U+10382 67650 U+10842 67842 U+10902
UTF-8 240 144 142 130 F0 90 8E 82 240 144 161 130 F0 90 A1 82 240 144 164 130 F0 90 A4 82
UTF-16 55296 57218 D800 DF82 55298 56386 D802 DC42 55298 56578 D802 DD02
Numeric character reference &#66434; &#x10382; &#67650; &#x10842; &#67842; &#x10902;

See also[edit]

The serif form of the Hebrew letter gimel is occasionally used for the gimel function in mathematics.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Russell, Bertrand (1972). A history of western philosophy (60th print. ed.). New York: Touchstone book. ISBN 9780671314002. 
  2. ^ Stan Tenen - Meru Foundation. "Meru Foundation Research: Letter Portrait: Gimel". meru.org. 
  3. ^ Powell, Barry B. (27 March 2009). Writing: Theory and History of the Technology of Civilization. Wiley Blackwell. p. 182. ISBN 978-1405162562. 

External links[edit]