Help talk:IPA for Hebrew

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I added template "unreferenced". As a remedy I suggest a quick web search for authoritative info about transcribing speech sounds in Hebrew characters. First stop is the Academy of the Hebrew Language site. Second stop is the Hebrew-language Wikipedia, to see whether they have cited any transcription method. I will spend a little time on this right away. But if I don't bring the results today, it means that I ran out of time. --Hoziron (talk) 16:47, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

As I suspected, I ran out of time. Here's where I stopped:

  • Which direction is this article going? I came here from the message "For transliteration to Hebrew, see International Phonetic Alphabet for Hebrew." That suggests going from sounds (or IPA) to Hebrew writing. But then I noticed the "other symbols used in transcription", which are for IPA, not Hebrew writing. That suggests going from Hebrew writing to IPA.
  • I found the Academy's new rules for transcribing multiple other languages (as sounds) to Hebrew writing. [1] I got as far as making this chart for consonants:

--Hoziron (talk) 18:22, 16 December 2007 (UTC)


I moved the (ref) tag to the talk page. Since this isn't an article, normal sourcing does not apply. Rather, it is a convention followed on Wikipedia. It doesn't need to be supported by anything outside of Wikipedia, though of course normal consensus applies. kwami (talk) 07:26, 3 May 2008 (UTC)


Who writes "W" as Vav with geresh? Usually, we write double Vav, or just one Vav. For example: We write ויקיפדיה ("Wikipedia"), and not ו'יקיפדיה. Edenc1Talk 09:11, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

Secondary stress, syllable marks, and syllabic consonants[edit]

If Hebrew doesn't utilize secondary stress and has no syllabic consonants, there's no need for any of these. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 17:45, 23 February 2009 (UTC)

Stress in Hebrew can be on either the last or penultimate syllable (Hebrew phonology#Stress). Epson291 (talk) 02:12, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
What you link to simply says that Hebrew words can either be stressed on the ultimate or the penultimate syllable. Nothing about secondary stress or about syllabic consonants. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 05:42, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. - Epson291 (talk) 05:50, 26 February 2009 (UTC)


There's no indication of how vocalic shva is pronounced. Is it [e] or [ə]? +Angr 15:35, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

In modern Hebrew it's definitely [e]. Mo-Al (talk) 22:18, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
If it is in Modern/Israeli Hebrew (the only spoken form of Hebrew) pronounced as [e̞], then why is the symbol of the mid-central vowel [ə] is used? It would confuse readers that the vocalized shva is mid-central, rather than [e]. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 04:19, 4 December 2010 (UTC)

Why, then, do the example words in English not match up to the IPA symbol? "Bed" does not use [e], nor do the other examples. Jorel845 (talk) 18:39, 10 May 2012 (UTC)

The vowel of "bed" is the closest English equivalent. — Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 01:48, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

Example words[edit]

This page needs example words in Hebrew rather than in English. +Angr 15:35, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Hebrew Phones[edit]

Are the phones represented here by the letters ת׳ and ד׳ really part of modern/Israeli Hebrew? Do Israeli native Hebrew speakers that encounter these two letters read them with the suggested IPA sounds on the left without making an "effort" to switch to a foreign arsenal of sounds? I believe not. These sounds are not part of the Israeli pronunciation.Ly362 (talk) 18:00, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

Israeli isn't the only form of modern Hebrew. As with other languages with dialectal variation, we may have to figure out how we're going to represent different dialectal pronunciations. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 02:19, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
Also, I would venture that a significant portion of Israeli Hebrew speakers are bilingual or fluent in English, and they probably do produce /θ, ð/ when they encounter them. (Just as English speakers who are bilingual or fluent speakers of Hebrew and Yiddish effortlessly produce /x/ when they encounter it.) +Angr 06:33, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
The things you both say are true. But so, the question remains what does the description in the beginning of the page means regarding Modern slash Israeli, and after that still, what is considered part of that language/dialect arsenal of phones, there are also many people who are fluent in anything, you can't make that a rule. I am also used to pronounce the French sounds when I encounter a French word, but that is foreign to ones around me who don't know to do this. If we are considering oriented pronunciation of some groups in Israel, then some of them might have even more than these two sounds, and yet, I'm not sure that even them or other people who are fluent in English or anything else, associate those sounds with these representations in the table. I think for most of these cases the additional sounds are allophones of the other basic letters, like the soft sound of ת for example.Ly362 (talk) 00:02, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
At the very least it would be sensible to move θ ð down into the "Marginal sounds" table alongside ŋ. +Angr 06:24, 28 August 2009 (UTC)
Aeusoes, Israeli is the only form of modern spoken Hebrew. Mo-Al (talk) 01:28, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Untrue. There are many Mizrahi Jews who speak Mizrahi Hebrew in Israel. That's also ignoring Sephardi Hebrew and other variants. Just because Israeli Hebrew is the most common variant and the official standard doesn't mean other dialects don't exist, not to mention the historical Tiberian vocalization. Hebrew has always had and continues to have several variants, and this article should reflect that. AlexanderKaras (talk) 17:23, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Minor correction: this isn't an article, but an IPA transcription key for Wikipedia articles. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 19:25, 5 June 2010 (UTC)


