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Yes, known in the older English literature as qa·mets’ and in phonetic transcription qāmeṣ, that T-shaped mark under the letter represented the "augh" /ɔ/ of "caught" sound in Tiberian Hebrew ca. 1000 CE, which had come from a merger of ancient /aː/ and /o/. Modern Hebrew is based on a different dialect, Babylonian Hebrew, ca. 1000 CE, which had participated in different vowel mergers, shortening the /aː/ to /a/ and retaining the /o/; the two proununciations, respectively, are known as kamatz gadol (גָּדוֹל "big") and kamatz katan (qaṭan קָטָן "little"). Confusing, because the "a"-sounding one has the word with the "o" in it to describe it—but it makes sense in light of the history of the language.
It is probably because of the roundedness of the Tiberian "awe" vowel /ɔ/ that the kamatz got its name; to pronounce a rounded vowel, the lips must be drawn together; and kamatz קָמֶץ comes from a triliteral root relating to grasp, clasp, tighten, close, or shut. Compare kamtzan קמצן "tightwad, penny-pincher."
Patach פתח, by way of contrast, comes from the verb meaning "to open."
Perhaps @AnCatDubh meant to say patakh on the he.
The more I do this the more I realize that whoever developed it does not have English as their primary language. As a teacher of children and adults, expecting spelling of a foreign language at the beginning is ridiculous (a key should always be available until no longer needed) and frustrating. Also, when I translate something exactly as the answer says as I have just done, yet am told I am incorrect, is quite maddening!
First. Are you aware there are tips and notes (available only on the web version) which introduce the letters and the sounds? They are introduction to the first three skills.
Second. The creators of the course are both native English and Hebrew speakers. This is simply how Duolingo teaches languages. Immersion from day one. Some people love it, while others don't. I belong to the first group and I guess you are in the second group.
There are indeed some glitches that cause the correct answers to be rejected, but that is rare. Most likely you had a mistake you hadn't realized, and it counted it wrong.
This course is a lot less ... fun. :/ I don't want to give up so soon, but ... how does this language even work? For a complete beginner, there is just no way to intuit which vowels are implied in the writing. Traditional Hebrew (which we're apparently being taught here) has no vowels. Okay. But ... how do you know which vowels to use? How will I ever be able to read Hebrew freely? So uncertain.
There is some good news!
As of today, there are lessons in the app that teach the letters and the nikud! Just make sure you have the newest version of the app.
From what I understand, this is not a feature planned for the browser version, just the app.
The "Get to know the letters and sounds for Hebrew" feature is now on the website, although I don't know if it's rolled out to everyone. From the "LEARN" page, go to the "א CHARACTERS" page; that's a new link/tab where "DISCUSS" is on this page.
While beginners will benefit from this new feature, they should also read the Tips for each skill. Tips remain only on the Web, and have valuable information for developing the ability to read Hebrew without nikud, such as the use of some letters to represent vowels in some words (Tips for "Letters 3"). And a Memrise course that helps learn this course's vocabulary can be very helpful. It's at https://app.memrise.com/course/1031737/hebrew-duolingo/
Let's not forget about textbooks, either. Some books begin with full nikud and then gradually reduce it.