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Niqqud in Hebrew

Becoming fascinated with Hebrew, I was dwelling in my studies when I found out that Hebrew uses a grammatical system called "niqqud" which is used to express vowels or alternative pronunciation of letters. Is niqqud still commonly used? I don't see niqqud commonly when I see certain documents written in Hebrew. Thanks!

June 26, 2016



In Israel we all have to study "niqqud" in school, so we all understand it.

However, nobody actually uses it in the everyday life. They even don't normally use it in newspapers or books (they actually only use it for words that are not commonly used, or foreign names that could not be understood otherwise).

I guess that writing with it it's too much of a hassle for us.


I've wondered if Israelis know how to say my name without niqqud seeing as many English speakers don't even say it right.

Can you read it? If so how do you think it is pronounced?



The letter "י" helps you to pronounce it right. There are actually only two ways to pronounce it. "ee-ahn" and "ee-en". (It can also be pronounce "ah-yah-ahn" but in this case you would write it with double "י" to make that clear, אייאן)


There's so many foreigners in Israel and Jews from mixed families that you can find virtually any name there from anywhere in the world. In fact, there are even Japanese and Chinese families living in Israel. A Japanese soldier joined the Paratroopers last year and he was the first to do so I believe. So I'd say Ian is nothing too unusual to an Israeli, but I don't actually live there yet so I can't say for sure.


The way I'd pronounce it would probably be "Ian" as the English name


Hahah interesting. Is it difficult to learn?


For a native speaker? children learn at the first grade I don't think it is too difficult.


Learning how to read with niqqud is fairly simple. Learning how to write with it, however, is extremely hard.. the amount of rules of when to use that or this one is just ridiculous, and I think that a very small percentage of Israelis (including me I'm afraid :) ) actually know how to use it properly.


Its not used in everyday hebrew, but it was really important in old hebrew, was devised by the masoretes of tiberias around 750–950 CE. With it , hebrew has got vowel points, which helped to pronounce correctly the words, also had grammatical importance of the use of nikkud. But since Eliezer Ben Yehuda renewed hebrew, he brought in a new system and of course a new grammar, that made nikkud useless. And because of this , Its only important for religious jews ,because the torah is written in ancient hebrew. Even Though the masoretes made nikkud for a clearer speech\writing, jews did not preserve the same pronunciation, hence Sephards ,Yemenites, Ashkenazis, karaites , Samaritans etc.


We almost never write with Nikkud. Books and newspapers use NIkud rarely, for foreign names or words that you won't know how to read correctly without the vowels.

I think 90% of the Israelis don't know how to use Nikud on the computer, technically


Practically too. :P


Thanks! I started learning about Niqqud last night, rather than actually studying it (I was just studying it's concept).


The Nikkud is also important for reading the Bible and other holy books in Hebrew. Anyway, the main part of texts in Hebrew is without Nikkud.

Funny thing about Nikkud is that everyone knows how to read it but most of people don't know how to write with it.


From my current learning experience, I have been finding it difficult inserting niqqud, and I also have to pay very careful attention to the sounds so that I get it right (or as close as I can to right). It seems like one just has to train one's ear in order to accurately insert niqqud.

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