I'm not happy with this standard. It completely ignores Oriental Israeli Hebrew pronunciation (/ħ/, /ʕ/, mobile schwa, and gemination), and doesn't clarify how to transcribe historical and liturgical varieties of Hebrew. I think this should article should be split, but I'm not quite sure how. It seems to be a de facto standard to use "Hebrew" to refer to Modern Hebrew, and to use disambiguation otherwise, e.g. Hebrew language, Biblical Hebrew language, Ashkenazi Hebrew, etc. So what should be done? (By the way, this issue also applies to Hebrew grammar, which I think should have Biblical Hebrew grammar split off from it.) Mo-Al (talk) 04:38, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

This is a Wikipedia page that outlines our policy on transcribing Hebrew words. Even if we are to have two standards (which I don't think is necessary), there's no reason to have multiple help pages. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 04:40, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Well what is the policy for transcribing Tiberian Hebrew words? Right now there seem to be a bunch of different systems floating around. Why doesn't that license a help page? Mo-Al (talk) 04:41, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
I think you answered your own question. I don't know enough about Hebrew to construct or propose a system or systems. Do you have something in mind? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 05:00, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Well at least for liturgical pronunciations of Hebrew giving IPA isn't that bad since we don't have the uncertainty of reconstruction. For Biblical, Tiberian, etc. some other method of transcription might be needed due to remaining uncertainty. But I would think it absurd not to have some standard. Mo-Al (talk) 05:15, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
So for non-modern pronunciations we don't use IPA? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 06:07, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Well modern ones definitely should. I'm not enough of an expert to know whether we know the pronunciation of the non-modern ones with enough certainty to be able to agree on the IPA representation. Mo-Al (talk) 06:40, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
See? And then what? Only the articles about modern Hebrew won't use the already existing standard? Of course the would. Ly362 (talk) 17:16, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I think you're overestimating the importance of this page; we don't usually transcribe Hebrew words anyway. However, if you want to add more varieties, you can just add it to this page. There's absolutely no point creating another page, there already too many. See also: Hebrew phonology#Regional and historical variation. —Ynhockey (Talk) 10:30, 1 September 2009 (UTC)

I would support a general policy of treating Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew as separate languages (or dialects or whatever designation of the difference hurts less). These two varieties differ vastly in phonology and syntax. Insisting on dismissing these differences as trivial has been the source of much obscurity and confusion in Wikipedia articles. This wouldn't warrant two "IPA for Hebrew" pages, just a clear separation within the page. Concerning other varieties (Ashkenazi etc.), I'm too ignorant to have an opinion. Dan 21:44, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I like your suggestion. My remaining concern is how to unify Oriental and non-Oriental pronunciation in such articles as Hebrew phonology. I don't think this standard should gloss over it. Mo-Al (talk) 21:46, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
And by the way, if we're using some transliteration scheme outside of IPA for Biblical Hebrew, wouldn't that necessitate changing the name of this page? Also, wouldn't we be encroaching on the domain of Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Hebrew)? Mo-Al (talk) 21:56, 1 September 2009 (UTC)
If we decide not to use IPA for Biblical Hebrew, then the transcription (romanization) would be covered elsewhere. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 00:06, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
When biblical pronunciation is concerned, of course we stick to IPA for transcription, based on relevant publications. Matters of transliteration (not transcription) don't belong on this page anyway. Dan 01:00, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I should clarify that when I talk about not using IPA for a certain form of Hebrew that it's with the understanding that transliteration/romanization would stand alone. Not that we would create or use some sort of other pronunciation system. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 05:29, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. Dan 19:13, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Okay, I will start adding material to this article on liturgical pronunciations. However, I'm concerned that the page may become unwieldy, which is why I still tentatively support splitting the page. But if anyone can find a way to merge the many tables together that might make sense too. Mo-Al (talk) 22:17, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

