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Writing Hebrew Alphabet

How do you write the Hebrew alphabet?

Hebrew is totally different from English, Spanish or French. It’s a Semitic language rather than a Latin one, it’s written from right to left, not left to right and the letters are totally different to what you’re used to. When we add to this the fact that there are two forms of Hebrew writing, one used for printed materials (block characters) and the other for written (cursive) learning how to write the individual letters may seem a daunting task. But every language has its peculiarities, all you need is perseverance and practice and you’ll soon be writing in Hebrew.

The Alphabet (or Aleph-Bet)

This table shows all of the Hebrew characters in their Block and cursive format:

Name

Alef

Bet

Gimel

Dalet

He

Vav

Zayin

Chet

Tet

Yod

Block

א

ב

ג

ד

ה

ו

ז

ח

ט

י

Cursive

א

ב

ג

ד

ה

ו

ז

ח

ט

י

Name

Kaf

Final Kaf

Lamed

Mem

Final Mem

Nun

Final Nun

Samech

Ayin

Pe

Block

כ

ך

ל

מ

ם

נ

ן

ס

ע

פ

Cursive

כ

ך

ל

מ

ם

נ

ן

ס

ע

פ

Name

Final Pe

Tsadik

Final Tsadik

Kof

Resh

Shin

Taf

Block

ף

צ

ץ

ק

ר

ש

ת

Cursive

ף

צ

ץ

ק

ר

ש

ת


In Hebrew, each letter (both block and cursive) is written in a specific direction. This is not arbitary but rather assists in the physical process of forming the letters, making the formation of letters, words and sentances physically easier and visually cleaner and clearer.. The picture below shows how Hebrew block characters are formed (Iowa University).

 

However, whilst it is most probably preferable that students learning Hebrew should, if possible learn the correct way of forming and writing the letters, many develop their own methods based on their native writing habits and the fact that the vast majority of students are used to writing from left to right. Since the ultimate objective of writing is to produce a piece of written text that is visually clear and understandable to the reader, the direction in which each letter is formed is, perhaps, less relevant.

“Joined” script

Handwriting using joined letters to form a word as in English does not really exist in Hebrew where all letters, block and cursive, are written separately. However, in modern written Hebrew (cursive) many people have developed a “joined” writing technique in which letters that can be joined together to shorten the writing process whilst maintaining readability are used. There are no hard and fast rules defining which letters and forms may be used, it is primarily an issue of individual choice.

Writing is an essential part of understanding and fully using a language. Writing allows us to express our thoughts, pass on ideas, knowledge. It, along with the ability to read and converse in Hebrew, enables us to be part of the Hebrew culture.

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