Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar/11. Other Signs which affect the Reading
Very closely connected with the vowel points are the reading-signs, which were probably introduced at the same time. Besides the diacritical point over שׂ and שׁ, a point is placed within a consonant to show that it has a stronger sound. On the other hand a horizontal stroke (Rāphè) over a consonant is a sign that it has not the stronger sound. According to the different purposes for which it is used the point is either (1) Dageš forte, a sign of strengthening (§ 12); or (2) Dageš lene, a sign of the harder pronunciation of certain consonants (§ 13); or (3) Mappîq, a sign to bring out the full consonantal value of letters which otherwise serve as vowel letters (§ 7 b), especially in the case of ה at the end of the word (§ 14 a). The Rāphè, which excludes the insertion of any of these points, has almost entirely gone out of use in our printed texts (§ 14 e).