Photo by: Itamar Grinberg, Cheese Boutique Galilee Photo by: Itamar Grinberg, Cheese Boutique Galilee Courtesy of Israeli Ministry of Tourism

O, U, or W (V) - Cholam

Hebrew Words Beginning With a Aleph Or u Cholam (gutteral: cho-lam); O Or U In English, But The Cholam Also Serves As W (V) 

ihinmuoomenitee (oo-meni-tee) – destine, as used in Isaiah 65:11.

rua - or – light

On a side note in the middle of this endeavor we see the Aleph representing another vowel sound in Hebrew, though it is not actually part of the vowel.

The Cholam is quite unique in that it represents the O, U, V, and W (WAW) sounds in ancient Hebrew. In contemporary Hebrew the Waw has become a "Vav" derived from Yiddish slang. I will attempt to explain these uses with as little pain as possible.

In ancient Hebrew the use of the Cholam is understood within context of the other letters within a word, and whether it is placed in the middle of a word or at the beginning of a word. It's rendering can also be dependent on the other words within a sentence. This is still practiced extensively within contemporary secular Jewish society without vowel pointers.

In the Masoretic text the Cholam is given vowel pointers to determine the sound. If a dot appears above the u it is the oh sound. But the superscript dot can appear by itself and give the same oh sound.

If a dot appears in front it, it becomes a Shuruk with a oo (as in boo) sound. Notice that the first word above begins with the oo sound - oomenitee. Some call this the U sound, and the English vocalization can come out that way, but it really is the "oo" sound in ancient Hebrew.

When the u appears at the beginning of a word it can be the "oo" sound, the ancient Waw sound, or a Vav in contemporary Judaism. Aside from "oo" it can be read as either w'et ha'aretz or v'et ha'aretz. When it is the "Waw" or "Vav" it means, "and", "of", "or", "also", within context of the sentence when appearing at the beginning of a word.

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Wednesday, 09 September 2015 00:00
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