There are times when all the rules you just learned get thrown out the window. It will make it seem like Hebrew is impossible! Don’t worry because…
- These things are odd for a reason. They don’t happen that often!
- Sometimes these odd changes make the vowels sound slightly different, or puts the emphasis in a different part of a word, but if you “mispronounce” the word no one will notice
- Sometimes changes show up and change nothing, but can trick you
We are going to learn a few of these things for future reference.
Every now and then you’ll see these odd symbols surrounding texts from the Torah that are not vowels. These are called trope symbols. They are like musical symbols. They tell the person chanting the Torah what musical sounds to make.
We circled them in yellow.
You do not need to know these. But if you’re interested, this is a good place to learn them.
The Odd Vowels
When the last letter of a word is a hey (ה) and the vowel underneath it is a חַ the sound changes from ACH to CHA. Just take the little “ah” sound and move it over a letter. For example:
It looks like it should be pronounced “ROO-CHA”. But it is actually “ROO-ACH”, the Hebrew word for spirit.
BeGeD KeFeT and the Gutturals
BeGeD KeFeT and Gutturals are memory tools to remember some other funky changes in Hebrew grammar and spelling. If they come up in your Torah portion, you may want to learn them. But for now, we’ll just leave it alone.
Review all your Hebrew units up to this point.