Daleth

For the designation as "untouchable" in the Hindu caste system, see Dalit.
For other uses, see Dalet (disambiguation).

Dalet (dāleth, also spelled Daleth or Daled) is the fourth letter of many Semitic alphabets, including Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew ד, Syriac ܕ and Arabic dāl د (in abjadi order; 8th in modern order). Its sound value is a voiced alveolar plosive ([d]).

The letter is based on a glyph of the Middle Bronze Age alphabets, probably called dalt "door" (door in Modern Hebrew is delet), ultimately based on a hieroglyph depicting a door, O31

The Phoenician letter gave rise to the Greek delta (Δ), Latin D and the equivalent in the Cyrillic Д.

Hebrew Dalet

Orthographic variants
Various Print Fonts Cursive
Hebrew
Rashi
Script
Serif Sans-serif Monospaced
ד ד ד

Hebrew spelling: דָּלֶת

The letter is dalet in the modern Israeli Hebrew pronunciation (see Tav (letter)). Dales is still used by many Ashkenazi Jews and daleth by some Jews of Middle-Eastern background, especially in the diaspora. In some academic circles, it is called daleth, following the Tiberian Hebrew pronunciation. It is also called daled. The ד like the English D represents a voiced alveolar plosive. Just as in English, there may be subtle varieties of the sound that are created when it is spoken.

Variations

Dalet can receive a dagesh, being one of the 6 letters that can receive Dagesh Kal (see Gimel). There are minor variations to this letter's pronunciation, such as

In addition, in modern Hebrew, the combination ד׳ (dalet followed by a geresh) is used when transcribing foreign names to denote /ð/.

Significance

In gematria, dalet symbolizes the number four.

The letter dalet, along with the He (and very rarely Gimel) is used to represent the Names of God in Judaism. The letter He is used commonly, and the dalet is rarer. A good example is the keter (crown) of a tallit, which has the blessing for donning the tallit, and has the name of God usually represented by a dalet. A reason for this is that the He is used as an abbreviation for HaShem "The Name" and the dalet is used as a non-sacred way of referring to God.

Dalet as a prefix in Aramaic (the language of the Talmud) is a preposition meaning "that", or "which", or also "from" or "of"; since many Talmudic terms have found their way into Hebrew, one can hear dalet as a prefix in many phrases (as in Mitzvah Doraitah; a mitzvah from the Torah.)

in modern Hebrew the frequency of the usage of dalet, out of all the letters, is 2.59%.

Syriac Dalath/Dolath

Dalath/Dolath
Madnḫaya Dalath
Serṭo Dolath
Esṭrangela Dalath

In the Syriac alphabet, the fourth letter is ܕ — Dolath in western pronunciation, Dalath in eastern pronunciation (ܕܵܠܵܬ). It is one of six letters that represents two associated sounds (the others are Bet, Gimel, Kaph, Pe and Taw). When Dalath/Dolath has a hard pronunciation (qûššāyâ) it is a [d]. When Dalath/Dolath has a soft pronunciation (rûkkāḵâ) it is traditionally pronounced as a [ð]. The letter is very common in Syriac as it is often attached to the beginning of words as the relative pronoun.

Dalath/Dolath is always written with a point below it to distinguish it from the letter Resh (ܪ), which is identical apart from having a point above. As a numeral, Dalath/Dolath stands for the number four. With various systems of dots and dashes, it can also stand for 4,000 and 40,000.

Arabic dāl

The letter is named dāl, and is written is several ways depending in its position in the word:

Position in word: Isolated Final Medial Initial
Glyph form: د ـد ـد د

Character encodings

References

External links

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