Wait, isn't liturgical pronunciation that of non-native speakers? That seems non-sensical. I was under the impression you were talking about dialects from Hebrew-speaking populations outside of Israel. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:26, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
I don't think there are any existing "dialects" of Modern Hebrew. Do you think that languages without native speakers (i.e. liturgical languages and such) don't justify IPA standards? Then why does Wikipedia:IPA for Arabic exist? Mo-Al (talk) 22:39, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
No. Certainly not when there are modern variants. WP:IPA for Arabic describes the lingua franca common to many Arabic speakers in liturgy and media so it's inaccurate to imply that it's only a liturgical language.
If there are no dialects, then who maintains the uvular-pharyngeal distinction? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 23:04, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
Well I was using MSA more as an example of a language without native speakers. But why are liturgical languages out of the question? Also, perhaps one could argue that Oriental Hebrew is a seperate "dialect", but as far as I can tell there aren't differences in syntax, vocabulary, or morphology, so accent is probably better term for it. Mo-Al (talk) 00:13, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Arabic's situation is kind of complicated and if we didn't use MSA, the representation of the pronunciation of Arabic words would be undoable.
We tend to gloss over the dialect/accent distinction in these pronunciation guides. If there are regional varieties of Hebrew that differ from Israeli Hebrew and it's decided that we should be more fair about it, we should first attempt to create a single system that accomodates these dialectal/accent differences. What are the actual differences between Israeli Hebrew and this/these other variety(s)? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 00:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Keep in mind that these aren't regional varieties. "Oriental" and "non-Oriental" refer to the ethnic backgrounds of the people speaking the varieties, but there is effectively no geographic distinction between them nowadays. Anyway, up to my current understanding, the only differences are:
  1. Preservation of pharyngeals in Oriental Hebrew
  2. Realization of /r/
  3. Gemination (at least in careful speech)
  4. Rules for realization of shva as /e/
  5. Oriental Hebrew often having /e/ where non-Oriental has /ej/ (though I think this difference is starting to disappear)
I'm still not convinced that liturgical varieties of Hebrew aren't worthy of IPA standards, though I'll remove the info on Ashkenazi Hebrew from the article for now. Mo-Al (talk) 01:24, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I think we can have a single IPA system that accomodates all of those. Much like our WP:IPA for English attempts to accomodate several dialects, we can accomodate the different pronunciations. This system would
  1. Distinguish between /ħ, ʔ/ and /χ, ʔ/ even when Israeli speakers don't make such a distinction
  2. Have a single character used for the rhotic. I'd say /ʁ/ since it's more common.
  3. Possibly mark gemination when it occurs, though if it only occurs in careful speech we may not want to include it.
  4. (see below)
  5. Distinguish between /e/ and /ej/ as non-oriental Hebrew does.
I'm not sure about #4. What are the two different rules, exactly?— Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 02:03, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I agree with your suggestions, though I'm not sure about the frequency of gemination. Also, we wouldn't be marking where Oriental speakers are more likely to use /ej/ nowadays, but I think that's a very minor issue which would probably only merit a mention at Hebrew phonology.
The rules for realization of shva are relatively complicated, and the non-Oriental ones can be found here. (That article should probably mention the difference between the two varieties of Hebrew.) I believe that Oriental Hebrew preserves shva na more often than non-Oriental, but I'm not sure if they realize every instance of shva na or not. (My source is pp. 97-98 of the Handbook of the IPA.) Mo-Al (talk) 03:29, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Also, any manageable system to transcribe Modern Hebrew most definitely would not be able to accommodate liturgical and historical pronunciations. If you're interested in why, read the long, dull debate here and here. Mo-Al (talk) 03:42, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

