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There is only one official ‘silent’ letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the ALEPH. However, in modern-day Israel, the AYIN is regarded as silent by many. The letter HEI is sometimes silent as well.
The ALEPH – א
English words may begin with a vowel (as, in, are). Not so Hebrew. The one exception is the conjunction ‘VAV’ – as in UGA U’GLIDA, cake, and ice cream. (Normally, the symbol for the vowel ‘U’ in Hebrew is a ‘VAV’ with a dot in its belly.)
When Hebrew words begin with the sound of a vowel, like ADAM, the silent ALEPH is there to hold the vowel. When the ALEPH does not hold a vowel, it is silent. For example, ALEPH BET ALEPH (אבא) spells ABBA (father). The first ALEPH holds the vowel ‘aa,’ the second is silent.
The AYIN – ע
The AYIN is not officially a silent letter; it has a sound. However, most Ashkenazi Jews and a growing number of Sephardi Jews treat the AYIN as they do the ALEPH.
And then there is the Hei.
The Letter HEI – ה
The HEI sounds like ‘h’ in honey. The HEI without a vowel at the end of a word is silent. For example, A-HA-VA (הבהא), love, spelled ALEPH HEI VET HEI; the first HEI sound is HA while the second HEI at the end of the word is silent.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE!
Coming soon, the Hebrew alphabet, one letter at a time!
Each of the Hebrew letters has a story to tell.
But first, so you have a more comprehensive picture, a bit more about the alphabet.
GET ALL SIX ‘A Taste of HEBREW’ books for Kids
1. Hebrew Alphabet – http://amzn.to/2gkfU4U
2. Count in Hebrew – http://amzn.to/2gkhDr3
3. Colors in Hebrew – http://amzn.to/2fvCObN
4. Animals in Hebrew – http://amzn.to/2fsHqMy
5. Fruits in Hebrew – http://amzn.to/2f6SWBW
6. Opposites in Hebrew – http://amzn.to/2sL1VMA
MazorBooks also offers two Hebrew Alphabet workbooks:
1. Color the Aleph-Bet (ages 3-6) – http://amzn.to/2t3Z2FB
2. The Hebrew Alphabet: Read, Write & Color (ages 6 & up) – http://amzn.to/2mJR6G5
Check out http://www.MazorBooks.com/hebrew.htm for more information