HE

ה

VOICELESS GLOTTAL FRICATIVE [h]

Tiberian Hebrew he is pronounced similarly to English "h". Note, however, that at the end of the syllable, pronouncing an "h" sound is not very typical in English. This is what is intended when he is written with a shewa under it following a vowel (i.e., הְ). You may have to work a bit harder to pronounce "h" at the end of a syllable. Because of this, even the Tiberians sometimes inserted a helping vowel so the "h" was not at the absolute end of a syllable.

[h]

ה

Hidayat al-Qari

The letters אהחע have a single place of articulation. This is the throat and the root of the tongue. The Tiberians call it the ‘root of the tongue’ and the ‘place of swallowing’. This is the first place of articulation in the mouth. For this reason they are the lightest letters, as a group or individually.

Translation from Khan (TPTBH II.L.1.3.2)

EXAMPLE WORDS:

יֶהֱמוּ

[jεːhεˈmuː]

יֶהְגֶּה

[jεhˈgεː]

אֱלֹהִים

[ʔεloːˈhiːim]

הַבַּיִת

[habˈbaːjiθ]

WORD-FINAL VOICELESS GLOTTAL FRICATIVE [h#]

When he is written at the end of a word, it typically marks a vowel (e.g., [aː] or [ɔː]). However, when it is written with a dot inside, i.e., mappeq/mappiq, this is an indication that it should be pronounced as consonant closing the syllable. The mappeq/mappiq is not to be confused with dagesh, which actually indicates that a letter should be held for extra length. In some manuscripts, mappeq/mappiq is sometimes even marked on he in the middle of a word. In such cases, he should be pronounced just like he with shewa closing a syllable (see above). Note, however, that when word-internal he is written without a shewa or a mappeq/mappiq, it should not be pronounced (as in פְּדָהצֽוּר).

[h#]

הּ

Hidayat al-Qari

As for he, this is not pronounced at the end of a word unless it has a dot in it. This is is not called dagesh but rather ‘appearance’. Do you not see that if a dot appears in it, (it is) at the end of a word, as in אֲהָ֣הּ ‘Oh!’ (Josh. 7.7), מַחֲצִיתָ֣הּ ‘half of it’ (Lev. 6.13). It may occur in the middle of a word and be pronounced in the way that it is pronounced when it has a dot in it, as in תַּהְכְּרוּ־לִֽי ‘you wrong me’ (Job 19.3), מַהְבִּלִ֥ים ‘filling with vain hopes’ (Jer. 23.16), וְהַֽהַרְאֵ֖ל ‘and the altar hearth’ (Ezek. 43.15). So it is clear to you that this (dot) denotes appearance and is not dagesh, for dagesh is a strengthening that occurs in the letter after the articulation of its property: מֶלֶךְ ‘king’, מַלּֽוּךְ ‘Malluch’ (1 Chron. 6.29), הֶרְאֲךָ֙ ֙ ‘He made you see’ (Deut. 4.36), הַרְּאִיתֶם֙ ‘Have you seen?’ (1 Sam. 10.24). It is clear, therefore, from this that the dot in he is to indicate the appearance of the property (of the letter) and not for making it heavy.

Translation from Khan (TPTBH II.L.1.3.4)

EXAMPLE WORDS:

פְּדָהצֽוּר

[pʰaðɔːˈsˁuːurˁ]

פְּדַֿהְּאֵ֖ל

[pʰaðahˈʔeːel]

מַחֲצִיתָ֣הּ

[maːħasˁiːˈθɔːɔh]

לָהּ

[lɔːɔh]

SOURCES AND FURTHER READING

Khan, Geoffrey. 2020. The Tiberian Pronunciation Tradition of Biblical Hebrew. Cambridge: Cambridge and Open Book Publishers. §I.1.5.

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