I think that there is an issue about Modern Hebrew that is more profound than what is usually discussed. The oriental pronunciation, at least some very basic aspects of it, is instilled somewhere in the consciousness of all Israeli speakers, no matter of what background. Even people with no oriental background know the oriental pronunciations of ח and ע and also ר, and think of them somewhat as the "correct" ones, and sometimes if asked to repeat some word, or if they want to emphasize some word in a special way, they might at least somewhat pronounce the "correct" sounds, almost naturally, as it THESE are the real phonemes. Or for example when people sing or talk like in "radio talk" and pronounce the alveolar ר. I think these sounds are somewhat perceived to be the "correct" sounds almost like /h/ is perceived to be the correct/standard sound for ה although it is disappearing or has disappeared. I think it is hard to say that the different pronunciations are completely separated from each other. Ly362 (talk) 06:48, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Well, and maybe the real point is, that we are not talking here about different languages, nor about people that just pronounce Modern Israeli Hebrew with their native accent from another language, but about native Modern Israeli Hebrew speakers, people that this is their mother tongue and their accent, for both. The oriented ones I guess, only in previous generations mostly. I think. Ly362 (talk) 06:53, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

So then the pronunciations have aspects of both accents and sociolects, I suppose. Mo-Al (talk) 21:18, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
The comparison to ה is interesting. There doesn't seem to be anyone arguing that /h/ shouldn't be represented in Hebrew transcriptions in articles (except when dealing specifically with colloquial speech). So maybe that's an argument for using /ħ ʕ r/. On the other hand, /h/ seems much more common in careful speech, if I'm not mistaken. Mo-Al (talk) 21:21, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Well, yes, /h/ is still there. I do not know how to call it. I think from what I've learned so far, many people that deal with linguistics make relatively strict digital declarations, when the truth is somewhat more complicated or could be described in a more analogue way, but I'm not sure. I wouldn't say that ע ח ר are like ה. But I think that the phonemic perception is a little more complex than just what is the standard, cause, well, if you ask people to pronounce a word so you can learn it they would do it more or less in the standard pronunciation, and that would be correct, cause this is the pronunciation they try to make when they speak, although of course the realization of it would be different in fluent, but if you ask them again they might suddenly emphasize the differences between the letters and sound oriented. So maybe the best I can do is say, that the two pronunciations are not strictly separated. But maybe this is only a cultural tie, and not linguistic. But maybe all this is not relevant for the reasons you wanted to split the article for. Or actually, what is the purpose of such a page anyway?? At least if it the IPA symbols are not links. Ly362 (talk) 17:10, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand your question. Mo-Al (talk) 22:03, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
From what I understand this is a help page, that people get to when they click the link in a Hebrew article. What is this page supposed to give them? To just show them all the possible sounds of that language? To show them all the possible ways to write these sounds? If it is the first anyway, then shouldn't the IPA symbols be links to the explanation about the sounds? Ly362 (talk) 05:42, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
It's also a page to help editors in making the transcriptions. This is why we're trying to come to an agreement on how to transcribe Hebrew. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 06:40, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Hm, makes sense, although in that case, just basically logically it should have been sorted by the Hebrew letters, and which sounds can each one make. Ly362 (talk) 09:02, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
I weakly agree with you. This layout would be more useful to users trying to reconstruct the Hebrew from the transcription, but if a user needs help with IPA they might as well just learn the IPA elsewhere, and the Hebrew script should generally be provided in the article anyway. However I don't feel like investing the time in completely rearranging the page. Mo-Al (talk) 04:14, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Since all of the other "IPA for..." pages are in the alphabetical order of the IPA characters, there really isn't any reason to change the order. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 06:08, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
This is exactly what I was about to say. It's a general thing for all those pages, so no need to change. Ly362 (talk) 06:10, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

/ʁ/ vs. /r/[edit]

Clearly the majority of Israelis pronounce resh as [ʁ], but but choosing to represent it as /ʁ/ over /r/, are we giving unfair preferential treatment to non-Oriental Hebrew? Mo-Al (talk) 01:18, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

