For the use of this letter in mathematics, see Beth number.

Bet, Beth, Beh, or Vet is the second letter of many Semitic abjads, including Arabic alphabet bāʾ ب, Aramaic, Hebrew ב, Phoenician and Syriac ܒ. Its value is ].

This letter's name means "house" in various Semitic languages (Arabic bayt, Akkadian bītu, bētu, Hebrew: bayiṯ, Phoenician bt etc.; ultimately all from Proto-Semitic *bayt-), and appears to derive from a Middle Bronze Age picture of a house by acrophony.

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek Beta, Latin B, and Cyrillic Б, В.

Hebrew Bet / Vet

Orthographic variants
Various Print Fonts Cursive
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ב ב ב

Hebrew spelling: בֵּית

The Hebrew letter represents two different phonemes: a "b" sound (/b/) (bet) and a "v" sound (/v/) (vet). The two are distinguished by a dot (called a dagesh) in the centre of the letter for /b/ and no dot for /v/.

This letter is named bet and vet, following the modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation, bet and vet (/bɛjt/), in Israel and by most Jews familiar with Hebrew, although some non-Israeli Ashkenazi speakers pronounce it beis and veis (/bejs/). It is also named beth, following the Tiberian Hebrew pronunciation, in academic circles.

in modern Hebrew the frequency of the usage of bet, out of all the letters, is 4.98%.

Variations on written form/pronunciation

Main article: Hebrew phonology
Name Symbol IPA Transliteration Example
Vet ב /v/ v vote
Bet בּ /b/ b boat

Bet with the dagesh

When the Bet has a "dot" in its center, known as a dagesh, then it represents /b/. There are various rules in Hebrew grammar that stipulate when and why a dagesh is used.

Bet without the dagesh (Vet)

When this letter appears as ב without the dagesh ("dot") in its center then it represents a voiced labiodental fricative: /v/.

Significance of ב, mystical and otherwise

Bet in gematria symbolizes the number 2.

As a prefix, the letter bet may function as a preposition meaning "in", "at", or "with".

Bet is the first letter of the Torah. As Bet is the number 2 in gematria, this is said to symbolize that there are two parts to Torah: the Written Torah and the Oral Torah.

Rashi points out that the letter is closed on three sides and open on one; this is to teach you that you may question about what happened after creation, but not what happened before it, or what is above the heavens or below the earth.

In set theory, the beth numbers stand for powers of infinite sets.

Syriac Beth

Madnḫaya Beth
Serṭo Beth
Esṭrangela Beth

In the Syriac alphabet, the second letter is ܒ — Beth (ܒܝܼܬ). It is one of six letters that represents two associated sounds (the others are Gimel, Dalet, Kaph, Pe and Taw). When Beth has a hard pronunciation (qûššāyâ) it is a [b]. When Beth has a soft pronunciation (rûkkāḵâ) it is traditionally pronounced as a [v], similar to its Hebrew form. However, in eastern dialects, the soft Beth is more often pronounced as a [w], and can form diphthongs with its preceding vowel. Whether Beth should be pronounced as a hard or soft sound is generally determined by its context within a word. However, wherever it is traditionally geminate within a word, even in dialects that no longer distinguish double consonants, it is hard. In the West Syriac dialect, some speakers always pronounce Beth with its hard sound.

Beth, when attached to the beginning of a word, represents the preposition 'in, with, at'. As a numeral, the letter represents the number 2, and, using various systems of dashes above or below, can stand for 2,000 and 20,000.

Arabic bāʾ

The Arabic letter ب is named باء bāʾ (bāʔ). It is written in several ways depending on its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: ب ـب ـبـ بـ

The letter normally renders /b/ sound, except in some names and loanwords where it can also render /p/, often arabized as /b/. (as in برسيل (Persil). For /p/, it may be used interchangeably with the Persian letter پ - pe (with 3 dots) in this case.

Character encodings


External links

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