|Phonemic representation||r (ɾ, ʁ, ʀ)|
|Position in alphabet||20|
|Alphabetic derivatives of the Phoenician|
Resh is the twentieth letter of the Semitic abjads, including Phoenician Rēsh , Hebrew Rēsh ר, Aramaic Rēsh , Syriac Rēsh ܪ, and Arabic Rāʾ ر. Its sound value is one of a number of rhotic consonants: usually [r] or [ɾ], but also [ʁ] or [ʀ] in Hebrew.
In most Semitic alphabets, the letter resh (and its equivalents) is quite similar to the letter dalet (and its equivalents). In the Syriac alphabet, the letters became so similar that now they are only distinguished by a dot: resh has a dot above the letter, and the otherwise identical dalet has a dot below the letter. In the Arabic alphabet, rāʼ has a longer tail than dāl. In the Aramaic and Hebrew square alphabet, resh is a rounded single stroke while dalet is a right-angle of two strokes. The similarity led to the variant spellings of the name Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar.
The word resh is usually assumed to have come from a pictogram of a head, ultimately reflecting Proto-Semitic *raʾ(i)š-. The word's East Semitic cognate, rēš-, was one possible phonetic reading of the Sumerian cuneiform sign for "head" (SAG 𒊕, ) in Akkadian.
The letter is named rāʾ/"rāy"/"rays" راء in Arabic. It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:
|Position in word:||Isolated||Final||Medial||Initial|
The Unicode standard for Arabic scripts also lists a variant with a full stroke (Unicode character 0x075b: ݛ), suggesting that this form is used in certain Northern and Western African languages and some dialects in Pakistan.
|Various print fonts||Cursive
Hebrew spelling: רֵישׁ
In Hebrew, Resh represents a rhotic consonant that has different realizations for different dialects:
- In modern Hebrew: A voiced uvular fricative [ʁ], which is also the most common Resh pronunciation in Hebrew.
- In Ashkenazi pronunciations: Sometimes a uvular trill [ʀ] or alveolar trill [r]. Among English speakers, sometimes an alveolar approximant [ɹ] as in English.
- In Sephardic and Mizrahi pronunciations: Either an alveolar trill [r] or tap [ɾ].
Resh, along with Ayin, Aleph, Hei, and Het, is one of the letters that does not receive a dagesh by convention. In the Yemenite tradition, Resh is treated as most other consonants in that it can receive a dagesh hazak under certain circumstances. And in the most widely accepted version of the Hebrew Bible, there exist 17 cases where Resh is marked with a dagesh.
Resh in gematria represents the number 200.
As an abbreviation
Resh is used in an Israeli phrase; after a child will say something false, one might say "B'Shin Quf, Resh" (With Shin, Quf, Resh). These letters spell Sheqer, which is the Hebrew word for a lie. It would be akin to an English speaker saying "That's a L-I-E."
|Unicode name||HEBREW LETTER RESH||ARABIC LETTER RA||SYRIAC LETTER RISH||SAMARITAN LETTER RISH|
|UTF-8||215 168||D7 A8||216 177||D8 B1||220 170||DC AA||224 160 147||E0 A0 93|
|Numeric character reference||ר||ר||ر||ر||ܪ||ܪ||ࠓ||ࠓ|
|Unicode name||UGARITIC LETTER RASHA||IMPERIAL ARAMAIC LETTER RESH||PHOENICIAN LETTER ROSH|
|UTF-8||240 144 142 151||F0 90 8E 97||240 144 161 147||F0 90 A1 93||240 144 164 147||F0 90 A4 93|
|UTF-16||55296 57239||D800 DF97||55298 56403||D802 DC53||55298 56595||D802 DD13|
|Numeric character reference||𐎗||𐎗||𐡓||𐡓||𐤓||𐤓|
- Allen, Julie D.; Anderson, Deborah; et al. (eds.). The Unicode Standard, Version 6.2 (PDF). Unicode Consortium. p. 265.
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