This is tricky. /r/ is often used when a language has only one rhotic, mostly for typographic reasons, but that may give the wrong impression. Our transcription of German and French use the uvular character. However, just as is the case with Hebrew, French and German dialects have a variety of rhotic pronunciations, including an alveolar trill. It really depends on the circumstances. If, for example, the relationship between uvular-rhotic'd Israeli and more oriental dialects is similar to that of French and German (oh, and Portuguese) in commonness, media representation, and/or prestige relationships, then I'd say we go with /ʁ/. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 05:35, 2 September 2009 (UTC)
In phonemic transcription we use /e/ and /o/ without the diacritics; if the purpose of this is simplifying typing and preferring more common characters for non-IPA-experts, then wouldn't the /r/ be a consistent choice? As would actually /x/ instead of /χ/? I suppose it's a matter of defining the degree of phonetic precision in phonemic transcription. Dan 00:41, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
Well I think the fear is that even if you're consistent you can be misleading (cf. the Ethiosemiticists’ conventional [q]=/k’/ leading people to mistakenly think Ethiosemitic languages have uvulars. similarly, using <x> might be misleading because, as far as I know, there isn't any group of native speakers who use [x] rather than [χ]. At least the use of <r> may be justified by the fact that a large number of Israelis use [r]. Mo-Al (talk) 01:43, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
The difference between /r/ and /ʁ/ is between two different characters whereas that between /e/ and /e̪/ is between use and absence of a diacritic. We use ʁ/ʀ for French, German, and Portuguese so I'm not sure what important difference there is between Israeli and these languages in this regard. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 04:19, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
I would vote for /ʁ/ then. [r] is common, but practically never among native speakers. Dan 16:12, 4 September 2009 (UTC)


Is נג really pronounced as [ŋ] by anyone (rather than [ŋg)? I'm not yet convinced that it shouldn't just be treated as the result of allophonic nasal assimilation. Mo-Al (talk) 22:11, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

I agree, but I think Israelis pronounce that foreign sound /ŋ/ as [nɡ] (a true [n]+[ɡ]). --Mahmudmasri (talk) 12:44, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
That's not very likely. Even Russians, who typically pronounce [n] + velar consonant as [nɡ] or [nk] pronounce a velar nasal in foreign words like англиский and банк. Do you have a source? — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 15:28, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
No. I said I think, because how would the regular speakers be able to pronounce such special sounds? For Egyptians, as well, we don't have the velar nasal and it is always realized by Egyptians as [n]+[ɡ] (for both of /ŋg/ and /ŋ/; also /ŋk/ is realized as [nk]). Only very proficient (English) speakers can pronounce the velar nasal. All strange foreign sounds are approximated. As a result, that's why it is supposed that ordinary Israelis won't be able to pronounce the velar nasal. I'm curious about the subject. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 17:11, 2 July 2011 (UTC)
While it's not an authoritative source, this shows even speakers of Arabic and Hebrew with very pronounced accents having no difficulty pronouncing a velar nasal, though some of them have trouble pronouncing it without a following [g]. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 14:30, 4 July 2011 (UTC)
Interesting website, although those speakers were very fluent speakers :) Actually, compared to the general knowledge and ability of Egyptians to speak English, the audio clip for that Egyptian was very fluent. Listen to Omar Seleman accent in that Youtube clip. It's an example on a typical Egyptian accent for English, even though I see it slightly more educated than a typical Egyptian accent for English. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 09:20, 5 July 2011 (UTC)
I agree with Mahmud here. From what I hear, it seems to me that when Israelis pronounce Hebrew words that contain ng (like Mango) they pronounce it as [ng]. TFighterPilot (talk) 00:17, 15 October 2011 (UTC)


Hey Mo-Al, the sound of "shva" is correct, but why did you add it as an additional one? This is a table that shows the different sounds that exist and then what signs represent them, it isn't a grammar guide. The sign "shva" should only be added as another sign that represents /e/. Unless you want to give a distinctive sound that is produced for "shva" in other dialects of Hebrew where it isn't /e/. Ly362 (talk) 06:14, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Yeah, it should be merged into the other row. I just wasn't sure how to indicate that shva only represents /e/ some of the time, and null the rest of the time. Mo-Al (talk) 21:13, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
You also don't indicate that סֵי and סֶי basically represent /e/. Or that /e/ is sometimes represented by them. Ly362 (talk) 05:48, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

Transliteration column[edit]

