Aleph-Bet Lesson 5 — ד ר י

Welcome to the fifth lesson of the Hebrew alphabet! In this lesson we will do some reviewing, and you will learn three important letters: ד, ר and י.



We've been through 4 lessons and we've learned quite a bit since we started. Let's look at the letters we learned:



א Aleph: makes the "a" sound, makes the glottal stop (’) or simply indicates the word starts with a vowel.

בּ ב Bet: makes the "b" sound. When there is no dot, it makes the "v" sound.

ה He: makes the "h" sound. When at the end of a word it makes the "a" sound.

ו Vav(Waw): makes the "v", "o" and "u" sounds.

ל Lamed: makes the "l" sound.

מ ם Mem: makes the "m" sound. Changes form when at the end of a word.

נ ן Nun: makes the "n" sound. Changes form when at the end of a word.

שׁ שׂ Shin: makes the "sh" sound when the dot is on the right; when it's on the left, it makes the "s" sound.

ת Tav: makes the "t" sound.



But we have also learned the [optional] vowel markers that go with them:

בְּ Shva: marks the end of a syllable or makes the "ə" sound.

בַּ Pataħ: makes the "a" sound.

בָּ Qamats: makes the "a" sound.

בֵּ Tsere: makes the "e" sound.

בֶּ Segol: makes the "e" sound.

בִּ Ħiriq: makes the "i" sound.

וֹ Ħolam: makes the "o" sound.

וּ Shuruq: makes the "u" sound.

Now we have all the sounds, but not all the symbols. All vowels (except for "i") are marked by more than one symbol, with the most being "a" with 4 different ways to represent it (so far we've learned two). Don't be intimidated by this, though, because the rest of the symbols are based on the ones we've already learned (save the one we are going to learn this lesson).

New Letters




ד The fourth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Dalet. It makes the "d" sound (IPA: /d/, "d" as in "dog").



ר The twentieth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Resh. Pronunciation varies, but the standard Israeli pronunciation is a sound called "voiced uvular fricative" (IPA: /ʁ/, "r" as in German "Frau", in French "français").

י The tenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is Yod. It makes the "y" sound (IPA: /j/, "y" as in "yard"). Like Aleph and Vav, when preceded by a consonant marked with the "i" vowel, it makes the "i" sound. It is the only letter in the Hebrew alphabet that does not reach the bottom border of the letters (it "floats").

New Vowels


As you might have noticed in the previous lesson and in the exercises, the shuruq can only be placed on a Vav, otherwise it would be the same dot that distinguishes Bet from Vet (it's called dagesh, "emphasis"). So what if there is an "u" sound but no Vav? There is a symbol for that purpose.



בֻּ The qubuts is the three diagonal dots under the Bet.

It produces the "u" sound (IPA: /u/, "u" as in "flu").



This time vocabulary more related to the culture that comes with Hebrew:
תּוֹדָה todah thank you (feminine, singular)
מַיִם mayim water (masculine, plural [no sing.])
דּוֹד dod uncle, friend, beloved, one of the names of God (masculine, singular)
יִשְׂרָאֵל yisra’el Israel
יְרוּשָׁלַיִם yerushalayim Jerusalem
יְהוּדִי yehudi Jew (masculine, singular)
בַּיִת bayit house, home (masculine, singular)
דָּם dam blood (masculine, singular)

Have you noticed that in Jerusalem and Jew, the letter יְ is pronounced as "ye"? This is an example where Shva is pronounced as "ə". That's because the Yod is in the beginning of a syllable.



In this lesson, you have learned:

  • The letters ד, ר and י.
  • The niqqud symbol qubuts (ֻ).
  • The words תּוֹדָה, מַיִם, דּוֹד, יִשְׁרָאֵל, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, יְהוּדִי, בַּיִת and דָּם.

Practice what you've learned in the exercises.

Next lesson: Aleph-Bet 6 >>>

  Lessons on the
Hebrew Aleph-Bet
  1 א בּ תE
  2 ב ה נןE
  3 מם שׁשׂE
  4 ל וE
  5 ד ר יE
  6 ג ז חE
  7 ט ככּך E
  8 ס קE
  9 ע פפּףE
  10 צץE
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