The 22 Hebrew Letters
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Hebrew and Yiddish

The following romanization table attempts to represent the sound of Hebrew or Yiddish words but is applicable to all Hebraic languages. For Hebrew, it approximates the modern Israeli, primarily Sephardic, pronunciation. For Yiddish, the table follows the standardized, principally Lithuanian, pronunciation. In romanizing Yiddish, the etymology of the word is ignored.

Consonants

Vernacular Romanization Numerical Value Vernacular Romanization Numerical Value
א  ? (alif) or disregarded 1 ל l 30
בּ b 2 מ (final ם ) m 40
ב v (in Yiddish, b) 2 נ (final ן ) n 50
ג g 3 ס s 60
ד d 4 ע  ` (ayn) 70
ה h 5 פּ (final ףּ ) p 80
ו v (only if a consonant) 6 פ (final ף ) f 80
וו v (only if a consonant) 12 צ (final ץ ) ts 90
ז z 7 ק k 100
ח h 8 ר r 200
ט t 9 ש sh 300
י y (only if a consonant) 10 שֹ s 300
כּ (final ךּ ) k 20 תּ t 400
כ (final ך ) kh 20 ת t (in Yiddish, s) 400

Vowels

In Hebrew Romanization In Yiddish Romanization
ַ a א a or o
ָ a or o ו, או u
ֶ e וי, אוי oy
ֵ e י, אי i
ִ i ע e
ֹ o יי, איי ay (if pronounced ai as in aisle, or)
ֻ u יי, איי ey (if pronounced ei as in weigh)

י ֶ 

e    
י ַ ai    
י ֵ e    
י ִ i    
וֹ o    
וּ u    
ְ e or disregard    
ֲ a    
ֱ e    
ֳ o    

A single prime ( ' ) is placed between two letters representing two distinct consonantal sounds when the combination might otherwise be read as a digraph.

his'hid          הסהיד

RULES OF APPLICATION

In romanizing Hebrew, it is often necessary to consult dictionaries and other sources as an appendage to the romanization table presented here, primarily for the purpose of supplying vowels. The principle dictionary used is ha-Milon he-hadash (Jerusalem: Kiryat-sefer, 1966-1970) by Avraham Even-Shoshan. More detailed instructions on Romanization of Hebrew and Yiddish, including cataloging guidelines, can be found in Hebraica Cataloging (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, Cataloging Distribution Service, 1987) by Paul Maher.

SPECIAL CHARACTERS AND CHARACTER MODIFIERS IN ROMANIZATION

Special Characters Name USMARC hexadecimal code
' soft sign (prime) A7
´ alif AE
` ayn B0

Character Modifiers

Name

USMARC hexadecimal code
` grave E1
´ acute E2
ִ

dot below

F2

Adapted from:
"Hebrew and Yiddish", ALA-LC Romanization Tables: Transliteration Schemes for Non-Roman Scripts. Washington: Library of Congress Cataloging Distribution Service. 1991. p. 52-53.


© 2001
Yale University Library
Last Updated on June 15, 2001 by Steven Bernstein


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