I think there is a problem with the "Trans" column. What is the purpose of this column? Whether Transliteration means the conversion of a language from one script to another in the way of character-to-character, or the general term for conversion from one script to another, you can't say this about the sounds/phones of the language. Representing the sounds is transcription. That's as far as the terminology concerns, but now, there is the issue of what is the system that is supposedly used in this column? Is it the "transliteration" from the Hebrew naming convention guideline? Hard to tell since there are signs missing, but if that is the case it is invalid if it is meant to refer to the sounds, since you can't say that you transliterate a specific sound (which can be represented by more than one letter). The IPA on the left is a valid phonetic/phonemic transcription. If the purpose of the "Trans" column is to give the transliteration of the Hebrew letters showed in the "Letter(s)" column, then it should give the transliteration of all the letters representing that sound. Ly362 (talk) 06:33, 3 September 2009 (UTC)

Given that this page is entitled "IPA for Hebrew", I'm not sure if the "Trans" column is appropriate. Perhaps we should just have a link to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (Hebrew). Mo-Al (talk) 21:15, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
I was under the impression that the trans. column indicated how the Hebrew character is commonly transcribed so people familiar with the transcription but not Hebrew or IPA could have another way of understanding our IPA key. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 22:16, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
Ah, that makes some sense, but should be indicated in the article. Mo-Al (talk) 01:44, 4 September 2009 (UTC)
That's exactly the reason Aeusoes1. - Epson291 (talk) 01:39, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

e̞ and o̞[edit]

In the Hebrew phonology article the Hebrew middle vowel phonemes are represented by /e/ and /o/, and then in the examples as the realization of these vowels it says [e̞] and [o̞], I'm not sure if the more critical page is there, or this page here, but I think that the phonemes are in first place /e̞/ and /o̞/. Is there a reason for not writing it clearly on the phonology article? But anyway, it should be written here I believe, and should be marked accordingly in articles such as about niqqud, where it would also be clearer that the Israeli sounds are not part of the Tiberian mid open mid close distinctions system. For now the on the niqqud article it said [ɛ] and [ɔ] for Israeli Hebrew, so I changed them to /e/ and /o/ according to this guide here. Although I'm not sure why the choice there of [] and not //. I also wonder about the real nature of /a/, but also about how much is it significant. Ly362 (talk) 09:58, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

/slashes/ indicate abstract phonemic representation and [brackets] are more phonetic representation. There isn't always a great deal of difference between them though Spanish has, for example, [β̞] as a conditional variant (an allophone) of /b/. As far as I know, the Hebrew mid vowels are [e̞] and [o̞], being somewhere between close-mid [e o] and open-mid [ɛ ɔ]. When deciding on which symbols to use for the abstract phonemic representation, it usually doesn't make sense to use diacritics and in this case, using either character is equally right. I'm guessing that literature usually chooses /e o/ over /ɛ ɔ/ for typographic reasons (this is how it's done for Spanish, anyway) so we can do the same here.
So, in short, we're trying to keep it simple. [a e i o u] are reasonably close to the actual phonetic values of Hebrew vowels. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɻɛ̃ⁿdˡi] 19:07, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, this is what I thought, and it also states so in the article about IPA. But then I thought that if you see the /phoneme/ and then right next to it an [example] you think that maybe there is something you missed. And I also wondered about seeing the Tiberian vs Israeli phonemes in the niqqud article, maybe it might imply that the Israeli vowels are on the mid close ones of the Tiberian. I know the meaning of // and [], that's why I ask why the niqqud article uses the [] and not the //, and if already the [] then why not the exact signs. But I see now that Dan added something interesting somewhere. Ly362 (talk) 19:16, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
The vowel chart in the article gives more exact placement of the vowels on the vowel trapezoid. But yes, keep in mind that phonemic transcriptions tend to ignore phonetic details which are non-contrastive, especially if they make things typographically messy. So for English phonemic transcriptions usually use /o/ rather than /ɐ͡ʊ/, even though the latter would basically be more faithful to the most common realization of the phoneme. Mo-Al (talk) 04:11, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Hm... the most common I would think /oʊ/... Ly362 (talk) 06:07, 6 September 2009 (UTC)
Firstly, that should be in square brackets ([oʊ]), and secondly, I'm pretty sure that the nucleus of that diphthong is unrounded for many (if not most) American English speakers. But that's beside the point. Mo-Al (talk) 08:39, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

Oriental ħ and ʕ[edit]

