From: Ted Hopp (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Jul 31 2003 - 17:28:04 EDT
On Thursday, July 31, 2003 4:58 PM, John Hudson wrote:
> At 01:18 PM 7/31/2003, Ted Hopp wrote:
> >There are exactly two Hebrew vowels that are spacing glyphs: holam male
> >shuruq. Neither one is encoded in Unicode. Neither one is a Hebrew letter
> >(in the traditional sense) nor is either a combining mark. I thought some
> >new nomenclature was in order. Since there are general category Lo code
> >points with names like LAO VOWEL SIGN AA [0EB0], I went with that. (Maybe
> >shouldn't have dropped the "SIGN".)
> >It seems wrong to be calling a base character a HEBREW MARK. It also
> >little odd to be calling a Hebrew vowel a HEBREW LETTER when every other
> >HEBREW LETTER is a consonant. But if that's what convention requires....
> Weingreen, _A practical grammar for classical Hebrew_ (2nd ed., Oxford,
> 1959, pp.6-7) records yod, vav and he sometimes being used for common
> prior to the development of the point system, in addition to their usual
> consonantal role:
> he = short a
> yod = short e and short i
> vav = short u and short o
> Weingreen uses the term 'vowel-letters'.
> My Hebrew knowledge is nowhere near good enough to judge the accuracy of
> Weingreen's explanation nor terminology on this issue.
Yes, I did overstate things a bit there.
Weingreen is right, but "vowel-letters" isn't standard terminology that I
know of. Those vowel-letters continue to be used even with pointing. Today,
the combination of a hiriq followed by a yod (with no vowel) is called a
hiriq male; a tsere-yod is called tsere male. Vav as a short u is called
shuruq and as a short o is called holam male. There's no special name that I
know of for a patah-he combination used for a short a (which only occurs at
the end of a word, by the way). I believe alef and possibly ayin are also
sometimes used to indicate vowels in unpointed Hebrew (certainly in
The only one that brings typographic problems is holam male. I suppose one
could think of hiriq-yod, tsere-yod, and patah-he as individual vowels that
are both combining and spacing glyphs. I wasn't, though.
Ted Hopp, Ph.D.
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