Re: Back to Hebrew -holem-waw vs waw-holem

From: Jony Rosenne (
Date: Tue Jul 29 2003 - 19:27:01 EDT

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    Fine, so we need a separate Unicode for each usage of gh in English.


    > -----Original Message-----
    > From:
    > [] On Behalf Of Ted Hopp
    > Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 8:20 PM
    > To:
    > Subject: SPAM: Re: Back to Hebrew -holem-waw vs waw-holem
    > Okay -- there are two Hebrew vowels that are not encoded in
    > Unicode. Their
    > (transliterated) Hebrew names are (caps indicate syllable
    > accent): khoLAM maLE and shuRUQ. The kholam male LOOKS like a
    > "vav with holam" [05D5.05B9] or the alphabetic presentation
    > form FB4B (HEBREW LETTER VAV WITH HOLAM) and the shuruq LOOKS
    > like a vav with dagesh [05D5.05BC] or the alphabetic
    > presentation form FB35 (HEBREW LETTER VAV WITH DAGESH). (For
    > the record, the Unicode HEBREW POINT HOLAM [05B9] is usually
    > called khoLAM khaSER in
    > Hebrew.)
    > The two vowels kholam male and shuruq have nothing to do with
    > the consonant vav (HEBREW LETTER VAV) other than that they
    > are written with the same glyph. In unpointed Hebrew text,
    > the vav glyph is used to represent these vowels but, outside
    > of ketiv male, the use is often optional (although sometimes
    > strictly determined by tradition). (For instance, the name
    > Aharon appears in Hebrew bible scrolls sometimes with a vav
    > glyph after the resh and sometimes without. It would be nice
    > if I could search for all occurrences of the name by doing a
    > "match consonants only" search instead of having to resort to
    > regular expressions.) In some texts (e.g., many of the books
    > published by ArtScroll), the kholam male and vav with kholam
    > are rendered differently--the former with the dot centered
    > above the vav and latter with the dot somewhat more to the
    > left. I have not seen a text that renders a shuruq
    > differently than a vav with dagesh. (However, a dagesh has
    > nothing to do with a shuruq, despite the nice little note in
    > the Unicode code chart. A consonantal vav with a dagesh is
    > NOT a shuruq.)
    > Furthermore, context cannot be used to distinguish vav with
    > kholam vs. kholam male. As I posted once before, at least one
    > major dictionary uses a single consonant with both a patah
    > and a kholam male (NOT a consonantal vav with kholam) to
    > transliterate foreign words. Hebrew characters are used for
    > much more than spelling Hebrew words.
    > These different uses for the same (or approximately same)
    > glyphs cannot, as far as I know, be distinguished in Unicode.
    > (Putting a HEBREW POINT HOLAM in front of a HEBREW LETTER VAV
    > would just associate the kholam with the preceding letter.)
    > It might be nice if there were different code points for
    > them. Alphabetic presentation forms don't quite do the trick.
    > When I first saw it, I had assumed that FB4B was supposed to
    > be used for kholam male (and that's what we use it for in our
    > code). Of course, I could have assumed that it was intended
    > for (consonantal) vav with kholam. However, that sequence
    > automatically renders with the dot more to the left, so (for
    > us) a presentation form was unnecessary in that case. Will
    > all font designers who include Hebrew alphabetic presentation
    > forms conform to my assumptions? Can anyone authoritatively
    > say what was intended? I don't think so. This is a problem.
    > Other typographic curiosities: The HEBREW POINT QAMATS [05B8]
    > is used for two Hebrew vowels: qamats katan (pronounced in
    > Israeli Hebrew like the 'o' in American English 'corn', as is
    > kholam male) and qamats gadol (pronounced like 'a' in
    > American English 'father', as is patah when not under a final
    > HE, HET, or AYIN). Dictionaries usually list the two as
    > separate vowels but render them identically. HOWEVER, some
    > text publishers now distinguish these two vowels
    > typographically (e.g., Revised Siddur Sim Shalom published by
    > the Rabbinical Assembly). Perhaps there should be an
    > alphabetic presentation form for qamats katan.
    > The same comment goes for HEBREW POINT SHEVA [05B0]: in
    > pronunciation it comes in two flavors, called sheva na
    > ("moving sheva" -- pronounced something like the vowel segol)
    > and sheva nakh ("resting sheva" -- silent). Again, most
    > dictionaries list these as separate vowels but render them
    > identically, while some publishers now distinguish them
    > typographically (e.g., Tikkun Korim Simanim, published by
    > Feldheim). Again, should there be an alphabetic presentation
    > form for sheva na?
    > With that, I'll leave off.
    > Ted (not content with a focussed discussion)
    > Ted Hopp, Ph.D.
    > ZigZag, Inc.
    > +1-301-990-7453
    > newSLATE is your personal learning workspace
    > ...on the web at

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