First of all, there is an error in the Notes 1, it should say "ʕ". But anyway, I believe that today most oriented people in Israel in fact pronounce both ח and כ as /ħ/, they don't differentiate either, just pick this sound, and have no /χ/. I also was informed it's the same about ע and א, being both pronounced /ʕ/, but I haven't heard it myself. Maybe all this adds something to the split suggestion. Ly362 (talk) 05:51, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

  1. Typo fixed
  2. I don't believe you. Listen for yourself: [2] (go to Narrative/Oriental-Hebrew/11-oriental-narrative.wav, which has examples of all of /ʔ ʕ χ ħ/). Mo-Al (talk) 05:55, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
No problem, this is just one speaker, I think this is only one kind. I believe at least part of the oriented speakers do speak like I said. Ly362 (talk) 08:27, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
You'd have to show me a reliable source, because I've never seen this mentioned anywhere. I could believe that speakers who grew up with the standard non-Oriental pronunciation might do this in hypercorrection when trying to imitate Oriental speakers though. Mo-Al (talk) 16:34, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Yes, true about the imitation. I hope I'll find some reliable source. Right now I can say that I remember hearing oriental singers sing this way, and I think that also people who speak this way, and I remember thinking that this is the most of them. I'm pretty sure that it at least exists, I'm not sure the recordings you gave are such good examples though, they are pretty much trying to speak "correctly", including the non oriental guy, with the ḥiṭṭup (hituf?) and other things he pronounces. Ly362 (talk) 18:08, 7 September 2009 (UTC)
Reliable source: Prof. Asher Laufer's Chapters in Phonetics and Phonetic Transcription, Jerusalem 2008. According to this book, pages 253-254, in common Israeli pronunciation both ח and כ are χ and both ע and א are ʔ.
The oriental pronunciation is /ħ χ ʕ ʔ/. It is rather hard to find someone who speaks like this consistently and spontaneously. People sometimes intentionally pronounce ħ and ʕ emphatically, to differentiate between words which would otherwise be homophonous. If you're curious, send me an email and i'll send you a cute recording to demonstrate it.
I do believe, however, that for description of morphology it is often handy to keep ħ/χ and ʕ/ʔ separated, unless the transcription specifically refers to the common Israeli pronunciation. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 15:57, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Transcription of ק[edit]

The page seems to neglect mentioning the proper transcription of qof

Fight26club (talk) 05:54, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 15:41, 9 April 2010 (UTC)


The IPA gemination sign ː is problematic for marking double consonants in Hebrew. When a consonant is geminated, it usually belongs to two syllables, the second of which is often accented, for example גַּנָּב [ganˈnav] a thief as opposed to גָּנַב [gaˈnav] he stole. It isn't correct to transcribe גַּנָּב as [gaˈnːav]. (In modern colloquial Hebrew both words are pronounced [gaˈnav], but marking gemination is useful for writing about grammar.)

The ː sign can, however, be used for marking long vowels, for example in Tiberian Hebrew. (Which, if any, vowels were long in Tiberian Hebrew is another issue.) --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 11:01, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Makes sense to me. — Ƶ§œš¹ [aɪm ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɛ̃ɾ̃ˡi] 19:10, 10 April 2010 (UTC)

Recent changes (late 2014)[edit]

@WillRock41: Are you sure your recent changes regarding vowels and diphthongs, reflect the modern pronunciation of Standard Hebrew in Israel? The help article is for Modern Israeli Hebrew which is the only daily spoken form of Hebrew. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 16:16, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

I think all his recent edits have to be reverted. They have clearly wrong information about consonants, such as the [β] claim. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 14:14, 3 January 2015 (UTC)

1.Not all the articles are about consonants
2.I am a native Hebrew speaker
3.According to Solomon Pereira, 'Hochmat Shelomo book, Many Sephardi Jews pronounce ב as [β], though this is declining under the influence of Israeli Hebrew. (WillRock41 (talk) 16:36, 7 January 2015 (UTC))
No comment? (WillRock41 (talk) 18:03, 10 January 2015 (UTC))
I wrote that the intended pronunciations are the standard Israeli, but your edits claimed that pronunciations such as (and not only) [β] were standard, but at that table, the Sephardi pronunciation is already elaborated. All spoken languages have different accents which may not be generally accepted as standard, even Egyptian Arabic, but the Egyptian Arabic phonology deals with its standard/prestigious accent. --Mahmudmasri (talk) 18:56, 21 January 2015 (UTC)