In Hebrew, the vowels are symbols written under the letters. They are not shown in this program. Alef ( א ) always HAS to have a vowel with it, making it sound like: Ah, Eh, Ee, Oh, U. Alef ( א ) plus Vav ( ו ) can either be Oh or U, depending on the word. Alef ( א ) plus Yud (sometimes spelled Yod) ( י ) always makes the sound Ee, but sometimes Alef ( א ) can make the Ee sound by itself.
The only amendment I'd make here is that Alef does NOT always have to have a vowel. For example, in לׂא the "cholam chaser" (חוֹלָם חָסֵר - the small dot in the word I wrote) is on the lamed (ל), with no vowel on the א. Maybe they were scared the ל would be lonely... :D
The aleph doesn't not make a sound. The reason it is there is to tell the letter in front of it ( a vav in this case) to make the sound it makes when in the middle of a word (an o sound instead of a v sound in this case). Some letters sound differently in the beginnings of words
Ok, that is what was confusing me... this הא combination is at the beginning of both the "dad" and the 'mom"... but in one the "ha... is followed by an "ah" sound...in the middle we have או making an "oh" sound... and in the other the "ha" seems to be followed by an "eeh" sound... and that is confusing. Is there any general rule that is coming into play here?
The only real general rule I can think of is that the 'א' is usually always silent, and carries whatever sound the vowels make, as mentioned above, with it sounding like 'oh' in the 'או', (because the 'ו' is acting as a vowel there.) The vowel marks for the other words are not visible, as most fluent speakers don't seem to need the marks once they know them...Frustrating for those of us that have no idea what vowel is where, but that's how it is... Here's a couple of links that hopefully explain it better than I can? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abjad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niqqud
The English O also has more than one sound. I think people like to use "Oh" to indicate a long O sound as it is in that word (That word also does not have an H sound.), but is that the sound or is it a short O sound? Until I hear otherwise, I am assuming that the sound is correct and that it is a long O sound as in the word "Oh!".
Someone answered in a comment above :) all the consonants in hebrew can take any vowel after them. א can be a, o, e, i, u, as can ב be ba, bo, be, bi and bu. You can sometimes know which sound it is, like in the word או here (ו is usually o or u) but in most cases you're gonna have to memorize it.
Because a vav can sometimes be pronounced as a consinent (sorry if i misspelled it) or as a vowel. As is written above, vav after a letter can be considered a vowel (either o - as in או, or oo - as in בום) or a consinent ('v' - as in ברווז - it usually has a double vav to indicate that it is not a vowel)
The first letter is pronounced "h". In Hebrew, lines and dots around the letter are used to portray vowel sounds, although they're not USUALLY shown in everyday writing (it would take too long to write). In this case, the ה should have a line under it like so: הַ This line makes the sound "ah", so really the first letter of the sentence would be pronounced "hah".