[5b] 2. The Alphabet consists, like all Semitic alphabets, solely of consonants, twenty-two in number, some of which, however, have also a kind of vocalic power (§7b). The following Table shows their form, names, pronunciation, and numerical value (see k):—
|א||ʾĀlĕph||ʾ spiritus lenis|
|ב||Bêth||b (bh, but see §6n)|
|ג||Gimĕl (Giml)||g (gh, but see §6n)|
|ד||Dālĕth||d (dh, but see §6n)|
|ו||Wāw (Wāu)||w (u)|
|ז||Záyĭn||z, as in English (soft s)|
|ח||Ḥêth||ḥ, a strong guttural|
|ט||Ṭêth||ṭ, emphatic t|
|כ, final ך||Kaph||k (kh, but see §6n)|
|מ, final ם||Mêm||m|
|נ, final ן||Nûn||n|
|ע||ʿÁyĭn||ʿ a peculiar guttural (see below)|
|פ, final ף||Pê||p (f, see §6n)|
|צ, final ץ||Ṣādê||ṣ, emphatic s|
|ק||Qôf||q, a strong k formed at the back of the palate|
|שׁ||Šîn||š, pronounced sh|
|ת||Tāw (Tāu)||t (th, buy see §6n)|
- Philippi, ‘Die Aussprache der semit. Consonanten ו und י,’ in ZDMG. 1886, p. 639 ff., 1897, p. 66 ff., adduces reasons in detail for the opinion that ‘the Semitic ו and י are certainly by usage consonants, although by nature they are vowels, viz. u and i, and consequently are consonantal vowels’; cf. §8m.
- As a representation of this sound the Latin q is very suitable, since it occupies in the alphabet the place of the Semitic ק (Greek κόππα).
- Nestle (Actes du onzième Congrès... des Orientalistes, 1897, iv. 113 ff.) has shown that the original order was שׁ, שׂ.